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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tastebuds @ Hills, Terrey Hills

 Sometimes the best places to eat are found where you least expect them to be. Tastebuds @ Hills (287 Mona Vale Road, Terrey Hills) can definitely be considered as one of those places. Off Mona Vale Road, where cyclists populate the left lane, especially on weekend mornings as vehicles speed along at 90km/hr, this cafe is attached to a complex also consisting of a large florist and miscellaneous specialty stores. The entry is easy to miss but once found, you're greeted with a mistakenly oversized shed and flowers. Unfortunately there isn't a website with more information, an urbanspoon profile and there doesn't seem to be many valid critiques on the cafe. 
Entrance (look for the horse!)
Oversized Shed
 The cafe itself is simple, with the seating bursting out onto what used to be a side carpark. Tables scattered around with some heading towards the florist, making it a beautiful site for the eyes and even more enjoyable on the nose.

 Where is everyone in the photos!?
These were taken at about 7am on a Sunday before it opens at 7:30am.

 What was I doing there so early?
As some of the small number of readers may be aware, our own Patty works here and I dropped her off at work (when I say drop off, I mean, stay there for an hour and enjoy coffee and breakfast)

In acknowledgement of Patty working here, I am remaining as unbiased as possible but if you don't believe me, you'll just have to try it for yourself and see how it is!

More photos ... then we'll get to the food. I promise!

Patty is there somewhere

Specials Board

Array of Trinkets for Sale

Choc Chip Cookies

Freshly Baked Carrot & Persian Orange Cake
Baked Carrot Cake
Persian Orange Cake

Lemon & Ricotta Muffins
and more

Boysenberry & White Chocolate Muffins

Pear & Walnut Friand

Blueberry & White Chocolate Friands

 Having a great tasting coffee is never a harmful way of beginning breakfast proceedings. Tastebuds @ Hills use the Rico Toby's Estate coffee blend which is one of their stronger (if not strongest) blends of coffee bean. Hot and smooth with a chocolaty and nut-like aftertaste.


  Double shot of coffee in a latte glass, served with ice and topped with milk. The best way to make an iced coffee. Shots of coffee left to diffuse into the milk. On the menu, it can come with hazelnut syrup as well but I opt to go without it. It's beautiful.

Coffee on the 'Rocks'
  I asked Olly for a special drink, quadruple ristretto shot topped with milk in a piccolo glass. Tasted amazing and literally kept me buzzing all day.

Quadruple Ristretto Shot, Filled with Milk in Piccolo Cup
aka. The Olly Special
  Quick run down of the smoothies because the photo doesn't show it very well;

Mixed Berry Smoothie: Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Strawberry Gelato & Milk

Pina Colada Smoothie: Coconut Gelato, Mango Sorbet, Pineapple Juice

Coconut & Cherry Smoothie: Coconut Gelato, Cherry Gelato, Frozen Cherries & Milk

Montana Smoothie: Orange Juice, Banana & Strawberries

Bowen Smoothie: Mango, Banana & Apple Juice

Woombye Smoothie: Pineapple Juice, Raspberries, Mango Sorbet & Fresh Mint

Smoothie Selection

  Woombye and Pina Colada Smoothie are definitely my favourites from the selection. They're all made from Nudie Juice and the gelato is Pure Gelato. They also have a selection of T2 teas, milkshakes and thickshakes!

 Ricotta Pancakes is a perfect way to start the morning. Bananas and strawberries scattered over the top of two decent sized pancakes with ricotta bits inside the batter and then finally lightly doused with syrup and a sprinkle of icing sugar. It's pretty much as good as it looks.

Ricotta Pancakes
with Banana & Palm Sugar Syrup 

 Found on the specials board, Pesto Mushrooms may look like a small serving, but for what it lacks in size it definitely makes up for in flavour. Button mushrooms cut into quarters, coated in a mouth-watering pesto mixture served with 2 poached eggs and toasted sourdough. Great combination.

Pesto Mushrooms
served with Poached Eggs on Sourdough

 My favourite thing on the menu that I enjoy time and time again is the Baked Eggs. It's hearty, warming and just a complete breakfast option. It is served with 3 different options;
  • Chorizo Sausage, Spanish Onions, Baby Spinach & Roasted Tomatoes
  • Sautéed Mushrooms & Roasted Baby Tomatoes
  • Ricotta, Baby Spinach & Sundried Tomatoes
 Being myself, it's near impossible to look past the first option so I've always chosen that one, however it is never complete without an additional side of ricotta on the side (extra). The combination of flavours just works, delicious. Also served with 2 eggs and slices of sourdough.

Baked Eggs
Chorizo Sausage, Spanish Onions, Baby Spinach
& Roasted Tomatoes, Side of Ricotta

  For additional information I'll just mention a few more things on the menu;
  • Bacon & Egg Roll
  • French Toast with Berry Compote or Maple Syrup
  • Sonoma Honey Spiced Muesli with Greek Yoghurt & Seasonal Fruit
  • Zucchini & Sweet Corn Fritter with a Selection of Créme Fraiche, Bacon, Avocado, Tomato Salsa, Smoked Salmon & Capers
  • Garlic Prawns (served in skillet with roasted hazelnuts, wilted spinach and sourdough)
  • Tastebuds Burger and 'BLAT'/Lentil Burger
  • A selection of daily made wraps and salads
If you're ever there for lunch, order an extra side of chips with your meal. They're cooked to crisp perfection and beautiful with dipping sour cream.

Just to finish off, the fridge next to the counter is filled with all sorts of little goodies like muffins, friands, tarts etc. Their chocolate brownie and chocolate flourless cake deserves special mentions.



 I've just added a few photos here and there, including more of the cakes and muffins. Below are some more savoury foods and main meals available at Tastebuds!

Harry's Pies

 A dish that is definitely worth the travel is the Garlic Prawns. Doesn't fill me up to be honest, but the contents inside the skillet are 100% full of flavour. Ensure that all the juices and oils on the bottom of the skillet are soaked up with the sourdough at the end!

Garlic Prawns
with Roasted Hazelnuts, Wilted Spinach
& Sourdough served in sizzling skillet

  An easy going meal with all the lunch essentials, chips, salad and a sandwich.

Steak Sandwich
on Ciabatta Bread with Aioli, Beetroot Relish,
Fresh Tomato, Caramelised Onions & Chips
 The Italian Styled Meatballs was only out onto the menu for 2 weeks before being taken off it and for reasons I still cannot fathom. Maybe the idea of meatballs at a café didn't go down too well the customers but at least I was fortunate enough to have tried one of Tim's best creations. Juicy, succulent meatballs drowned in Napoli tomato sauce, with a slab of ricotta cheese and finished with some fresh basil. I miss it. I only hope that Tim brings it back soon enough!

Italian Styled Meatballs
in Napoli Sauce with Sourdough & Ricotta served in skillet

 A great way to finish off a meal or quite simply just for a snack and a mug of coffee, the French toast will do the trick. French toasted sourdough with maple syrup and dusted lightly with icing sugar.

French Toast
with Maple Syrup
 In all, this cafe is very solid. Food and service is great, along with their well made coffees which use Riverina Milk and Bonsoy for the soy milk option. It's definitely worth the travel and it is a great spot to meet up with friends for a casual weekend brunch. But do be warned, they do get quite busy during the peak hours on weekends, so get in early! 

Bunny Rating-
Category: Café

Tastebuds@Hills on Urbanspoon

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