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Claire’s Kitchen Rules
FOR any writer, or reader for that matter, the blackboards at Sensations en Ardross are a joy. Keith Amore’s words from Food Love and Passion beckoned: “Does it turn heads when dressed seductively …”
This rustic café on Kearns Crescent is tucked away nicely, basking in sunlight, with a compact al fresco area bordered by waist high vertical gardens.
The original Sensations Café won Gold Plate Awards in 2004 and again in 2005. Current owner Claire Evans’ mother ran it then, and recently Claire has taken it over and moved to Ardross. What a joyful young woman she is, obviously impassioned by cooking creatively. Her food is her art, especially her desserts, and she also decorates the walls with her own paintings.
A major drawcard is the gluten free option for the whole all day menu, and gluten free bread is made in house. It all began in 2000 when a regular client was diagnosed as coeliac. She requested her favourite lemon yoghurt cake be made with gluten free flour. It turned out to be delicious, and Claire and her mother began to experiment with many recipes. Thirteen years later, Claire continues in this mode, and is very strict about cross contamination. She trains her young staff with a rod of iron – and a smile.
We began with Apple and Cinnamon Porridge GF / DF (gluten free and dairy free) made up of almonds, sunflower seeds, linseed, chia, and rice milk, served with fruit and coconut cream. It was sticky, as expected of porridge, and the cinnamon gave it a lift. The fresh fruit – strawberries, blueberries, banana and pear – cut through the starches, and the coconut cream tasted velvety.
The Breakfast Crepes GF were my favourite. Two delicate crepes cooked to order nestled amongst Sensation’s curd, fruit and yoghurt. They were warm and fluffy, browned and lacy, and the passionfruit curd was tangy – a perfect accompaniment. The platter was large and satisfying, with bananas, strawberries, stewed apricots, blueberries and pear.
We enjoyed the Savoury Special that can be ordered as GF, a bespoke daily breakfast of poached egg, hollandaise sauce (always freshly made), bacon and spinach on slices of toasted spinach and feta loaf. I enjoyed the toast with its crisp edges, all buttery with a flavoursome centre. A breakfast of champions.
Next came the Country Crepes GF – a stack so high I could hardly see over it. I lost count of the layers between the light crepes, but there was capsicum, sun dried tomato salsa (nicely tangy), a very large sweet slice of beetroot, huge juicy field mushrooms, bright orange pumpkin with ricotta cheese and spinach, and a giant slice of zucchini, all sitting on a quinoa rubble, which was also light and delicious. A vegetarian’s delight.
By this time we could have lasted until breakfast tomorrow, but we managed to squeeze in Field Bruschetta: four types of mushrooms – field, shitake, enoki and oyster, beautifully served with pesto as a sauce on a lupin crumb. The tastes were subtle and textures distinctive, the pesto enhancing each individual flavour. A light enjoyable dish.
I could not resist a delectable cake from the cake fridge, a Blackberry and White Chocolate Cupcake, to take home for later.
Sensations en Ardross is a relaxing café for a quick bite or to hang out with friends. You know you will get fresh healthy food and a big smile. What more could you ask?
Open 8am-2.30pm weekdays, 8am- 12.30 pm Saturdays.
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