Brighton Le Sands has this peaceful, soothing atmosphere about it that just draws people in. On one side of the area is the famous Brighton beach that offers moments of tranquillity for any swimmers, or walkers along the beach. Just as serene, opposite of Brighton beach are several restaurants and cafes lined up along the streets, with a variety of cuisines offered, ranging from Thai food to cafes.
Italian and Mediterranean cuisine
Cafe Neptune is one such café that caught my eye. Walking in, there was a relaxing ambience where small groups of people were caught up in intimate conversations. Groups of friends and families just enjoyed their company together while ordering some delicious looking meals. Just looking at the food increased my appetite, and I was eager to try some for myself. Surveying the Italian and Mediterranean menu ourselves; my boyfriend and I opted on sharing an entrée and having one main meal each.
The hot pita bread was the highlight of the entree
The Homemade Dips ($13.90) consisted of grilled pita bread alongside three different dips: olive tapenade, tzatziki, hummus, and taramosalata. There was ample bread served, of which was so fresh and hot to touch. My boyfriend and I couldn’t get enough. The serving sizes of the dips were also very generous. The olive tapenade had a very strong olive taste and smell, which can be quite overpowering if you prefer the more subtle taste. The hummus was missing the garlic, lemon flavour that I was looking forward to, but still had a nice, smooth texture. The taramosalata, a dip that we hadn’t heard of before ended up being my boyfriend’s favourite. It was creamy and had a fishy taste to it that wasn’t too overwhelming. My favourite was the tzatziki. While my boyfriend would have preferred it to be thicker, I was happy with the texture that had this vibrant, zesty flavour.
Bland and oily
My choice of the Italian pasta ($23.90) came with mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, sage, garlic and virgin olive oil. I also chose fettuccine pasta over penne. My first thought was that it was very bland. Despite flooding my pasta with black pepper and a bit of salt, I still struggled to find any flavour in the meal. The pasta itself was well cooked as well as the mushrooms and spinach, which were my favourite components of the dish. There was an abundant amount of olive oil that drowned the dish, and was just too oily for me to eat. There was much of my pasta that I left uneaten.
My boyfriend was once again a satisfied customer
Despite my boyfriend ordering the Mixed Souvlaki ($25.90) with two chicken skewers and one lamb, he was given two lamb skewers and one chicken. However, this mistake was quickly rectified, and he quickly dug in. The meal also consisted of a Greek salad, chips, tzatziki and hot pita bread. He was impressed with the lamb skewer as it was well marinated and flavoursome. The chicken was also well cooked and fresh. The Greek salad offered a contrast to the meat, and was refreshing and tasty. I found myself stealing some of his chips which were hot and addictive. He made a comment saying that Café Neptune had never failed to satisfy him.
Everything a chocolate thickshake should be
A must mention was the chocolate thickshake ($5.50) that I ordered to quench my cravings. It was thick, not too chocolately and absolutely delicious; my favourite part of my whole experience at the café.
The service was friendly and efficient. Despite the slightly cold reception by one waitress at the start, the other waiters that served us were lively and welcoming that made up for it. However, I don’t think that my overall experience was worth the $69.20 that our total added up to.
Specials of the day
As Brighton is one of my favourite places to visit, I am sure I will visit Café Neptune again, but first I think I’ll experience the many other restaurants and cafes that line the streets before I do.
Where: 87 The Grande Parade, Brighton Le Sands NSW.
Why: Relaxing atmosphere and quick service
Cost: Our total meal equalled to $69.20
When: Mon to Sun - 8:30am - 11:30pm