THE Secret Garden was a favourite read as a kid, so sitting in an almost secret garden for a solitary lunch at the Garden Cafe on Guildford was most enjoyable.
Unlike the young and misanthropic Mary Lennox, I like people and am usually happy to chat – a lot – as my husband will tell anyone who listens.
But it was very pleasant sipping a cool watermelon juice ($8) reading the paper uninterrupted as I waited for my meal.
The haloumi burger ($20.59) was a two-handed job, so the paper was laid aside while I did it justice.
Like Mary, my imagination ran along by itself quite nicely as I tucked in, sauce dripping between my fingers and down my chin.
The in-house onion jam was a sweet tone amid the more spicy chipotle mayo, with its mix of smoked jalapeño chilli, lime and sour cream.
Grilled eggplant was an interesting addition and the grilled cheese was plentiful.
The dish came with a side of chips, which were some of the best I’ve had; wonderfully crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy inside.
The sweets counter presented a challenge in narrowing down to a single choice, but I picked a winner with a lemon tart ($6).
It packed a deliciously sharp punch and was soft and creamy.
In the interests of truthful reporting, I didn’t agonise too much over cake, and took home a second slice, and a chocolate brownie which was richly decadent and wonderfully chewy.
I broke my self-imposed silence to check on a couple at a nearby table, who gave their buttermilk chicken burger ($20.50) and eggs benedict ($15.50) the thumbs up.
“Great” and “really good”, they said between bites.
The cafe describes itself as “a little oasis of delicious home-made food” and there’s no denying the claim.
Garden Cafe on Guildford
317 Guildford Rd, Maylands
0472 979 511
Tues–Sun brekkie and lunch
Fri is burger night
by JENNY D’ANGER