Right smack in the heart of Palmyra sits Cafe 58 Espresso Bar, truly a local cafe that seems to busy all the time. Palmyra is not included in the territorial lines where I’d consider myself a local but I will happily travel the 15 minute driving time to get to this cafe.
Most nights we come here for coffee and desserts. But, after much raving about the dinner menu, Auntie J took us there one night for a big family affair. We had reservations at 6:30pm; the cafe was dimly lit and the staff was just getting ready for the dinner rush. This I found strange, to be honest. I would have expected a cafe/restaurant to be fully ready and prepared if they take reservations for as early as 6:30. A few of us arrived first and were showed to our table but it took forever to be handed the menus. They seemed understaffed and everyone looked like they were on to something else other than minding the customers. There is a $25 2-course special on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and given it was a Wednesday night we were interested in knowing what the blackboard specials were. The blackboard was empty and we had to wait a good 15 minutes for the specials to be written on the board.
Three of us had the specials that came with an entree of a tasting plate of olives, chorizo and beetroot dip with 3 thinly sliced bread and a main of barramundi with mashed potatoes.
I am not a big fan of this kind of entree and this really just reinforced that. Nothing special except that it was a good start to fill the hunger and enough to keep us from going insane waiting for the mains.
An hour after we were seated, the mains finally appeared. This was really a ridiculous waiting for a cafe specially since we were among the first few tables to have ordered. Anyhow, the food did come and they were all devoured in 10 minutes because we were that hungry.
Here is the grilled barramundi with lemon butter and creamy mashed potatoes.
The fish was good, not too heavily seasoned and cooked perfectly. And that mashed potatoes were divine. Really one of the best mashed potatoes I have tasted. It was creamy, almost puree like, and seasoned just right.
Then we have the aglio olio pepperincino – al dente spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and parsley with a hint of anchovies and optional fresh cut chilli. This is a very tasty pasta dish. The only problem was that it was drenched in olive oil and I mean literally drenched. Given that K had this dish, she had to scoop out the pasta onto a plate. Otherwise she would’ve been drinking olive oil on the side too. A little cousin had the same pasta without the chilli but he was oblivious to the amount of olive oil. He probably thought it was sauce.
Uncle J, then, had the chicken parmigiana. This is the lowest ranking dish of the night. It’s not that it wasn’t good. It just there wasn’t really anything special about it. Crumbed chicken breast topped with Napolitana sauce and an oozing amount of mozzarella cheese. The layer of cheese was too much for him so he scooped off some. Other than that, the chicken was juicy and the side of Napolitana pasta was good too.
To save the best for last, out of all the dishes we ordered, I thought that I had the best dish for the night – marinated chorizo chicken. It was a grilled whole chicken breast with spinach, baby potatoes, sliced chorizo and grilled prawns. The chicken was succulent and the prawns were smokey. The jus made the dish even better. I loved and savoured every bite.
Onto dessert. The staple that we always have here at Cafe 58 is the sticky date pudding. It was love at first bite so we have been getting this pudding every time we drop by for coffee. It is sweet, sticky, date-y and just the right size for sharing. Served warm with ice cream. The best part is that you can hardly taste the sodium bicarbonate (that is usually evident in other cafes’ sticky date products).
I was feeling adventurous that night too so I got myself a choc avalanche tart. Oh my. This tart is very sinful. It looked harmless at first but a very rich chocolate filling was waiting for me when I dived into it. I am a big fan of the filling but not the pastry. There is something about it that did not go well with the chocolate. I think it was that eggy taste. It was so rich I only ate half an took home the other half.
Overall, Cafe 58 gives a good dining experience with the occasional mishaps that cafes experience from time to time. Staff are very friendly but some needs to be more attentive. Looks like we’ve found another place we can pig out at.
My rating: 7/10