- A slightly jumbled environment
- Good coeliac knowledge
- A weird attitude toward the customers
In November, Michael, Milly and I went to the Belconnen markets to do our weekly shop and stopped off at As Nature Intended for breakfast.
We’d stopped there for coffee the week before and had an odd experience. Although nice, the coffee had taken ages, and the staff had been disinterested. The menu was well labelled regarding dietary requirements but the staff seemed a bit confused when I described my coeliac disease.
Never the less, we decided to return and see what the food was like, and we got a completely different experience! We arrived early on Saturday morning, at 8:45am and the place was mostly empty. We spent at least 10 minutes deciding where to sit because Milly couldn’t settle on a favourite table.
As Nature Intended has indoor and outdoor seating. Outside there are a jumble of chairs and tables, with blankets laid out and piles of books on the tables. There are huge potted plants dotted around making the whole space feel like a granny’s garden!
The granny theme continues indoors too. The space is set up with a circular coffee station, serving area and tills. The front of the room has the mixed tables and chairs, and the back is a grocers, selling an interesting range of ‘health’ foods (think vegan, gluten free and “all organic and natural”). The atmosphere in the place is quite laid back and it looks like a jumble sale – stuff seems to have been accumulated over the years. I’m not sure if it’s a comfortable space but it’s homely.
We eventually decided to sit outside in the sun but it was a little windy so we wrapped up in the blankets. I went inside to grab some menus, completely ignored by the staff, and Michael and I sat and had a look over the options.
The menu was pretty standard – smashed avo, beans on toast, vegan breakfast, big breakfast. Michael and I both opted for a big breakfast to share with Milly – Michael’s with fried eggs and sourdough, mine with scrambled eggs and gluten free toast, and two large skim flat whites. I went inside where I was ignored for a few minutes while I waited at the till until a younger man came over to take my order.
When he came over he was friendly, and once I explained I was coeliac and my cross contamination needs he confirmed the kitchen used separate equipment for the gluten free items including the toaster and fryer. I felt pretty comfortable after my conversation and headed back outside to my table.
We sat in the sun while we waited for our food and coffee. After about ten minutes the
staff member bought out our two coffees and babycino. As usual I had a skim decaf flat white. It was a bit milky but acceptable considering how large coffees can be a bit hit and miss. Michael described his coffee as good, if unassuming!
A short time after, our food came out. The breakfast looked pretty good, the portion size was a little big for me but it was varied containing scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, pan fried tomato, homemade tomato relish and toast.
The eggs were bright yellow, buttery and tasty. These were a hit with Milly and me! There was heaps of bacon, it had a gentle smoky flavour and had been fried to crispy. It was enjoyable to eat but a little tough and quite hard to cut up. I don’t know if this was because of a blunt knife or tough meat! I believe the sausage was made of beef. It was quite nice and contained a little garlic but this wasn’t overpowering. The mushrooms were a little strange, they had a very strong flavour that left an unusual after taste.
The tomato had been fried with a little herby crust which was quite tasty and cut through some of the greasiness. The homemade tomato relish was chilled. It was quite thick with some large chunks of tomato in it, and a strong flavour reminiscent of tomato paste. It wasn’t oniony but had a tiny hint of spiciness. Lastly it came with some slightly sweet toast on the side.
Michael’s breakfast was much the same although he said his fried eggs were very nicely cooked and the toast was slightly burnt. While Michael polished off his plate, I couldn’t manage the whole meal.
In total, two big breakfast, a flat white, a decaf flat white, and a babycino came to $45.80. We won’t be rushing back to As Nature Intended but it wasn’t a bad experience. The prices were reasonable as was the food, and once we were deemed worth the staff’s attention, they were friendly and knowledgeable. The problem is that you always feel like an afterthought for the staff, instead of as a paying customer and worth consideration!
Belconnen Markets Building 3
Shop 40a/15 Lathlain Street, Belconnen
02 6259 0444