Getting together with friends for a nice meal out on the town isn’t something that my husband and I get the chance to do very often. Between our busy schedules and having a 5-year old, dining at home is usually the easiest way for the three of us to enjoy our meals. But this past Sunday, the three of us took the opportunity to get out, so we headed north, to South Austin, and enjoyed an awesome brunch, together with another couple at Mediterranean-inspired Café Malta.
I love Café Malta. The first time we went out to this exquisite little place tucked in a strip mall anchored by none other than Taco Bell, I was blown away by the relaxed atmosphere, incredible food and excellent service. Man. It was so good. Because of this first visit, I grew extremely excited about our Sunday brunch, and introducing this place to our friends who had never heard of it.
One of the things I love about Café Malta is their Mediterranean inspired menu with flavors from Italy, Spain, Morocco and Greece. The best part about the menu, though, is that they don’t just copy the flavors from these regions. They use ingredients native to our own backyards, like Fredericksburg peaches and good ole brisket! That’s right, they only use local ingredients and put their spin on their delicious dishes, like paella, kebabs and ratatouille.
When we arrived for our 1:30 p.m. brunch reservation on Sunday, the five of us were promptly seated, and given menus to peruse. The little one received a kid’s menu and a cup of crayons. Another awesome thing about Café Malta is that all of the tables are covered in butcher paper, perfect for coloring and drawing.
After we placed our orders for brunchy-type drinks like mimosas and Bloody Mary’s, and the little guy’s Sprite, we were left to enjoy conversation and relax while the sun spilled through the windows, giving the place a warm glow. While we were all chatting, I was able to take it all in, and saw a baby shower to our left, a big family gathering in the front corner, and everything in between. The little one showed off his crayon stars, and laughed as he drew suns and squiggles. I couldn’t have imagined a better setting.
After we finally decided to take a break from catching up, we got down to business and dove into the menus. We decided to start with the PEI Mussels, steamed in Texas Chardonnay, tomato, garlic and harissa with fresh house made baguette.
For the main course, our friends chose the Fettuccine Porcini, thin ribbons of our house pasta, tossed in a pesto of porcine mushrooms, garlic, thyme and Parmesan, and the Gnocchi Gorgonzola, handmade potato dumplings in a creamy sauce of Gorgonzola, garlic and thyme.
My husband went with the Chicken Tagine Pot Pie, chicken braised with butternut squash, carrots, currants, almonds, figs & olives under an herbed pastry crust, while I decided on the Maltagliati, fresh house pasta “badly cut” and tossed in a beef and pork ragu with parmesan reggiano. For the kiddo, he selected the salami and provolone Panini sandwich with a side of sautéed mixed veggies.
The mussels came out first, and came out fairly quickly. They were simply gorgeous. I had these the last time we visited Café Malta, and was SUPER excited to dive into them again. The little one liked them too, which amazed everyone. He’s a very adventuresome eater. Super cool.
Once the five of us devoured those sweet and briny crustaceans, our main dishes were delivered. Everyone ohh-ed and ahh-ed, and dug right in. The kiddo loved his Panini, exclaiming how much he enjoyed salami. He’s silly.
Our friends kept raving over their pasta dishes, and mine was absolutely incredible.
I loved the texture of the perfectly cooked, “badly cut” pasta, and the sauce was earthy, savory and a little sweet. It was amazing. My husband’s potpie was odd. He really liked it, but it… was… odd. It was sweet and tart, and reminded me a lot of Indian flavors.
We all cleaned our plates, and kept remarking how much we loved this place, and how good everything was. Our friends, who only live about 3 miles away from Café Malta, were in awe that they’d never seen this place before, and vowed that they’d be back.
But we couldn’t leave before having dessert! The kiddo selected the cappuccino bread pudding. Our friends chose the flourless chocolate cake and the butternut squash cheesecake. As for me? The chili chocolate crème brule. My husband was super stuffed from his meal, and decided to order a fork and taste everyone’s sweet treats.
SO GOOD. My favorite from the bunch was the butternut squash cheesecake. It was velvety, and full of earthy-sweet flavor. I had never heard of cheesecake like this, and my word, it was excellent. My crème brule was awesome, and had a little kick at the end. The flourless chocolate cake was rich and moist, and packed with everything that makes chocolate-lovers happy. The bread pudding was also wonderful.
Brunch at Café Malta is certainly a must for anyone who can get there. The food is exceptional, the service is great, and you can’t beat the quality.
Thank you Café Malta for being a great place for our family to get together in a comfortable, relaxed and exquisite environment that everyone enjoys.Pertinent Information: 3421 W. William Cannon Drive, 78745
(512) 853-9584, reservations are accepted Cafe Malta is open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Weekdays: lunch from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Weekends: brunch from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Dinner every night from 4 – 10 p.m.
Happy Hour is weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m. Free WiFi
Accepts credit cards
Good for groups
Good for kids
Casual Attire Cafe Malta has a beautiful full bar, and features a gluten-free lunch and dinner menu upon request. Their children’s menu has tasty dishes tailored for little palates.
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