My heritage is Irish with a bit of Scottish tightness thrown in for good measure. I firmly believe however that there is some Italian blood pumping through my veins, maybe some Italian Casanova had his wicked way with my great great great grandmother all those years ago? I just love the country, the people and most especially the food. So when we ventured into the new Mercato e Cucina in Gladesville last week I felt totally at home!
Mercato e Cucina (Market & Kitchen for you non Italians) occupies the bottom floor of a new apartment building on Victoria Rd in Gladesville. It is a foodies paradise and even if you aren't a foodie I think a visit to Mercato e Cucina would soon convert you. We had breakfast and then a wee wander around the "market."
When you first enter the spacious, open plan restaurant you are greeted by the friendly staff. The gorgeous waitress who greeted us, flashed us her bright red lipstick smile and we were all immediately smitten (I was very feeling very naked with just my chap stick on!). We had made a booking, as the day before Mercato e Cucina had been reviewed by the SMH and I just knew it would be busy.
We were seated, given our menus and the waitress actually asked our boys what they wanted to eat - a first - treating kids as paying guests. Luckily they both replied chocolate croissants and not something weird like jam sandwiches as they can do sometimes at home. As Mercato e Cucina has a fabulous bakery section, chocolate croissants were in plentiful supply ($4.00). We were asked if we would like the boy's breakfast served first, to which I replied, oh yes please.
And guess what? They arrived in less than 2 minutes! They looked and smelt heavenly. Freshly baked, flaky and oozing with just the right amount of chocolate - any chance of a sneaky taste test were dashed as the little bulls devoured them so quickly demanding more! I also loved the calico designed china they were served on (car was ours - I just did a bit of fancy pants styling).
There isn't a dedicated kids menu but you won't have trouble finding something for your children to eat. Obviously there are loads of choices from the bakery such as croissants and other pastries and there is also fresh fruit and yoghurt, crumpets and hotcakes available on the main breakfast menu.
I chose Truffled Eggs for breakfast for $12.50. The truffled Scrambled Eggs & Sautéed Mixed Mushrooms on Mercate e Cucina's freshly baked sourdough were nothing short of sublime! I could smell it from the other side of the restaurant as it was delivered to our table. The eggs were perfectly scrambled and there was the right amount of mushrooms on top with a lovely sprinkle of micro herbs.
Mr Munch yet again chose the Bacon & Egg Roll, or should I say "Rock & Roll" - $10.00. The roll was huge and stuffed full of bacon, eggs and aioli with rocket. The roll - freshly baked in house was the perfect vessel to hold all of the bacon and egg goodness.
The coffee as you would expect in an Italian eatery was perfect. Mercato e Cucina use their own signature blend and it was so good that we bought a big bag of the ground beans to take home with us. Babycinos are served in disposable espresso cups (big tick) and fresh juices are available for $3.00. Our boys were content drinking the table water supplied when we first arrived.
Whilst we sat eating our breakfast I noticed family after family pouring in. High chairs are in plentiful supply and there is loads of room if you have a little one in a pram. All of the staff were welcoming to the families and as I watched, I noticed they all received the same service as us - kids meals came out immediately so there was no chance of hunger tantrums. By the time we left (around 9am) the restaurant was almost full. So I dare say you should make a booking , especially if dining at lunch or dinner.
The lunch and dinner menus are full of delicious pastas, pizzas and other Italian delights including of course Tiramisu. So if you're dining at either of these time with your children there will be loads of options for them to eat - what child doesn't love pizza and pasta? Pizzas are also available for takeaway and of course you can always stock up on some fabulous food from the Mercato to take on your very own picnic.
After your meal you will no doubt want to have a wander through this gastronomic emporium, the issue is your little tackers. If yours are like mine, they will run off and find something to climb on, like for example a vintage scooter. Luckily we nabbed them just in time and said scooter didn't tumble on top of them. To enable an enjoyable wander through the Mercato you can use good old fashioned bribery like we did. We made the little bulls promise not to run off from us and if they kept their promise they would be allowed to have a delectable mini tart from the bakery section for later in the day. These little morsels will set you back $1.50 each.
The toilet facilities at Mercato e Cucina are fantastic with a baby change table being provided in the handicapped loo.
The only negative I could find with Mercato e Cucina's restaurant was that it can get a wee bit noisy, but than again isn't that what you expect from an Italian eatery? Their motto is "A place you will feel both at home and inspired by." My love of all things Italian certainly made me feel at home and I am now inspired to smear on some red lippy and maybe find out if indeed there was a Casanova lurking in our family history x
297 Victoria Rd Gladesville NSW 2111
02 9817 3457
Store open 7 days from 8am
Restaurant serves breakfast on weekends from 8am
Lunch & Dinner Tue - Sun