Happy holidays loyal readers!
In the traditional wash-up of this festive period which inevitably culminates with an array of intoxicated "ooh"s and "ahh"s at an exorbitant - albeit impressive - pyrotechnics display, we often burst forth into the new year with those same old resolutions: to shake off those extra holiday kilos; to try new things; and...some third thing. Well, it is currently December 30th 2013 and I decided I couldn't wait an extra two days! No, I don't care for shaking off any more kilos - as a vegetarian, my aspirations in that department go more in the opposite direction. However, I have ventured into some fairly uncharted territory (the "new things" resolution). Yep, I have beaten seemingly all but Rod Quantock to reviewing a cafe! Now I know how guys like Christopher Columbus, Sir Edmund Hilary, and Neil Armstrong must have felt.
But enough about me, 'where/what is Clifton's Cafe?' I hear you ask. Firstly, as there is a little confusion on google searches, it is located at 310 Queens Pde, Fitzroy North, not in downtown Los Angeles. This isn't your big-noting trendy eatery, but nor is it a drab diner. It is very much in pace with the smart eateries and shops that litter this strip. Whilst the bain-marie lasagnas and and hot dishes up the back didn't look overly inspiring, the heavily Lebanese influenced salads, slices and pastries were certainly enough to catch my attention.
|Spinach and Pinenut Omelette. A mouthful!|
Food here is not for those with eyes bigger than their stomachs. I was particularly taken with a large rectangular slice that dominated the salad bar. It appeared reminiscent of the spinach slices my Nonna used to regularly make. As it turned out, this was a spinach and pinenut omelette. As avid readers will already be aware, I am not particularly enamoured of eggs or omelettes, so perhaps this was not the ideal meal selection for myself, but it certainly had its own distinctive taste. The addition of some Middle Eastern spices gave it a richer, earthy flavour. My massive omelette/slice came with three salads and the obligatory dollop of hummus - the hummus was a definite necessity, as I feel the omelette would have been a bit dry without it. I only wish I had been giving a little more.
Probably my main interest here was in the lebanese salads. The pick of the bunch for me was the bulgur salad, mixed with tomato, spring onion and parsley. Light, tasty, perfect summer lunch food. For the other two sides, I opted for the rice, lentil and onion pilaf, and the arabic salad - red cabbage, tomato, cucumber, parsley and spring onion. The latter reminded me very much of my time in the Mid-East. The pilaf was probably a little hefty given the enormous amount of food on the plate, but simple and tasty none-the-less. There was also a a green cabbage salad/slaw with a more tangy taste, and a chickpea salad which I did not get to try on this occasion. I feel on my next visit, I'd go for a plate of just the salads to keep it a bit lighter. Don't get me wrong, I certainly got through all of the food - and a large portion of my companion's! - however, I did struggle to pull myself out of the chair a little afterwards.
A very unassuming little eatery, but the friendly staff and fresh salads and pastries make it one definitely worth stopping in at.