Lab Kitchen is part of a triumvirate of cafes that kicked off in the West Ryde Marketplace back in 2017.
At Marina Square Wentworth Point the group have clearly been inspired by the centre’s nautical name. They've decorated the large space with gleaming royal blue floors, an overturned row boat and hanging ropes that make the most of the high, industrial ceilings, and wall-mounted oars.
Blue-and-white striped woven bistro chairs and wooden tables make up the bulk of the seating, with a couple of deep aquamarine booths set around marble table-tops in the rear. With all-day operating hours, running from seven in the morning until ten at night, the menu is wide-ranging and frankly, a little bit quirky, fusing pan-Asian and international ingredients and dishes.
Over the course of two separate visits, I gave the menu a good going over, starting with a dinner of Crispy Skin Barramundi ($19.90). The big piece of barramundi, which does indeed boast a great crisp skin, is accentuated by grilled lemon and a bed of well-handled greens from Brussels sprouts to asparagus to broccoli. There’s also a little tomato-based salsa that’s tied together with a yuzu ponzu dressing, adding up to a very healthy meal.
The food-that’s-good-for-you theme continues into a Protein Bowl ($14.90) where tasty sous-vide chicken joins a slightly bruised avocado and a healthy green bed of broccoli, kale, and edamame with quinoa and lentils, all tied together with a pomegranate vinaigrette.
While Lab Kitchen is licensed, so you can opt to drink beer or generously poured glasses of wine, you can also opt to keep the good health flowing with a good collection of freshly squeezed juices. Watermelon Blossom ($7.50), with an unusual mix of watermelon, mango, strawberry and passionfruit, is their best seller, and drinks very well.
When I popped back for breakfast, Morning Red ($7.50) with beetroot, strawberry, apple and ginger, also impressed by balancing earth and pretty into an easy-to-down brekky juice.
With the weather not exactly being inviting, all the glass and cold surfaces did show their limitations as we shivered in a booth with our hands wrapped around our coffees. Luckily the Di Stefano beans impress across both a robust Flat White ($3.70) and a Latte ($3.70) which were both served at the correct temperature with nice presentation.
Breakfast is definitely the strong suit for this venue, with three dishes all winning favour with me, both in terms of flavour and price. Chilli Scrambled Eggs ($10.90) presented on char-grilled sourdough with kipfler potato hash and a generous pinch of chilli threads, is both tasty and filling.
You’ll also get the same great scrambled eggs – brilliantly yellow and soft with the protein net kept intact – on the Breakfast Plate ($22.90).
This is a heaving platter of breakfast foods, allowing you to mix and match your way through chargrilled asparagus, roasted tomatoes, field mushrooms, Persian fetta, baked beans, bacon and stunning little cheese kransky. The butter is Pepe Saya, the ingredient quality across the board is excellent, and, as I mentioned before, the cooking on the eggs is perfect.
If you’ve got some shopping to do so don’t want to end up completely stonkered, hit up the Famous K.S.T. ($10.90). It stands for Korean street toast and is basically a Korean take on a Western-style egg sandwich. It’s made by constructing a pancake of shredded vegetables – usually cabbage, carrot and onion – that’s layered onto pan-fried white bread along with ham, cheese, tomato sauce, mayonnaise and – white sugar. The clever sweet-meets-savoury flavour is surprisingly addictive!
Marina Square, 5 Footbridge Boulevard, Wentworth Point
Ph: (02) 8592 7753