You can be forgiven if you have never heard of, or visited, The Lab on Payneham Road before. Nestled away in Royston Park, The Lab boasts a science themed menu and décor. Beakers for glasses are just the quirky beginning, and the menu has a range of delicious dishes for you to devour.
Lab Cakes, fluffy pancakes with berry labneh, fresh strawberry or banana, honeycomb and maple syrup – We’ll start with the sweet, because who doesn’t like to tuck into a cheeky dessert before the main? Two of the cutest looking pancakes you will have ever seen are stacked on top of each other, and surrounded by a plateful of colour. The cakes are about 10cm in diameter, but are as thick, and fluffy as a pillow, and soak up the maple syrup perfectly. The labneh was a new experience for me, a Middle Eastern cheese, with the flavour and texture of yogurt was mixed with berries for a unique creamy accompaniment. Strawberries, or banana, and honeycomb pieces are scattered round the plate, sure to please even the most extreme sweet tooths!
Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad with Grilled Chicken, and baby spinach, dried figs, cherry tomatoes, pinenuts and feta – If you’re watching your waist line, or cutting out carbs, this is the meal for you. Red quinoa, sweet dried figs, and tender chargrilled chicken strips hero the dish, with creamy feta, pumpkin and pine nuts giving it a contrasting rustic flavour. You’ll be sure to want a green juice or mixed berry smoothie to accompany this clean eating, #fitspo dish.
The Lab Burger, 150g house made beef burger with chefs pickled onion, cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo and relish. Topped with a pickle and served with fries – Sounds like a monster of a burger as it is, but you can even opt for a double patty – which of course I would highly recommend. Chargrilled smoky bacon is layered onto the monstrous sweet brioche burger bun, and is further topped with fresh salads and melted American style cheddar cheese. If that isn’t enough to make you salivate, then the whopper tasting indulgency has creamy mayo and a sweet relish to seal the deal. Shoestring fries are served on the side, with that all authentic American whole pickle. The only problem you’ll have is fitting the whole thing into your mouth in one bite.
Linguini, with Swiss brown mushrooms, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, parmesan, rocket and almond pesto – Linguini, the skinnier cousin to fettuccine, is served with sweet roasted cherry tomatoes, a generous portion of whole button mushrooms, a mild pesto, with the sautéed veggies carrying majority of the flavour. Perfect for spiralling around your fork, you’ll be digging into the pasta wishing for more.
Gnocchi, handmade gnocchi, with Swiss brown mushrooms, shaved parmesan and truffle oil in a creamy porcini sauce – This dish is mushroom heaven, whole mushrooms, creamy mushrooms, and mushroom oil are sure to give you your daily dose of B12. The gnocchi is homemade and is soft, not chewy, and has that real authentic Italian flavour.
Lab Big Brekky, eggs your way with bacon, roasted tomatoes, mushroom, chorizo and hash brown on organic sourdough – You can’t really go wrong with a big brekky, but The Lab’s addition of a spicy chorizo sausage really sets it apart from other cafes. A hangover cure on a plate, The Lab is the place to be after any night out.
We’d like to thank the chefs for serving up a delicious spread, and you’re sure to think so too. The Lab is open Monday to Friday 7:30am to 3:30pm, and Saturdays 9am – 2pm.
Words by Erin Gear
WHERE: 313 Payneham Rd, Royston Park