Tucked away along an unassuming block of shops in Sandringham, just around the corner from the cheap and cheerful eats along Dominion Road lies Petit Bocal, french for Little Jar. The tired streets may confuse you at first- it seems a more reasonable assumption that you’ll find a quick, greasy fish and chip shop than a modern eatery but that is the beauty of this not-so-hidden gem.
The bottled lights drooping from the ceiling and the small jars of flowers that adorn the wooden tables are enough to visually engage your imagination into a romantic picnic outdoors. They carry the theme of their name well into the wall art decal too.
I must confess my parti pris for coming here was solely based on the adorable latte art I had stalked over Instagram. As a non coffee drinker, my Chai lattes definitely provide no base substance to create any latte art onto, but the proffering of a matcha latte on the menu seemed to be the answer to my quandary. My excitement was palpable as I was ready to receive my very first latte art, possibly with bunny faces and 3D kittens.
No matter, the latte itself was decent enough regardless of the photogenic displays. Tip: don’t order a trim version like I did. Judging by the small green lumps in my latte, I’m assuming they use real matcha (not ready made green tea latte satchets) and since water is usually used to dissolve the powder first, my trim latte became ultra trim and watery.
Our brunch items that followed was so unexpectedly delicious and hearty that I recovered from my slight disappointment within a heartbeat. Lisa and I were both gravitating towards the Shashi eggs, but of course, it’s not very fun when the same dishes are ordered so I opted for the Breakfast Bruschetta- diced tomato, avocado, red onion and basil with crispy bacon, poached eggs and citrus hollandaise ($18.00).
This was described and looked exactly the same as an Eggs Benedict, but with the addition of diced tomato and avocado. My oh my, it was hearty and generous for a breakfast menu item- sorry city and Ponsonby dwellers, the food may be presented prettily but that’s really no excuse to serve minuscule portions. The bread was slightly tough to saw through however, probably also because my muscle strength is non existent.
And of course, it’s not an Eggs Benny without some beautiful eggporn.
Lisa ordered the Shashi’s Eggs- free range eggs baked in spicy tomato, roast capsicum and organic puy lentils ($18.00).
Similar to a Shakshuka or a Menemen, this type of dish is rich in flavour and always packs a punch. The deep roasted tomatoes are infused with so much intensity from the sweet, caramelised onions, spicy paprika,peppery lentils, and fresh herbs. It’s the perfect winter comfort dish and will warm your soul.
I’ll be returning again for another attempt on that latte art. Whether you’re here for a business meeting, a coffee date, or brunch, Petit Bocal ticks all the boxes and is definitely worth the drive out (if you don’t live nearby).