Cafe Viva, Balmain

This vibrant little cafe is located a bit further down Darling Street than the main hub of eateries in Balmain, but retains the buzzing vibe (and crowds) of the suburb. Their specials are chalked up on blackboards hanging on the walls and while some of their lunch menu sounded delicious (duck fat chips?), we had arrived squarely within their breakfast/brunch menu serving time at 11am and so we promptly decided to try some of their Potted and Baked Egg offerings.

The cosy corner of the cafe we were seated in was home to a small iron “fireplace” with a glass door with an apparently authentic signed photograph of Amy Winehouse in a frame perched on top of it, selling for $320. In fact, the muso vibe of the cafe permeated throughout the whole cafe as we looked around the walls and noticed that there were framed photos of other musicians everywhere too (Lady Gaga anyone?!). The service was friendly and it was a nice touch to include a sprig of mint in their tap water in their glass bottles of tap water to give it a hint of extra freshness, but it seemed that they were particularly busy and it took awhile for our coffees and brunch dishes to actually make their way to us.

My affogato with a shot of espresso and vanilla bean icecream was unremarkable. Although I loved the presentation of my Baked Eggs in its cute cast iron pot and side of toast on a wooden board,  I wasn’t blown away by the flavours in my Hunters Style Baked Eggs which came with porcini, ham, black truffle pecorino and fresh basil. I found it was a bit bland for my liking as none of the elements of the dish stood out. I usually prefer stronger flavours and liberal amounts of sauce, which this particular type of Baked Eggs lacked.

Affogato, $4

Hunters Style Baked Eggs, $18.50

My friend had chosen the other type of Baked Eggs which featured chorizo, roast tomato, spinach, Spanish onion and fetta cheese. I had originally had my eye on this one instead of the Hunters Style because chorizo is always a winner in my books, but we had decided to try all the baked egg options on the menu instead of both going for the same thing. I felt that the meat and the onions in his dish were a much more flavoursome addition to the baked eggs than the elements of my dish.

Chorizo Baked Eggs, $18.50

Last but not least, the boy had chosen the best dish of the meal which was the quirkily named Mexican Divorced Eggs. The waiter explained to us that its interesting name is because there are 2 types of sauce used in the dish and the two sides are separated by the sausages. Again, the dish was served in a cast iron pot and was a very tasty mix of sunny side up eggs with fresh tomato salsa, guacamole, sausages, black beans and a bed of rice underneath. The sauces were moreish and slightly spicy, complementing the many other Mexican style components of the dish well.

Mexican Divorced Eggs, $21.50

All in all, despite the bustling and kitschy ambience of this cafe, it was a rather pricey brunch for what it was and wasn’t the speediest meal either. From this brunch I’ve also learnt that while I like the idea of Baked Eggs, now I know that I still need plenty of sauce to keep things interesting for my tastebuds and will go for the sauciest option next time.

Cafe Viva
4/189 Darling Street, Balmain NSW 2041
Phone:(02) 9810 9028

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Cafe Viva on Urbanspoon


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