HENRY VIII was a big king with a king-sized appetite, and Henry on Eighth in Maylands matches his style – in a grungy 21st century way.
Massive ceilings and timber joists, jagged raw-brick walls and concrete floors give this eatery a very funky feel.
“Art” in strange frames, a huge painting of Henry as a bikie and colourful metal letters spelling out Long Live the King add a surreal element.
Upstairs is a gallery space, where owner Steve Lavell plans on holding exhibitions and poetry nights, while downstairs is a bar/cafe – although in daylight hours it’s more cafe than boozery.
The service was spot on, friendly and efficient, with a good knowledge of what was on offer.
The menu won my mate and I over at first glance, although it was a bit heavy on the breakfast side.
For her it was the wild mushrooms with chorizo ($21) while I was intrigued by the green shakshouka ($18) minus the eggs.
A verdant, dark green the Middle Eastern dish was less sharp than the red version I’ve had elsewhere, but was delicious, with the mix of green tomatoes and cannellini beans leaving a pleasant olive aftertaste.
“The eggs are sous vide,” my companion said appreciatively as her meal arrived. “If you’ve ever watched Master Chef you would be familiar with them.”
A truffle oil aioli and a dish of chorizo enriched her experience: “The chorizo adds spiciness and texture because everything else is soft, and the truffle aioli brings it together.”
Beer and wine was the only beverage at a mediaeval meal, but we stuck with Whistleblower Tea, a locally created blend of leaf tea and a variety of herbs.
Honey I’m Home ($6) is a mix of black needle tea (from the Yunan province), calendula, camomile and chrysanthemum flowers.
It’s a subtly refreshing brew which leaves an even subtler taste of chamomile in its wake.
The Whistleblower range doesn’t become bitter as it brews and the waiter was happy to add hot water to our pot for a much appreciated second round.
If the tea was a refined understatement the gluten free chocolate ($7.50) and a honey layer cake ($9) were anything but.
The honey cake was light, fluffy and very creamy with a gorgeously delicate honey flavour, while the chocolate cake was moist and rich and absolutely wicked.
by JENNY D’ANGER
Henry on Eighth
49 Eighth Avenue, Maylands
Breakfast to late supper 7 days