Good mate and occasional dining partner Steve told me to come and try out the cafe he is now managing in Mona Vale. It was a perfect opportunity to return to my home town and catch up with some old school mates so I headed out to CAFE RACER CO. (previously Inch). Predominantly a day-time breakfast and lunch cafe they are now opening Friday and Saturday nights (possibly adding Thursday soon) and are licensed so…. WIN WIN. What I initially thought was a “little cafe” my friend worked at and I would arrogantly just be doing him a favour actually turns out to be one of my favourite places of 2018 so far. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to dine with friends and we are already planning our second visit with more people.
** Please note this is a new dinner menu review and I have not visited for breakfast or lunch **
CAFE RACER CO VENUE:
CAFE RACER CO. is located in Mona Vale Park, off to the side near the library. A library I used to venture to a lot. I went to high school in Mona Vale and spent the better part of nearly 20yrs living in the area. The park was where the rough kids hung out – they would sit in the park late into the night smoking cigs and being as emo as they could be. I wouldn’t be caught dead in the park at the night for fear of ending up dead but it appears to have changed now. Mona Vale is totally gentrified. The new Mona Vale Hotel renovations have just been completed and it shall now been known as The Park House and cost a whopping $12MIL to renovate easily competing with THE ARMS in Newport. We popped in for a cocktail or two prior to dinner.
CAFE RACER CO. is across the road from The Park House and has a modern earthen decor and feels rustic and garden-like, almost like dining in a glasshouse. There is some outdoor seating but we chose indoors. Most of the roof is huge pull down plastic canvas and the sides are similar but clear and can be opened or closed. The indoor caravan is waiting for council approval to be used as an oyster and champagne bar and the venue will rock in any season. Plants spotted throughout the venue make you feel healthy and alive and the use of distressed wood and leather in the furniture makes me buzz with joy.
The service was hard to judge – you can’t pass honest judgement when one of your best friends is serving you. He was exceptional and all my dining guests commented on the service. I just found it odd that every time a meal came my mate was coming with it. And the barman made great drinks and was a total hottie (as is Steve haha) – what’s not to like.
A wonderful selection of Australian, New Zealand and French wines. The good news is that most of the wines are available by the glass. I am always partial to a McLaren Vale anything but on my next visit I am curious about a French Malbec/Bordeaux?! On top of the wines, or perhaps as a starter, they have a nice little selection of cocktails but besides their list get the bartender testing his knowledge and drop some requests :). I downed a refreshing Tom Collins before we ate, the Espresso Martini was inhaled by good mate James and the girls tried their first Aperol Spritz, which may or may not have been on the strong side.
The menu is a treat.
I have not seen the breakfast or the lunch menus but if it is anything like the dinner menu you will be getting spoiled. For dinner, which they are trialling Friday and Saturday (and soon possibly Thursday) nights, you could dine in with a selection of pizzas; the Blue Cheese, Caramelised Onions, and Basil is top of my list for next visit. Or you could inhale a Prawn, Chilli and Garlic Linguine, they even have a Smoked Chicken Salad. BUT, when with a group, CAFE RACER CO. is all about the share plates, the tapas if you will. And from a look down the menu the entire tapas menu is based around wines and nibbles. Charcuteries, Antipasto, Cheeses, Olives and so on. You cannot go wrong!
WHAT WE SMASHED:
- Watermelon and Halloumi Salad – Watermelon, Halloumi, Lemon balm, Mint, Roasted Almonds and Chardonnay Vinegar
- Racer Antipasto Board – Cured Meats, Dip, Roast Veggies, Olives, Caper Berries and Black Aged Cheddar
- Racer Cheese Board with Lavosh, Quince Paste and Fruit Toast. From One to Four cheeses
- Lamb Kofta with Harissa and Mint Yoghurt
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
Everything was bloody flawless. It was one of those meals I was truly sad I had to drive home after. The meal we had demanded sitting in for a few hours and slowly picking at all the cheeses, downing multiple bottles of wine and laughing and/ or gossiping into the night. The halloumi and watermelon salad was light and refreshing and the crunch from the almonds was heaven.
Combining the Antipasto and the Cheese Boards was a big tick and food I could live off. That blue cheese made my eyes roll back into my head during the first foodgasm! Using the fruit toast with the cheese was a stroke of genius, it has given me wonderful breakfast ideas now. The cured meats were also wonderful and as for the Koftas – they actually may have been the best Koftas I have ever eaten. Just thinking of dipping into the harissa and yoghurt and taking that first warm bite has me salivating again!
I was in tastebud bliss dining in a venue with a menu that is all me. CAFE RACER CO could be a restaurant in a vineyard it is so rustic, green, and with an evening menu complimentary to wines. Who would think my little beach side hometown would now elevate to be a culinary destination. If you live on the beaches and haven’t been then sort that shit out and if you don’t live on the beaches – it’s day trip time!!
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 3/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 1/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets and 1/1 bonus
Cafe Racer Co Deets:
PH: (02) 9999 4483
1 Park St, Mona Vale NSW 2103
BOOKINGS: Not Really Necessary but Check with Venue if Concerned
Sun – Thur: 6am – 4pm
Fri & Sat: 6am – late (they are trialling nights at the moment on the weekends)
LOCAL DELIVERY: Check with Venue
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Yes
KID FRIENDLY: Yes
*** THIS MEAL WAS PAID FOR BUT DISCOUNTED ***
For more reviews of Sydney’s finest Restaurants check it out HERE.