Mary Street Bakery in Highgate replaced the Soto Cafe at the corner of Beaufort St and Mary St. I used to love Soto Cafe, it was a great go-to place that you know will be open for a late night catch up over coffee. I heard of the replacement cafe when it first opened, and I finally got the chance to check it out (after all the hype died down).
We arrived around 12 noon for lunch and the cafe was probably around 70% filled. When we walked in, we were approached by a staff member and directed to pick a table. We opted for the table by the window. We waited for a few minutes for the water and menus to arrive. When it didn't we had to ask a nearby waiter for the menu, to which he was apologetic for not bringing them over earlier.
The selection on the menu was relatively small. We were bemused by the way the dishes were described. They have used a selection of almost random words to describe each dish on the menu, which meant we ended up picking two dishes with words that sounded good. The cafe itself was a really nice open place to hang out, it didn't feel crowded and you could easily have your own little conversations without raising your voice.
We enjoyed our coffee as we chatted away while we waited for our food we realised probably 45 minutes into our stay, the customers sitting next to us who arrived much later had already ordered and received their food, while I have yet to receive ours. By that point, were it was close to 1pm and we were rather hungry, my friend approached one of the waiters to check on our order. A good thing we did too! It turned out for one reason or another our food was not ordered! The waiter took our orders again, was extremely apologetic and offered our meals on the house, he even offered to bring over a croissant while we waited for our food.
We enjoyed our buttery croissant while we waited for our food the second time round.
Not long after, our actual dishes came out. As usual, we decided to share our dishes. The Baked Eggs Tomato Merguez Sausage Yoghurt Sumac ($18) was delish. It was the right balance of flavours and the yoghurt (which we thought was a bit odd initially when we were looking at the menu) just went so well with the dish. If only we were given some bread to clean up all that sauce :) The main down side was that the serving size was pretty small for what you're paying.
The other dish which we decided to share was the Lamb kebab romesco cabbage flatbread ($22). Perhaps it was because I was hungry that the baked eggs tasted so good. Or perhaps because by the time I finished the bake eggs dish and moved on to the lamb it was already a tad too cold. Or perhaps the lamb kebab dish just wasn't amazing. Either way, the flavours and ingredients went well together and it was nice, it just didn't taste amazing to me.
Overall, I wouldn't mind coming back to check out their baked goods on display and maybe even try their homemade donuts. It's a nice place to hang out and catch up with friends.