After a steamy walk in the Wissahickon with an old friend, lunch called my name. The friend, a longtime denizen of Chestnut Hill, suggested Cake, and I’m glad she did.
Just steps off Germantown Avenue, entering Cake feels like walking into a bright, verdant greenhouse; the walls are all glass and the high-barrel ceiling creates an atmosphere of airy spaciousness. We were warmly greeted at the bakery counter and seated by a friendly hostess.
The lunch menu covers offers a good selection of soups, salads and light fare, as well as an assortment of sandwiches and some heartier main courses.
As the day was toasty, we gravitated toward salads; I had the lemon-grilled chicken cobb, hold the bacon and cheese. The salad was artfully presented with the ingredients in “stripes” and the cubed chicken, served hot, bracketed the edge of the plate. The avocados were perfectly ripe, the tomatoes nicely chopped, the haricot vert lightly steamed and chilled, and the lettuce crisp. Overall, it was an excellent version of a café classic.
My friend opted for the beets and citrus salad, which was beautifully and colorfully plated in a low cylinder. The beets, shaved fennel, orange and grapefruit were stacked with schmears of goat cheese, surrounded by baby arugula, and drizzled with balsamic reduction. She loved it.
The lunch menu offers a number of standards with a fresh and unique twist; for example, Cake’s “ultimate grilled cheese” comes on country white bread with cheddar, fontina, pistachio-basil pesto and plum tomatoes. The tuna salad sandwiches is made with lemon aioli and the Greek salad, in addition to the traditional ingredients of romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, feta and olives, contains wheat berries, barley and panini croutons.
The pastry selection — an assortment of gorgeously tempting cakes, cupcakes and tarts — was impressive.
My friend purchased a raspberry rosemary scone to take home for her breakfast the following day…”if it lasts that long,” she hedged. Muffins, scones, Danishes and croissants are baked daily, and there is a rotating list of seasonal pastries.
Although we did not sample breakfast, the theme of “unique twists on classics” holds true for the morning meal. Brioche French toast is served with strawberries, honey-peach butter and maple syrup. Sunny side up eggs come atop sautéed spinach with toasted brioche and Swiss cheese. There is also a quiche of the day, a garden frittata and a standard egg plate.
While not kosher, the restaurant has plenty of options for kosher-style diners and is more than willing to omit ingredients on request. Cake is a BYO and, in addition to its full-service breakfast, lunch and pastry menus, offers private events such as cocktail and dinner parties for up to 70 guests.
If you go:
8501 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia, Pa. 19118
Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (pastries and coffee can be bought to go starting at 8 a.m.)
Sunday 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.