Nestled amongst the fashion, bridal and antique shops of High St, Armadale is 8 Days. This is the first cafe owned by former professional tennis player Ruaraidh Gunn and it aims to deliver a memorable coffee and food experience. Visiting on ANZAC morning, it is easy to see why it is bustling with hungry patrons in need of a coffee after the dawn service. The menu covers the range from old favourites with a twist through to more unique dishes (smoked salmon & leek croquettes anyone?), and the coffee hits the right spot early in the morning. They take their coffee so seriously that the cafe is named 8 Days because freshly roasted coffee beans generally taste the best eight days after roasting.
Being invited along for a ‘Taste of 8 Days’ was a great way to sample many of the dishes on the menu, rather than the usual painstaking process of having to choose just one dish. It is worth noting that the portions are generous and one dish will leave you full and satisfied, but if you still have some room there are some lovely cakes and nibbles to go with a final coffee or to takeaway for later. The space is modern, without going for the industrial look, with a long communal table with stools, small tables, and long bench seats (as well as outside seating). Dashes of red from the stools and coffee cups bring the room alive.
Starting out we have the toasted Glicks bagel with ribbons of smoked salmon, creamy avocado and perfectly poached eggs, sent oozing with a poke of the knife. The chilli lime hollandaise is subtle, so don’t expect a kick of chilli to wake you up, and does not overpower the salmon. For me the bagel itself was a little large and ‘bready’, but worked perfectly for dipping into the pool of hollandaise and egg yolk left on the plate.
All the smashed avocado and fetta lovers out there will be doubly happy to find two variations on the menu. The carnivorous dish comes with bacon and poached eggs, with a simple salad on the side; the combination of runny egg, smoky bacon, avocado and creamy/salty fetta is wonderful. The vegetarian version is no less exciting with a generous mound of fetta, rocket and, one of my favourite vegetables, broad beans.
For those that love to start their morning with a dash of sweetness, the french toast is rich and moreish. Instead of using any old bread, the french toast is made using croissants, to make it even more decadent. Served with poached pears, a dollop of cream and candied pistachios, I’m sure this dish would be a must order for those with a sweet tooth; as even a self-avowed savoury person like myself enjoyed it. The candied pistachios were teeth-stickingly delicious, and I would love to have them served for dessert with vanilla ice-cream and the poached pears.
My two favourite dishes were the baked eggs and Spanish omelette. The eggs are baked in a rich Tuscan cassoulét of tomatoes, beans and salsicchia (Italian-style sausage), and you’ll be glad to have the accompanying bread to mop up the delicious sauce. The open omelette is dressed with melting cheese, sweet piquillo peppers and jamon, but the real highlight here is the romesco, a beautifully thick ‘pesto’ with the sweetness of peppers and a gentle warmth of chilli.
We ended with a small bite of the wagyu burger from the lunch menu, which is served with chips (and tomato relish and aioli to dip them into) and salad. It might not knock Rockwell & Sons and Huxtaburger off the top of the burger charts, but the patty is thick and meaty with all the right accompaniments (gruyere, bacon, pickles) and would make most burger lovers happy.
8 Days is one of those neighbourhood cafes which has become a firm favourite with the local crowd, by serving interesting dishes that rise above clichés with unique twists. Open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week, they are also open for dinner on Wednesday to Friday nights for nibbles and sharing plates, as well as more substantial mains. On the weekend I would recommend popping along early to grab one of the bench seat tables inside and sharing the baked eggs and Spanish omelette.
I was invited by 8 Days for a taste of their menu, however my views are my own.