Brunch out south of the Yarra
My partner and I went on a short overseas trip and we came back to a wet, frosty and gloomy Melbourne. Those who know me, are well aware that the only good thing I find about winter is eating a hearty warm brunch and clutching to my hot cup of coffee. So off I went on a frosty Sunday morning, together with three co-brunchers, on a quest to find a warm place to defrost.
It seems that my genius idea of eating breakfast out on a rainy day like today is not unique, as our first attempt at breakfast at our local café is unsuccessful, as the host announces there being a “minimum 25 minute wait”. It seems to be easier to get into exclusive nightclubs these days than your local café. Anyway, we fail to give up and head to Caulfield to try our luck at Mr Brightside.
Mr Brightside is a local hero in a pretty uneventful neighbourhood. It is located on a corner across from a park with floor to ceiling windows letting in plenty of sunshine on days where the mercury is more generous.
Unlike our attempt at the first café, we are greeted here with a warm smile. Yes, there is a wait here as well, but at least here we get the luxury to wait inside. The tables include a combination of a two seater, four seater and communal tables with the familiar combination of hanging lights and green pot plants. The patrons here are all locals, from newborns to proud great-grandparents. As soon as we walk in we see familiar faces. If you ever lived or attended school in this area, this is the kind of place that you will bump into an old classmate, an ex-boyfriend or at least a friend of a friend of a friend.
After a ten minute wait we are seated and our orders are taken promptly by a very attentive staff member. There is no doubt there is a strong Jewish/Israeli influence on the menu with items like Challah French Toast with maple syrup and mascarpone or the Shakshuka (spicy tomato sauce, poached eggs, leafy greens and crumbed fetta), giving the menu a much welcome local twist.
After being away from Melbourne for two weeks, I am craving the Smashed Avocado and Fetta with cherry tomatoes, wholeweat toast, shallot dressing and a poached egg (I consider this Melbourne’s signature dish!). The avocado and fetta ratio is perfect, and there seems to be a whole avocado used to prepare the dish. As a tomato connoisseur I am exceptionally impressed with the three kinds of cherry tomatoes used for this dish presented in a shot glass. I am in foodie heaven.
Orders of my co-brunchers include the Potato Hash Browns with beef brisket, poached eggs and grain mustard sauce, the Omelette Special with chorizo, roasted peppers, olives red onion and spinach and the Eggs Florentine with ham a side of a corn croquette.
The hash browns and beef brisket are close to perfection and the mustard sauce is not too sweet or sour. The Eggs Florentine is also a crowd pleaser, with generous portion of spinach and good consistency of the hollandaise sauce. The fourth co-bruncher is slightly disappointed at the omelette as it arrives without toast and may leave some diners craving for a more filling dish.
All in all, this is a solid choice for brunch, with warm staff, quality food and an innovative twist on familiar dishes. If you are visiting with the kids, cross the road to the local park for a perfect day out with the family.
Food: 9 out of 10
Staff: 9 out of 10
Atmosphere: 8 out of 10
Best for: spying on your ex, family get together, brunch double date, birthday breakfast.
Getting here: 189A Booran Road Caulfield South. A fifteen minutes’ stroll from Glenhuntly station, with ample off street parking.