Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Ingredient Tree - Wembley

A sunny day brought us to The Ingredient Tree in Wembley for lunch.
The Ingredient Tree is on Herdsman Parade, tucked off from the road slightly, with a small car park out the front. The big orange sign makes this café hard to miss, but if you didn’t know what The Ingredient Tree was, then you’d have trouble understanding what this random shop is!
Inside, The Ingredient Tree has a big wooden table and a few smaller ones for customers to dine at. Half of the café is set aside for products of multiple varieties from organic pasta to chocolates, biscuits, oil and jams. In the fridge you can buy macaroons, milk and some select organic vegies. (That’s if you don’t want to go to a grocery store like a normal person and pay half the price for non-organic vegies).

On the table top ordering counter sits a few rustic and obviously home-made desserts. I spot vanilla cupcakes, a carrot and syrup cake, blueberry crumble muffins and some nougat.

Sitting on the big wooden table, there is an oversized wooden noughts and crosses board with wooden playing noughts and crosses. The simple menu features a selection of breakfast options and lunch options range from homemade soups and sausage rolls to toasted Panini’s,  salads and even a ploughman’s lunch with fresh bread, cheese and meats.

I order the roast vege and quinoa salad ($6) and the asparagus, sweet potato and caramelised onion salad ($6).

The other girls order a haloumi vege stack ($12) and share the same salads.

Sweet potato, asparagus and caramelised onion salad ($6).

Roast Veggie Quinoa Salad ($6)

The waitresses seems to speak very little English and it was difficult asking what the “salads of the day” were that were mentioned on the menu. Our meals also took a fair while to come out…there was only a few of us seated in the café, and I noticed a few waitresses so I’m nto too sure why the service was poor or why it took so long for our meals to come out.

When we finally got our meals (at very staggered time intervals) I almost gasped when I saw the size of the tiny plate of salad I had bought. Both were on separate plates and were just over a big handful in size. I’m a big eater at the best of times, but I could tell straight away that I was still going to be hungry after these two salads…

Despite its size, the roast vege and quinoa salad was absolutely delightful. The small crunch of the quinoa wrapped around the char-roasted veges with an amazing flavour was certainly impressive. The asparagus and sweet potato salad was also lovely, with at most, one asparagus stalk chopped over some roasted sweet potato, with a sweet caramelised red onion - I absolutely enjoyed every one of my three mouthfuls.
Such a beautiful combination of flavours put together in two gorgeous salads – the only problem being that after I had finished eating a couple of mouthfuls, it was pretty much all gone!
Such small servings, and even when you’re talking about salads, these should be a little bigger to at least attempt to satisfy some hunger craving by the customer.

After very little debate, I decided to order the vegetable Panini as I was still hungry. After already spending $12 for what felt like no food, I was reluctant to pay another $12 for a toasted sandwich I was anticipating being also very small… This quick lunch trip for a cheap eat is turning out to be the price of a full restaurant meal which after paying $24, you would hope to be full.

My Panini also took forever to come out, and after being here for over an hour, I decided to ask for them to just put it in a takeaway bag and I could take it back to the office to eat.

Not too long after this request, my Panini came out in a bag and as we were still sorting the bill, I blinked and in that time I had pretty much inhaled the whole thing.

This is the snapshot I got of the Vege Panini after taking a very enthusiastic first bite.

The Panini was filled with roast potato, very few spinach leaves and roast capsicum with cheese. After eating salads which probably only just lined my stomach, I then filled it with roasted chunks of potato with cheese in toasted Turkish bread. Carb filled second lunch, tick.
The Panini didn’t have much of a flavour so-to-speak but it filled the empty hole of hunger in my stomach.
If I wanted a muffin, I surely couldn’t afford to spend any more during one sitting for this “cheap, quick lunch”.
$24 later, a few bites of some gorgeous salads and a potato cheese Panini, we left.
I did manage to buy some barley from the Ingredient Tree. Don’t know why. I never eat barley. It was a somewhat spontaneous $1.90 purchase that I thought I would find a use for at the time.  

Its been a week or two since this purchase. Just FYI – I still haven’t used the barley.
What on earth do you cook barley with? Soup??
God knows.

Ingredient Tree on Urbanspoon

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