Busting brunch across the suburbs – a visit to a new eatery in Shenton Park

by Buster the Bruncher

Bright yellow brollies drew us to Shenton Park’s new eatery, Wards Central Dining, and it was a fortuitous encounter.

With all the area’s high-rise development activity, a slow start to Wards could be expected but word got out quickly. By 10.30am it was full-house for breakfast and brunch.

Victoria House is exquisite, a remarkable transformation from the site that, from 1963, housed Shenton Park Rehabilitation Hospital (see footnote). The same operators are behind Swanbourne’s popular North Street Store. 

Amidst a $65 million mixed-use development and down the road from Shenton College, Wards has a bright outlook with incoming hordes. The food, ambiance and service, we can report, match the team’s high-hopes.

The menu declares: “Eggs for breakfast. The finest googs from Runnymede Farm.” 

Brunch buddy Professor Ken selects the menu’s first simple offering, scrambled eggs on brown toast ($13.50) with sides of avocado ($4) and wilted greens ($4). 

The eggs had a unique, slight-sweet taste and the avocado was delightfully smooth. But the wilted greens, though fresh, were chewy, perhaps slightly undercooked. Undeterred, the professor said he’d have the same dish any day.

He admired the concise menu with just half-a-dozen breaky offerings as well as waffles ($21) and Avo toast Mexicana ($21).

The three-cheese omelette appealed ($23), as did the Arabic baked egg classic, shakshuka, (eggs poached in tomato and red pepper sauce) but I opted for bacon and scrambled egg baguette ($16.50).

The baguette was bonzer bewdy and enough for two with two big servings on the plate. Shared, it would be real value. A simple dish, presented and served professionally – hot and tasty.

Let’s not forget that essential, mandatory beverage dominating every culinary occasion – and in between – coffee. To a couple of coffee critics, it was classy-classic caffeine.

Wards has tastefully assembled teak Indonesian furnishings, mixed era wall-hangings and knick-knacks from antique shops to create a mix that resembles 1950s style with a touch of art deco.

Wards is light and bright and buzzing.

The music was a tad loud and led to raised conversation levels. Wards, we should add, is far from unique in this. Professor Ken said window and floor coverings – even mats – would help reduce the eatery’s slightly-high noise levels.

The site’s former occupant, the rehabilitation hospital, is remembered for its 1960s breakthrough in treatments including the now common medical practice of including fresh air and sunlight in rehab.

Sir George Montario Bedbrook (1921–1991), who led the creation of the Australian Paralympic movement and the Commonwealth Paraplegic Games, shaped the hospital’s spinal unit.

5 Spoons

Wards Central Dining, Victoria House, 4 Thorburn Way, Shenton Park

Open daily 7am–3pm

Phone: 9213 4343