TUCKED away out the back of the Mezz, Academy seems to have struggled to nail down the experience you get at it’s Claremont counterpart.
But I’m happy to say that at a recent outing, the cafe seems to have lifted its game and is now a worthy replacement for the much-loved Peasant’s Table.
The staff have always been uber friendly and helpful, and the tradition continued with a winning smile and greeting from the trendy young chap behind the counter, something you don’t always get from hipsters.
I popped in my order for the pinot braised lamb shoulder, rigatoni, gremolata, make it rain pecorino ($23) and a slice of chocolate cake ($6.90) before heading outside to enjoy some very unseasonable sunshine.
I’m not sure if the “raining” pecorino was a cheesy nod to strippers, but if it was I enjoyed the touch of whimsy.
Academy’s got a great location, not only for being just off Mt Hawthorn’s strip, but the layout of the Mezz means you’ve got plenty of elbow room outside.
We were also treated to an impromptu dance on the next-door stage by a youngster grooving to Academy’s funky jazz soundtrack.
I wondered how long the meal would take, as that’s been a gripe Academy’s faced a lot, but in no time at all the lamb appeared before me.
First up I was impressed by its size; $23 is not an insubstantial amount, but being lunch I wondered if I was going to get a tapas-size meal, but this filled the plate and had plenty of soft, tender chunks of lamb amongst the al dente rigatoni.
The pinot sauce was also spot-on, giving a real depth and sweetness to the meat.
A nice bit of toasted bread to soak up the juices and I was as happy as Larry.
My plate was soon cleared away and the delicious chocolate cake took its place.
It was beautifully presented, with a nice smear of cream stuffed full of vanilla beans, and some fresh berries tossed across.
The cake was rich and moist and chock full of nuts.
With the berries to finish off, it was a delicious end to the meal.
Of course, it couldn’t go down without some coffee, and the Academy showed it’s up to its big sister’s standard with a hot, smooth brew.
by STEVE GRANT
The Mezz, 148 Scarborough
Beach Road, Mt Hawthorn