The Jam Pantry

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Once upon a time, I discovered an adorable cafe in Milton called Comfort At My Table. It was a loner in a small complex of shops, away from the popular Park Road strip but had a large fan base ensuring that if you didn't get there before it opened at 8am on a weekend, you were guaranteed a wait. It was here that I first discovered Nims' Banana Chutney and immediately researched it when I got home to try to replicate it and although I succeeded in making a banana chutney, it was never quite as good as Nims'. With delicious menu items such as Nims' Eggs (which included the aforementioned banana chutney along with poached eggs, bacon, spinach and pesto) and mixed exotic mushrooms with grilled lemon and goat's cheese as well as regularly changing specials (the hotcakes always sounded particularly amazing), it became a firm favourite of mine. A while back I was saddened to hear that Nims and her husband Gideon sold Comfort and although the cafe has new owners, I'm yet to return. So when I heard that the couple were opening a new cafe, to say I was excited is an understatement.

After what felt like eons, The Jam Pantry opened in Greenslopes a few months ago and a few weeks after it opened, and after much Instagram stalking, I made it there for breakfast one Saturday morning post-markets. By 9am there was already a queue outside and an estimated half-hour wait but we were able to give the waitress our name and phone number to call when our table was ready and so we trekked up the hill to the IGA, because I love browsing the local products in IGAs. Yes, I'm that strange person who can spend hours in specialty food shops and consider visiting supermarkets in other countries an exciting outing... After a short wait, I was called to be informed that our table was ready so we headed back down to the cafe.

Lovely open interior with kitschy-dressed waitresses

The Jam Pantry is housed in a cute converted shop just off Logan Rd with the eating area in the sunny front section, plus a small room off to the side, and the kitchen is at the back. Decorated similarly to Comfort At My Table but slightly less kitsch and girly with soft blue-grey hues and timber furniture. The waitresses were adorably outfitted in florals with 50s-style hairstyles and makeup. A large chalkboard hangs on the left hand side of the cafe and displays the ever-rotating specials based on seasonal produce and whatever magical combinations Nims has dreamt up under deceptively simple headings such as 'Eggs', 'Cereal', 'Waffles' and 'French Toast'. Additionally there is the 'standard' menu which includes the classic Nims' Eggs, much to my delight. 

Regularly changing specials board #WhenTheBoardFlips
After ordering my standard long black with milk on the side, I perused the menu and was challenged by choosing one of the delicious sounding specials or going for my old favourite Nims' Eggs. The Nims' Eggs ($15) won out and my request to switch the streaky bacon for grilled ham was easily accepted. C, my regular partner-in-breakfast, was sold on the savoury 'French Toast' special with bacon, tomato jam, creme fraiche and maple syrup ($16). My coffee arrived shortly later and was strong and smooth with the beans locally roasted by Coffee Supreme.

Long black with milk on the side

It was a busy morning but our meals didn't take too long to arrive. And they did not disappoint. The French Toast appeared with several rashers of crispy bacon on top of the golden toast, dark red juicy chunky tomato jam, a large dollop of pure creme fraiche, a slice of grilled lemon and maple syrup on the should always be on the side according to Nims and I agree! My Nims' Eggs looked just as I remembered - a vibrant plate of thick grilled pink ham atop lightly toasted sourdough with two pure white poached eggs, roasted tomato, and large dollops of bright yellow banana chutney and green pesto to top it off. After taking the necessary photographic evidence (perhaps a few more than necessary but I was testing out a new camera), we dug in eagerly.

French Toast Special with bacon, tomato jam, creme fraiche & maple syrup

Nims' Eggs - poached eggs with grilled ham, roasted tomato, pesto & banana chutney

My dish was deliciously familiar with the banana chutney as sweet and tangy as I recalled which added contrast to the saltier pesto and ham. I just love grilled ham, especially thick slabs of it like these were. The eggs were poached perfectly with the necessary runny yolks and all of the components worked together in the way that results in dishes like these classics. I loved every bit of it and even ended up eating half the accompanying sourdough (hate me later tummy) because it was damn good sourdough. Everywhere seems to have sourdough listed on the menu these days but I question the sourdough-ness of some. This one was the definition of sourdough - light, chewy, crunchy crust and actually sour. Wherever you source your bread from The Jam Pantry, don't stop! C enjoyed his French Toast although commented that it the tomato jam was sweeter than he anticipated, but hey it's called jam for a reason. He scraped that plate clean so I'm fairly certain he still enjoyed it!

After paying, I perused the shelves displaying Nims' nims xx preserves line including the Banana Chutney, Tomato Jam and several other types of relishes, jams and preserves. I'm still getting through my jar of Marmajam that I purchased when Nims had a short-lived store at the Davies Park Markets and am trying to downsize my large condiment collection so resisted but everyone else, please check them out!

Nims xx preserves for sale

Overall, I loved my breakfast at The Jam Pantry and it met my high incoming expectations. I'll definitely be back and my only issue is that it's not nearly as close to me as Comfort was. I'm not sure about the cycle-ability unfortunately so it may be a car-required breakfast expedition. Not to say that other cyclists couldn't get there...I just might be a little challenged on my heavy cruiser...

Freshly baked treats in the counter cabinet

The Jam Pantry on Urbanspoon

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