I HAD some weird side-effects from the flu jab this week – I was feeling energetic, optimistic and well, decidedly Australian.
My wife was very concerned, but I assured her my Scottishness would soon return and we should make the most of things by having lunch at Nic and Kolo in Applecross.
You have more chance of seeing Margaret Court at the Sydney Mardi Gras than finding a parking space in the ‘Applecross Village’, but in some strange parallel universe we found a space straight away.
Situated on the corner of MacDonald Road, Nic and Kolo has a glorious alfresco, dappled in shade from leafy autumn trees and the parasols of wealthy widows.
It was a tad chilly so we opted for a seat inside, which was a strange mix of Japanese minimalism and a 1980s Interflora, with flowers arranged on a large island in the middle of the restaurant and vases on nearby shelves.
I surmised it had been a shop at some point and my wife thought it was a cafe that sold art, but apparently the interior was specially designed, so maybe we’re just out of touch with our Feng Shoo.
Nic and Kolo’s brunch menu was one of the best I’ve seen – a great mix of inventive brekkie dishes, sophisticated takes on pub classics, and plenty of finery like miso glazed salmon, eggs with tempura soft shell crab, and tempura fish tacos.
There was a definite Asian/Italian vibe with a few of the dishes having an oriental twist.
It wasn’t long before the waitress was back with my N&K Anugs Burger Reloaded ($24.50).
The 150gm beef pattie had a lovely meaty punch and that trademark chargrilled flavour.
I would have liked it a bit pink in the middle, but there was no denying the quality of the meat.
The Monterey Jack jalapeno cheese went well with the gherkins, and the mayo wasn’t too cloying or thick.
A lovely balanced burger all encased in a lightly toasted bun, which was super fresh.
The accompanying shoestring fries were served in one of those dinky frying baskets and were very crispy and not greasy. The presentation was impressive with everything arriving on a fancy wooden serving board.
Across the table my wife was raving about her chicken parmi bao buns ($21), which I imagine are the height of sophistication in Rockingham, where they are served with an 18-year-old Corona aged in a sherry cask.
“The bun is deliciously soft and light, and holds everything together perfectly with nothing jettisoning out the sides,” my wife noted.
“The succulent chicken has a crispy, light coating, and the flavours are complex with apple and carrot slaw, and a herb mayo.
“The house made Napoletana adds a richness to the filling, which is absolutely deliciously.”
The staff were super friendly and efficient with the man behind the bar enjoying some banter with me as I went to pay the bill.
I can see why Nic and Kolo is an award-winning cafe – it’s well-priced and has that breezy mix of casual dining and delicious food.
Nic and Kolo
45 Ardross Street, Applecross
by STEPHEN POLLOCK