The Armchair Collective is a cross between a cafe and a homewares store. There were no comfy couches at all (actually the chairs we sat on were a little uncomfortable). However, the mismatched tables and chairs are dotted in amongst some really lovely and quirky homewares that fill conversation gaps when the silence gets a little much. The visual merchandising is really cool. It's a great place to visit when you're in need of a little inspiration. An old-fashioned white bathtub sits atop a weatherworn wooden table, and is full to the brim with jagged sticks. Fresh flowers dotted throughout the cafe provide stunning perfume.
The Armchair Collective is tucked down by the seaside in Mona Vale, on Sydney's northern beaches. On a crisp, sunny day a unanimous decision amongst the office crew was made to get out and enjoy a lunch at the nearby Armchair Collective. Papa Bear, Peter Pan and The Big Bad Wolf had gone AWOL so it was a girls lunch. The day we chose to go down was smack bang in the middle of school holidays and Armchair don't take bookings. It was a risk. And, it was busy when we got there. One of us must've had luck on our side because we found ourselves a table for eight straight away. That's where the luck ended...
We sussed out the menu and went to the counter to place our order. Baby Bear and Mama Bear were first to order and decided on the Green Leaf Salad with Roast Pumpkin, Pear, Walnuts and Goats Cheese ($15). No problems there. Thumbelina ordered the Sesame Bagel with Smoked Ocean Trout, Neufchatel Cream Cheese and Baby Capers ($15). The lad behind the counter said there were no bagels left but they could make it with any other bread she liked. Ok, no worries, we can deal with that. Rapunzel went for the BRT and was told there was none of those left either. Apparently it was a "really busy breakfast". She switched to the "bagel".
Fairy Godmother, Goldilocks and Little Red Riding Hood went for the salad as well. However, they were told the kitchen had run out of pumpkin but they could make a salad with roasted asparagus and heirloom tomatoes instead of pumpkin. Goldilocks switched to the Leek and Bacon Soup. Fairy Godmother and Little Red Riding Hood stuck with the salad (pictured below).
As it happened even Mama Bear and Baby Bear were given the improvised tomato/asparagus salad despite that their order for the pumpkin salad being given the ok. The salad got the thumbs up from all who ordered it. Even Baby Bear polished it all off and she doesn't even like asparagus! I forgot to ask Goldilocks how her soup was but I heard her say something about "just right".
I went for the Roasted Vegetable Frittata with Leaf Salad ($16, pictured below). The portion sizes with all our meals were very generous. My golden frittata was packed with pumpkin, silverbeet and feta so despite it's enormous size it didn't fill me up, meaning I still had room for chips. My side salad was dressed with a sweet honey dressing that almost over-powered the delicious heirloom tomatoes. Just as well I have a sweet tooth I suppose.
Mama Bear and Fairy Godmother also two large buckets of 'Skin On' Hand Cut Chips and Harissa Mayonnaise ($7 each, below). They were delicious and beautifully golden. And, of course, I felt a bit healthy given they were 'skin-on'. The harissa mayonaisse gave them a nice creamy kick of chilli but I actually preferred them without the mayonaisse.
Given half the menu was missing, it was probably just as well the food was delicious and the service was prompt and friendly (although Baby Bear did have to go looking for her iced chocolate). And, how can you not like a place that serves it's iced chocolates in big old-school milk bottles?
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