Review: Bluestone Lane makes a splash in Rice Village
Australian-inspired, New York-based Bluestone Lane just opened its second Texas cafė in Rice Village, so naturally the Thresher put on our nicest Sunday brunch attire (featuring Riya’s best boxer shorts), grabbed our camera and headed over to check it out. With its seafoam-blue tiles and beach-themed decor, including numerous fake ferns, Bluestone’s interior is reminiscent of a middle-aged woman’s bathroom. Admittedly, the decor is more appropriate when considering that the cafė caters to working professionals with readily disposable incomes, hence the $9.50 charge for a berry smoothie. Although the menu prices were exorbitant, the food and coffee were incredible.
Bluestone’s demand was clear from the moment we walked in and were promptly placed on the waiting list. The reservation system was their first shortcoming — instead of a typical buzzer or phone number system, one of the staff members wrote our name down on a piece of paper and called out our names as tables became available. Although inefficient, Bluestone deserves the benefit of doubt because of its relatively new status, though hopefully they flesh out a better reservation system in the future.
As self-professed breakfast enthusiasts, we were incredibly eager to try the number of brunch items offered from the all-day “brekkie” menu. Although boasting slightly less variety than other popular brunch places like Snooze, we were excited to try their lemon ricotta pancakes, the folded chimichurri eggs and bacon on toast and the avocado smash, which we opted for on gluten-free bread.
The avocado smash was deceptive at first glance, almost like an Aussie-inspired cafė with no actual locations in Australia. For $13.50, the dish appeared to be a very standard avocado toast garnished with a generous helping of feta cheese and micro greens. To our pleasant surprise, it was one of the best avocado toasts available in Houston. Our favorite addition would have to be the dried chili flakes and chili oil that line the outer rim of the plate alongside a creamy avocado sauce. Adding the chilis to the toast gives it an energizing flavor kick, making this a light and refreshing breakfast option.
The main star of the chimichurri dish is definitely the bacon, which is just about perfect. It’s not fried to a crisp, but also not soggy or limp, nor overly salty. The scrambled eggs on the toast have a nice fluffy texture, but they definitely feel like they are the side chick to the bacon, which is fine. The chimichurri lined along the plate tasted incredibly fresh, and its slightly bitter and earthy taste paired well with the savoriness of the eggs and bacon.
When it comes to gluten-free alternatives, the hope is often merely for an option as tasty as its gluten counterpart, but the banana bread challenged these low expectations. This is a great banana bread, and although fairly dense, it won’t leave you feeling too full. The texture is consistently soft and velvety, with chunks of baked banana and nuts interspersed throughout. The only thing lacking was the fresh berries that accompanied the bread.
As caffeine enthusiasts, we also wanted to try Bluestone Lane’s coffee. Their Aussie iced latte comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This adds creaminess and substitutes for regular ice cubes without diluting the drink (is ice cream to an iced latte as whiskey stones are to whiskey)? Although not a novel idea — try Teahouse’s Vietnamese iced coffee with ice cream just a short walk away — this XL affogato hits the spot.
We also tried their cappuccino and iced oat flat white, the latter of which is pronounced the best in the world on their website. It just might earn the title. Topped with an oat milk foam, the nuttiness and dark chocolate flavors of the coffee pair well with minimal bitterness. The cappuccino, on the other hand, was slightly under-frothed and clashed a little with the flavor profile of the coffee, making it difficult to taste. Its redeeming factor was the tulip-shaped art in the foam, which is always a pretty touch.
Overall, Bluestone Lane tastes light, fresh and expensive. They put their money where their mouth is, though. For scraps of avocado toast, we would live inside their coastal oasis in the center of Rice Village’s sweltering strip mall. Maybe when we’re older with yoga classes and Schnauzers of our own, we’ll be able to enjoy the menu without breaking our budgets, but for now, we’ll stay in our lane.
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