With pastry chef Andy Bowdy rising to fame through his cakes and desserts at the American-inspired Hartsyard, I might have approached his solo venture, Saga, the wrong way. You'll find in located in a narrow Enmore shopfront, simply furnished with a blonde wood framework that allows a barely obstructed view of the building's fittings.
A single row of closely set wooden picnic tables and benches take you deeper into the cave-like room, the darkness brightened with spotlights and fluorescent strip lights.
Living plants provide the room’s only organic respite from hard surfaces; some trailing, some arranged in tall glasses vases that allow you to view their mossy innards. Despite the counter at the end of the room, there’s table service for those who choose to eat in. You probably want to walk to the end to look at the miniature layer cakes and daily baking anyway.
We arrived for lunch rather than sweets, kicking off our meal with a Salted Caramel and Bourbon Thickshake ($9.50) that neatly avoided being too sweet, and a pretty and refreshing Strawberry & Lemon Thyme House-Made Soda ($6).
From the brunch menu that runs from eight until three, I hit up the Corn Pudding ($19) with the optional side of (sadly over-cooked) Bacon ($5). Made with roasted corn, farro, cornbread crumbs, celery leaves and Parmesan, topped with a poached egg, the corn pudding proved too sweet for me. Luckily staff are able to produce a house-made chilli vinegar they use for their falafel sanga, which improves the dish so much I’d argue it should come as standard.
Starving to death, my dining companion hits up the meatiest sandwich from their list, the Llewellyn ($16.50) that layers sopressa salami, mortadella, coppa and smoked ham onto a ciabatta roll with iceberg lettuce, tangy pickled peppers and provolone. It’s good, that is if you don’t mind making that sort of outlay for a sandwich.
Trying to get with the swing of what this space does best, we end on a Palmier ($5) that’s big on fennel seeds, balanced by candy-sweet passionfruit icing. The pastry is so crisp I find it a bit dry and hard.
Brioche rolled with cinnamon butter and cheesecake, cooked in lashings of salted caramel, and topped with a sticky cheesecake glaze, make the Sticky Buns ($5/each) seem too dense and heavy going for me.
Maybe I’m just not the target market for this one?
178 Enmore Road, Enmore
Ph: (02) 9550 6386