In Short: Flying Egg is an exciting new addition to The Forum at St Leonards. Quality coffee, and a refined touch with the food, really elevates this cafe straight to the top in St Leonards.
While it’s all in the tasting, it does instill a little confidence when you see a Synesso espresso machine out front of a cafe. The attention to detail, exquisite looking, hand-built coffee machines screams quality, and sends a message to coffee lovers that the cafe is serious about their coffee. Flying Egg in St Leonards is the first cafe that I know of in the area sporting the Synesso machine, and they partner with The Grounds for their coffee. Having worked in St Leonards on and off for over a decade, it’s welcoming indeed to see owners Shane and Harish fashion a bright, welcoming and open plan space at The Forum. If you’re new to the area, it’s as easy as exiting the ticket bollards, turn left, and boom, great coffee and Instagram worthy café fare.
I had the opportunity to dine in their brand, spanking new café on their first day of operation, thanks to Ompty and Flying Egg. To begin our lunch, I had to see how the barista would work the Synesso and their take on a flat white. Expectations were met with a robust coffee, which was bright in flavour, and smooth to drink. A small but frothy top gave way to the copper coloured coffee. Milk work was perfect, and it was easy drinking. On subsequent visits, the coffee continues to be consistently of an exceedingly high standard.
For our first tasting at Flying Egg, I left it in the good hands of Shane to show us their best. First up was a breakfast of eggs-special scramble. When it landed in front of me, I was struck with the mimimalist approach Chef had gone with. Usually it’s a race to stack a breakfast plate with a host of ingredients, so much so, sometimes you wonder what the hero ingredient is. There’s no doubt with the special scrambled eggs, that the contents of the bun is the hero. A semi circle of perfect little spheres of sriracha mayo draw your eyes to the plate, and to the scrambled eggs hidden under the milk buns. As I bit into the bun, I tasted the soft, perfectly cooked through, scrambled eggs. They were creamy and fluffy. Accompanying the scrambled egg was sweet caramelised onion and melted cheddar cheese. The mayo provided a spicy kick to cut through the richness of the egg and cheese. A tasty breakfast burger that’s not too heavy, and perfectly balanced.
The Forum is dominated by a host of fast food franchises, with the golden arches behemoth just around the corner. It’s only appropriate that Flying Egg serves up a generous stack of pancakes with three fluffy pancakes, house made honey butter, and a playful syringe of lemon maple syrup to demonstrate how pancakes should be done. I love the almond crust sitting atop the pancakes. The nutty flavour, as well the crunchy texture, contrasts well with soft and well formed pancakes. The house-made butter honey is rich, and injected with a sweet honey flavour, and it works perfectly with the lemon maple syrup. I really enjoy the acidic citrus flavour of the lemon infusion, as it tames the inherent sweetness of traditional maple syrup. These are how pancakes should be done. A few ingredients which really work well together and doesn’t put you in a food coma!
Before heading back to an afternoon of work, Shane brings out a signature salad, a Flying Egg jumbo mambo salad. I, on the other hand, refer to it as an ‘ode to pumpkin’. It’s a visually striking dish of roasted Kent pumpkin, Butternut pumpkin puree, popped pepitas, crumbed ricotta, mesclun and white kimchi salad. As it sits on the table I know that it’s not a toss-a-few-ingredients-in-a-bowl style salad. On the contrary, the Kent pumpkin is roasted whole, for 2 hours, and then sliced up and drizzled with maple syrup to accentuate the flavours of the pumpkin. The puree is also prepared expertly. Smooth and creamy, without a hint of graininess, it’s luxe indeed! I loved the addition of popped pepitas which add texture and a nutty flavour, and it continues with the pumpkin story of the salad. Crispy pancetta is the crowning glory of the salad. It adds that rich and salty pork flavour, and is super crispy. Breaking shards of crispy pancetta and scooping up the butternut pumpkin puree is the way to go. Kim-chi provide a little background heat, and their pickled notes add yet another dimension to this sophisticated salad.
Undoing a notch on the belt, it’s time to bid goodbye to the team at Flying Egg. For me though, it’s a momentary goodbye as I will be back the next day, and the day after. Working in The Forum will allow me to see this cafe hopefully go from strength to strength. I will be interested to see how the menu develops, and how the changing seasons will reflect in the food that is offered as we head towards spring and summer. It’s proximity to Royal North Shore, and for the corporate crowd, this is the perfect retreat to either escape the office, or a break from sterile spaces of the hospital.