When I am sick, I need my comfort food – and one of my very most favourite comfort foods is breakfast food. Last Friday I was sick with a cold and had the day off work, so I decided to go in search of comfort somewhere not far from home and found Common Ground Café at Gowrie shops.
As a born and raised Tuggeranonger, I was delighted to hear that we’d progressed from dodgy Chinese and Fish n Chips – there was now a modern, trendy and ambitious café at one of the local shopping hubs, imitating the inner south suburbs. Opened in September 2013, Common Grounds is situated on the main road end of Gowrie shops, and has an inviting façade, with high glass windows and tables out the front in the sunshine (when there is sunshine, there was none on this day).
The inside of the café is chic and fresh, with a really cool black and white mural taking up the entire left hand wall. The space is highlighted by a large wooden counter, with the kitchen hidden away behind it. The main part of the café only has four or five tables, but the back doors are opened wide to reveal about 8 or 9 tables out on the back patio. The patio has no permanent covering, but large umbrellas are raised to block sun and, in our case, the possibility of rain. The area is blocked off by glass partitions, from which a few cute plant pots with bright flowers hang.
The front and inside of the café were pretty full on this Friday morning, so we took a seat at a table out the back and asked our waitress to see the menu.
Open from early morning til 4pm, the café serves breakfast til 11:30am (1:30pm on weekends) and has an inviting lunch menu too.
My sister and I both ordered coffees to start. I drink decaf coffee, as I get bad reaction to caffeine, so I cannot tell you whether the coffee here is great or not (everyone tells me it’s awesome, though). I did really enjoy my decaf though, which rarely happens. Normally decaf is not deemed worthy of service with style and often has a bitter flavour, but this one was presented well and had a smooth flavour.
For my food order, I got the ‘Conquistador’ – sautéed chorizo, tomato, chilli, garlic and basil on toasted sourdough and topped with goats cheese. Not gonna lie, I nearly squealed in delight when I read this on the menu because these are a few of my favourite things. I ordered a poached egg as well, because I need to have a poached egg when I go out for breakfast. I neeeed it. The waiter, who was the cutest cute to ever cute, commended my order and said that was exactly what he gets every time – so I knew I was on the right track (but also though, why not serve the dish on the menu with a poached egg anyway???)
As far as I am concerned, that’s happiness on a plate right there. The Conquistador is a beautiful looking dish and my eyes were about as wide as they can go when it was put down in front of me. Were there tears of joy? Maybe.
And what a beautifully delicious dish this was. The chorizo was spicy and cooked perfectly, the tiny tomatoes were fresh and the goat’s cheese was creamy and moreish. The sourdough was really nice too, crunchy and soft – the oil and fat from the chorizo seeped down in to the bread to create what I believe to be something close to perfection.
There was a phenomenal amount of topping on this dish, I think they used about three chorizos and an entire punnet of cherry tomatoes! You’d certainly never want for more, in fact there was a little too much topping for me. I wasn’t able to eat it all and after a while the overpowering flavour of the chorizo became a bit too much. I felt a little ill afterwards, due to the fat content of the dish… okay, so I could have stopped earlier, but it was so tasty.
I’m so glad I ordered the poached egg though, as it was cooked to perfection – I believe I looked something like the Cheshire cat when I cut in to it and all the delicious runny yolk came flowing out. There may have been some strange noises too.
If I had one tiny qualm, it would be that there were too many toppings with really strong flavours. I’d like to see a bit more basil, as the herb’s flavour was lost a little and I think it would help to break up the richer tastes up a little.
My sister ordered basic eggs on toast, because she “trying to be healthy” or something.
Not much to say about eggs on toast – it’s eggs on toast. But it was a ridiculous amount of eggs on two large pieces of beautifully cooked sourdough toast. K couldn’t eat it all, and said she was very content with her meal.
The service at Common Grounds was fantastic – the staff were friendly, helpful and efficient. I liked them all a great deal and cannot fault them one little bit for service.
I’m so happy (in case you couldn’t tell) that I got around to trying this place – I will definitely be back!