Nice one, son

THE Beaufort Street roadworks seem to be going on forever.

It took me three prog rock albums, a steering wheel drum solo and endless diversions through the leafy burbs to finally reach Finlay and Sons in Inglewood.

Situated on the corner of Dundas Road and Beaufort St, it’s a stylish cafe with a pavement alfresco and coffee hatch off to the side.

Despite the bitterly cold wind, I found a table in the direct sun, making it just about warm enough to sit outside.

One of the reasons I had Finlay and Sons on my food radar was because they served Brussels sprouts and kedgeree.

You don’t see them on many menus, especially the divisive sprout, which in this incarnation was maple Brussels sprouts with chilli jam and ranch dressing. Intriguing.

The rest of the all-day menu wasn’t too shabby either with a small but varied selection of dishes including leek and parmesan fritters, banana and blueberry bread, crumbed chicken burger and the good old bacon and egg roll.

There was also an original and extensive kids menu – no sign of the lamentable chicken nuggets, pizza, and fish and chips – instead we had French toast, banana blueberry bread, and ham and cheese toastie. Nice to see they were trying to widen kids’ horizons, rather than plonk down some rote frozen garbage.

I nearly went for one of my childhood favourites – kedgeree ($24.50 curry-infused butter rice, pickled onions, radish and poached egg) but it was the chicken version and I grew up on the fish one, so I opted for the goodness bowl ($27) instead.

As the wind began to get stronger and colder than a Julie Bishop stare, I zipped up my jacket and sipped my green cold pressed juice. 

Thankfully the spicy mix of ginger and spinach warmed up my insides nicely.

The juice had just the right consistency – not too thin or thick – and was an enjoyable libation on a winter’s day.

The waitress took my order at the table, which was slightly unusual as most cafes are now order-at-the-counter, but it wasn’t long before she was back with my healthy goodies.

It didn’t look like there was much in the bowl, but it was a culinary treasure trove with each mouthful revealing a new flavour and ingredient.

The highlight was the chunky-cut balsamic mushrooms which were some of the best I’ve had in years – meaty, slightly firm texture with a rich, delicious tang. Really top notch.

Another winner was the cannellini beans puree, a delightful and slightly creamy accompaniment that tasted delicious when combined with the tasty quinoa and chicken.

I’m not a fan of butternut squash, but this was perfectly cooked with the soft cubes melting in my mouth. But what about the main event – the chook?

It had a lovely chargrilled flavour with lots of gnarly crispy edges and moist flesh. There was plenty of it too.

The surprises didn’t end there with some noodles lurking underneath the chicken, adding another flavour dimension. 

Rounding everything off was a gorgeous kale and chermoula dressing. This was a quality dish and even though it was getting up there in price, it was well worth it.

The regular goodness bowl without chicken is $20 if you’re on a budget.

The service was decent and the cafe had a nice cosy area inside where you could escape the winter blues.

The family-run Finlay and Sons serves original and high quality dishes, and I’ll definitely be back to try the kedgeree and see if they can banish my life-long prejudice towards Brussels sprouts.

It’s okay, I’ll be driving home on my own…

Finlay & Sons
917 Beaufort Street, Inglewood
finlayandsons.com 

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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