April 30, 2009 by MrBlueSkies
I realize that my last post was partially about a brunch in Collingswood, but I had a fabulous brunch at a different restaurant in Collingswood and I needed to blog about that as well. The Painted Cottage Cafe is located in the heart of Collingswood on Haddon Avenue sharing the old Woolworth’s building with it’s sister stores, The Painted Cottage and the Painted Cottage Studio. I love that they have kept the original Woolworth’s facade dating back to the early ’60’s. It adds to the charm of the place.
They have been advertising an all-you-can-eat brunch on Sundays for only $14.95 per person. Since I love brunch and I love buffets, this sounded right up my alley… Instead of parking on Haddon Avenue, I parked in the back and walked up to the back entrance. A covered porch sits outside the back which provides ample outdoor dining in good weather. I would have requested a seat on the porch but it appeared to be occupied by a party group.
I strolled over to the buffet station and quickly figured out where it started. I was first greeted by a really cool, shabby-chic tea cart piled high with an eclectic selection of mis-matched china plates. I grabbed a pretty piece of Noritake and moved on down the line. The buffet features eggs benedict, cottage potatoes, pancakes, bacon, sausage, biscuits, and sausage gravy. I was looking forward to the biscuits and gravy and was taken back, at first, by the yellow-ish tint and creamy texture of the sausage gravy. I decided to try it anyway.
A cook stands behind the line and performs several tasks: Carve a piece of prime rib, make scrambled eggs or omelets, or make you a belgium waffle. He gave me a nice slab of prime rib and even offered to saute it for a minute if it was too rare for me. I chuckled. (There is no such thing as too rare.) He quickly scrambled me some eggs and I returned to my seat.
Everything on the plate was fantastic. The Prime Rib was cooked perfectly and not overly fatty. My eggs were scrambled just right without being runny or overcooked. But the best thing was the Biscuits and Gravy. I’m used to the white, chunky gravy that most restaurants down South sell. This gravy was silky smooth with a slight buttery taste that transformed this traditional mainstream Southern dish from everyday to gourmet. Yum.
I returned again to the buffet line to check out the other side which included mashed potatoes, a hot vegetable, a pasta salad, fruit, yogurt, granola, bagels, and pastries. I picked up a totally cool Eames era (1950’s/60’s) pink plate and made my selections. See how pretty the food looks on the pink plate. (I am so gay but plating does make a difference, even at a buffet.)
The waiter returned after I had finished to see if I needed anything else. I said no and he dropped of the check with no explanation. I had to stop him to find out if I paid him or at the hostess stand. In addition, he never cleared away my old plate when I finished with it, which is a big pet peeve of mine at buffets. The hostess, after passing my table several times, finally decided to clear it away for me.
Overall, I have to give The Painted Cottage Cafe a high rating for a wonderful atmosphere and excellent food, far above what one would normally expect from a buffet. As far as the ala carte meals are concerned, the ones I saw delivered to the tables around me looked awesome and whetted my desire to return and sample some of them. So, if you want shabby-chic cafe experience with an eclectic menu of tasty food, The Painted Cottage Cafe is the place to go, just plan to take your time.
The Painted Cottage Cafe is located at 712 Haddon Avenue in Collingswood. They are open 7 days a week, 7 am – 4 pm. Visit them at www.paintedcottage.biz or call them at 856-854-8060.