After some early wobbles, SoHo Lane has found a new chef, who’s impressing locals with forward-thinking Australian-American café fare.

After an initial false start, SoHo Lane is back on track with Wade Drummond at the helm. You may know him from Leake St Cafeteria in Fremantle, as purveyor of Mr Drummond’s Foods at Subi Farmers Market, and, yes, MasterChef way back in 2012.

Early visits revealed a venue with a promising locale and a design aesthetic that seemed to bring a crowd drawn as much to post photos as to eat. But after key departures the kitchen was effectively rudderless. Drummond has steadied the ship at the 60-seater, and the breakfast- and brunch-leaning menu holds a couple of surprises beyond the axis of Micrology iced coffee, milkshakes, kombucha and avocado on toast. Think diner-style pancakes served with macerated fruit and proper Canadian maple syrup and given a local twist with wattleseed-honeycomb butter and toasted macadamia nuts. (Add a side of bacon to tip the scale back to North America.)

But it’s the ox tongue – brined for a week and slow-cooked overnight – that brings it home. Sliced and grilled to order, it’s pillowy, rich and shows a level of attention that makes the humble pastrami bagel a real standout.

For more North American inspiration, the ox-tongue pastrami served on a Holy Bagel Co bagel is one of the best iterations in Perth. This lofty status is thanks firstly to house-pickled red cabbage, sauerkraut, dill pickles and a traditional Russian dressing starring smoked paprika, garlic and celery. But it’s the ox tongue – brined for a week and slow-cooked overnight – that brings it home. Sliced and grilled to order, it’s pillowy, rich and shows a level of attention that turns a humble dish into a real standout. Throw in shoestring fries and SoHo hot sauce (with a hefty kick from a union of blistered chillies, garlic, lemon and cider vinegar sweetened with maple syrup) and it’s a winning combination.

Assuming Drummond is in for the long haul, SoHo Lane is worth your attention, and with an application for a liquor license well in the works, an impending night-time concept should only strengthen the offer.