The Knox Made in Watson is a suburban cafe at the Watson shops which opened up a few months ago, replacing Satis. The team love the suburb of Watson and use as much local produce and supplies as possible, hence the ‘Made in Watson’ motto. Rounding the corner of the shops, I walked towards a large outdoor courtyard, dotted with crates of herbs and vegetables, and filled with happy diners sitting underneath shady umbrellas.
The fit out is exactly the same as how Satis had it but suits The Knox so much more with its hipster cafe vibe. Quirky furniture, a wall filled with bottles of wine and teapots, ‘Knox’ spelt out with coffee cups, a vertical garden and funky looking lights completes the look. The Knox is long and narrow with tables and stools squeezed in tightly along the wall allowing traffic to flow through the middle.
Three glass canisters of self serve tap water filled with lemon or cucumber are available at the front counter. Kudos for going one step above regular tap water.
A variety of cakes were on display by the entrance, great for those that just want cake and coffee or a take away treat. I liked the fact that the cakes were easily identified as either gluten free and/or dairy free.
Parents will be pleased to find The Knox is kid friendly with a ‘The Little Knox’ playing space complete with chalkboard, toys and play mat.
The open kitchen is at the back and surprisingly not noticeably loud. But that could be due to the fact that the chatter around us was loud enough to drown out any noises from the kitchen.
Tables are decorated with mini glass milk bottles holding freshly cut flowers.
Orders are provided and paid for at the front counter and a number given for the table. I was really surprised at how quick everything came out. Within 5 minutes of ordering, our drinks arrived. I ordered the pineapple mango pash smoothie ($7) made with mango, lime sorbet and passionfruit pulp; and a soy mocha ($3.80 + 50c soy). I also couldn’t resist getting a passionfruit and caramel popcorn tart ($5) for dessert later on. A friend ordered the sweet summer time juice ($7) with watermelon, orange, kiwi and mint. The juices and smoothies are all served in tall glasses and I was happy with the prices for the quantity received.
Another friend ordered the iced coffee ($7) filled with ice cream, coffee and whipped cream.
The menu is clearly marked with dishes that are gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian. Breakfast has popular items such as the classic eggs benny, smashed avo on toast, bircher muesli and ricotta hotcakes. Lunch consists of burgers, salads and paninis. It was very easy for me to make my breakfast selection. The Mexican Eggs ($17) stood out for me with spiced braised beans, chorizo, smoked cheddar, poached eggs, avocado and baked tortillas. The portion size was larger than expected with a generous serving of beans, large thickly sliced chunks of salty and slightly spicy chorizo sausage, and dollops of smashed avocado. The two eggs were perfectly poached with gorgeous silky egg yolks spilling into the bowl. I would have liked a bit more cheddar in the dish (the cheesier the better!) and maybe a hit of chilli to spice things up a bit more. Otherwise a very filling and yummy dish. My friend Dr L ordered the gluten free version of this dish which came with a side of gluten free bread rather than the tortillas.
A friend ordered the smoked trout omelette ($17) with spinach, roast tomato, braised fennel and toast, and really enjoyed the dish.
Another friend ordered the eggs benedict ($15) with smoked salmon, wilted baby spinach and hollandaise sauce. You also have the option of ham, mushrooms or bacon instead of the smoked salmon at no extra cost.
Mr STTA wanted something light and ordered free range eggs on gluten free toast ($12) with a side of fresh avocado ($3). I should also mention that gluten free toast has no extra charge which is rare. Mr STTA tells me the gf toast tastes just like normal bread, which is also a rarity.
A bowl of shoe string fries ($7) with house made roasted garlic aioli was shared at the table. Really crunchy and moreish.
After all that food, it was time to fit in some dessert. The passionfruit and caramel popcorn tart was similar to a lemon tart, except with a passionfruit filling. The passionfruit filling was absolutely divine – lusciously thick, smooth, creamy, citrusy and with passionfruit seeds mixed throughout. The pastry was buttery, soft and thin but held its shape. The caramel popcorn was nice for decoration, but the passionfruit tart was just as satisfying on its own. I got the others to help me eat this, but we just couldn’t finish it after all the food we had consumed.
We were all pleased with brunch at The Knox, from the friendly and fast service, casual vibe, to the filling food. Noise levels are on the high side indoors – high enough that you have to use your outside voice but not high enough that you need to yell. It is much quieter outdoors. There was no rush to vacate a table, allowing us to chat and eat at our leisure. I was really happy with the food options as well as drink options – freshly squeezed juices, smoothies, iced drinks and shakes on top of teas (from Adore Tea) and Red Brick espresso coffees. I’d be very happy going back to order more.
Edit: Thanks to one of my readers who contacted me to say that the crockery was all made in Watson too, at the Watson Arts Centre by Chris Hartford. The Centre even has a pottery shop for those that are interested in making crockery and other ceramic items.
The Knox is a great little suburban gem located on Watson Place at the Watson shops. Open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch. The current menu can be found on their Facebook page.
Value for money 8/10
FPJ score 24/30
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