Set in a sleepy little strip mall, Nostimo Café has all the hallmarks of a coastal café. From big black umbrellas keeping the sun off their al fresco tables, to an extensive please-all menu that addresses all the current café trends, it’s clearly a popular hub for Malabar locals.
When we arrive for brunch, the café is jam packed with an eclectic mix of people. There’s a woman in heavy silver jewellery clutching a fluffy white dog; two older men chatting over coffees; and a younger trio in active wear eating a full breakfast before declaring it’s time to “do our 20,000 steps.”
The menu influences also accurately reflect the Australian cultural melting pot. Owner Isabelle Perez has a Lebanese, French and Spanish background; and her chef is Nepalese. In this family-focused business, Isabelle buys the produce and her Mum makes the falafel that you’ll find on my weekend breakfast favourite – the Falafel Special ($18.90).
Her son designs the dishes, and the chef, Laxman, puts everything onto the plate. He’s done a nice job with this collection of poached eggs, pan-warmed olives and cherry tomatoes, za’atar bread, seed topped hummus, a fan of avocado, and the aforementioned fluffy falafel.
"My bowls are my biggest sellers," explains Isabelle when we ask her what to order. I dutifully bust my Acai Bowl ($12.90) virginity with a coconut shell full of their special acai blend. We contrast it with a Berrylicious ($12.90) bowl that has an icy sorbet-like base made from strawberry, raspberry, banana, papaya and apple juice. Both bowls come topped with fresh strawberries, banana slices, a tasty, crunchy granola and flaked coconut. I’m more taken with the frosty berry-based one than the Amazon berries, but that’s probably to be expected from someone who doesn’t actually believe in ‘super-foods’.
You can also enjoy the berry bounty of the season elegantly strewn across a Bircher ($18.90) from the specials menu. The contrast between lush red strawberries and raspberries and splashes of dark green spirulina powder is certainly eye-catching. The comfortingly warm and mushy oats are rounded out with peppermint, blueberries, orange slices and a golden dusting of bee pollen.
Fresh fruit is also abundant on the Pancakes ($18.90), which avoid the too-sweet trap by replacing cream or ice cream with whipped ricotta.
They go down well with a robust Latte ($3.50). You’ll also find turmeric lattes and matcha green tea lattes on offer, the latter is a little watery and bitter, but improves with sugar and a good stir.
And if all these modern smoothie bowls and flavoured lattes don’t win you, you can always kick it old-school with the Breakfast Bruschetta ($18.90).
This Italian inspired brekky gives squishy white toast a mountainous topping of smashed avocado; heirloom tomatoes and oozing poached eggs. It’s given a retro balsamic drizzle and eats better than saving for a house deposit feels.
1220 Anzac Parade, Malabar
Ph: (02) 9661 1399