26 Aitken Tce, Kingsland
(09) 373 3893
$42.80 for two.
SET UP & SITE
Harlan Pepper is so new it doesn't even have its own website. So we had to rely on website reviews for what to expect. Most painted a picture of a pretentious place that scattered flowers on its food. So we expected a pretentious place that scattered flowers on its food - and to have to park a million miles away. Instead, we found a carpark right outside and a middlingly busy little cafe with a reasonably priced menu in what seemed to be a renovated industrial building. Miss 15 argued that they might have built it to make it look like a renovated industrial building. But she's 15 and hasn't got a clue how to read business cards that say Harlan Pepper is in the old Kiwi Bacon factory. The walls are festooned with what looks like someone's favourite collections of salt and pepper shakers and bits and pieces of moviemaking, so there's plenty to look at while you wait.
SUSTENANCE & SWILL
The menu was far more down-to-earth than we expected, seeming to focus more than the usual fare found in so many cafes of a Sunday morning. My daughter homed in on the Dutch chocolate waffles ($16.90) and I went for the breakfast burrito ($16.90). Our meals were washed down with a hot chocolate ($4.50) and a cappuccino ($4.50) respectively. There's been an attempt to mix it up a little, with "la tuti tuti": rosemary-infused potatoes with chorizo ham, onion, garlic and spinach sharing menu space with slow-roast pork belly and Stan's Pan of lamb's fry and portobello mushroom. Our food arrived promptly from a kitchen we could see right into from our table. My burrito was a smidgen too spicy but a bite of the sweet, sweet slightly crunchy chocolate waffles cooled things down.
SERVICE & OTHER STUFF
It looked like a large number of diners were friends of the owners, possibly lending their support to a new enterprise. There were hugs and exclamations and supportive-sounding conversations. We felt a little left out in the hugs department but otherwise we couldn't fault the swift arrival of a waitperson to take our drinks and food order and then its delivery. We also noticed that someone who arrived late to an already-seated table was also speedily offered a coffee, so attention was obviously being paid.