In A Pickle has been the cafe on the corner in Camp Hill for years, occupying a very visible location at one end of the Martha Street shopping strip. Locals fill the tables outside on a weekend, with a solid proportion of children to pooches. Lured by the promise of good food (given that they cater and run cooking classes, one would hope they were good), we headed there for brunch.
As we entered through the grey wood doors and eyed the queue for the service counter, staff explained to us that it was table service, and asked that we find seats. It being warm outside, we opted to sit in the air-conditioned inside, at the few metal stools along the counter by the window. Menus on clipboards were soon brought to us. There is a page of hot and cold drink options, and another page of food items. There is also a roll of butcher sheet behind the service counter on which the day’s specials, available from lunchtime, are written, and you can see the selection of sandwiches, salads, bakes, and slices in the counter.
The eatery has the feel of a casual deli. As mentioned, most of the seating is outside, along the covered walkway. Orange, white, and grey polymer chairs sit against painted distressed wood-topped tables, making for a cheery variety of colour. Inside, the seating is limited, but not cramped. The counter by the window glass is just wide enough to accommodate your dish and coffee. Pop music was playing at a comfortable volume when we were there, thematically around her visit, Adele.
After perusing the menu, we decided on the Pickle Corn Fritters and The Big Pickle, which is their version of a big breakfast. And had caffeine as well, of course.
The chocolate milkshake with a shot of coffee was appropriately cold. It was more just sweet than actually chocolate or coffee-flavoured though.
The flat white was textured well, but unfortunately the coffee itself was bitter to the point that it was unpleasant to drink. We let the staff know, and received a replacement. The replacement was still bitter, though.
The Pickle Corn Fritters came with pico de gallo, sour cream, and a choice of either bacon or chorizo, of which we picked the bacon. The fritters were presented as a lovely golden stack, dressed with the festively coloured red, yellow, and green ingredients in the pico de gallo, and green leaves. The fritters had substance, but weren’t too dense or stodgy. They were just a little seasoned, but had plenty of sweet, juicy corn kernels in them. The pico de gallo with tomato and avocado balanced it with lightness, without being too tart or pickly. The bacon curls with it were crunchy at one end and tender at the other, so whatever your bacon preference is, it would satisfy.
The Big Pickle had been chorizo sausage, bacon, haloumi, potato cake, mushrooms, grilled tomato, carrot jam, and eggs any way. We chose to have the eggs poached, and they were appropriately done, with runny yolks. The chorizo sausage had a good spicy and herby flavour, with a meaty texture that wasn’t overly ground down, and a crunchy skin for contrast. The bacon, as before, was nicely cooked. The potato cake was a golden-brown crumbed cylinder. On the inside, there were slivers of potato strips, a little savoury, compactly packed, but not too tightly, so they weren’t squishy. There were individual filaments of potato that just held together. It was reminiscent of a potato rosti, and quite possibly the best potato cake we’ve had for ages. On top of that was a chivey sour cream. The haloumi slabs were soft and chewy, but didn’t have the usual punch of saltiness one expects. The button mushrooms were tender. There was a spoon of carrot jam on the side, little bits of sweetness that you could disseminate amongst the other components for contrasting flavour.
I think the owner was present the day we were there, and we could see her efficiently running the service. There was warmth, and familiarity with their regular patrons.
All in all, In A Pickle does indeed do good food. They mix flavours and textures well. It was easy to see why there was a steady flow of customers arriving to either eat there or get meals to takeaway for later. The coffee though, needs some work..
Food: 3/4 (it would have been 3.5, but the drinks let it down.)
Price point: Breakfast items $14.50 to $24 for anything more substantial than bread and spread.. The corn fritters were $19.50 and the Big Pickle was $24.
Value: Not bad for the food.
Address: 2 Martha St, Camp Hill
Phone: 07 3398 6399
Website: In A Pickle