Regular contributor, Vasily Skalova shares his thoughts on Melbourne’s vibrant brunch scene
Are soft poached eggs, luke-warm lattes and long queues worth the wait?
Have you ever wondered why it’s called brunch?
With Melbourne retaining it’s title as the “World’s Most Livable City”, it’s only fitting that it offers an abundance of small cafe’s and restaurants that specialize in serving this weekend indulgence.
However, despite the somewhat obvious name the irony is that in the “World’s Most Livable City”, we arrive with the intention of breakfast but by the time that you’re seated, it’s lunch. Hence the name.
“Brunch Places” have been sweeping through Melbourne the same way a fad catches on with teenagers. At first it’s one or two people expressing themselves, but give it a few of weeks and every couple of blocks you’ll begin to see the trend. Now this isn’t particularly a bad thing, simple economics states that with more competitors there will be more variety and more competition. And we all know with competition, it will eventually result in an equilibrium between affordability and quality.
Unfortunately the “World’s Most Livable City” doesn’t obey the laws of economics or even that of common sense.
It was only the other day that I ventured to try a “Brunch Specialist” in Melbourne only to be greeted by a line not too different to that of those seen on the eve of Apple’s new phone releases. A solid 45 minute wait. Now I’ll admit that meal itself wasn’t bad ,well cooked but a little disappointing. And this disappointment is a feeling that is all too common amongst these cafe’s, in my younger years I called this disappointment….hunger.
$23 got me a single poached egg on a single piece of toast with an avocado mash and a flat white. I’m going to be honest here, it was just egg on toast and a coffee. Now, I know what you’re going to say; “You’re paying for the experience”. This is true, the decor was nice, but the place was so bustling that it was difficult to have a conversation with my friend that sat right beside me.
Just like every teenager going through their ‘difficult years’, we’ve been so caught up in the hype of ‘brunch’ rather than enjoying the food and the experience. So to keep us all on track here are some basic questions you should ask yourself before raving to your best friend about your most recent outing.
1. Was I served 2 pieces of toast or 1? 2 eggs or a single egg?
2. Innovation with food or your standard breakfast that could practically be made at home? Do they have a staple dish?
3. Atmosphere: Could you enjoy your conversation without being drowned by the noise of the restaurant? Were you able relax or were you caught up in the frantic service?
4. Coffee: If priced more than your standard daily, was it worth it?
5. Are you full? This is a pivotal question.
6. Was it an experience? Or simply one to cross off the list?
Ask any brunch veteran out there and the secret to the best brunches in the world is a good conversation and better company. So an alternative to venturing into the city, only to wait half an hour in hope that the cafe you have chosen is a generous one.
Perhaps the next time you’ve set a date, make it a cooking date, try something innovative, learn something new, have some fun in your own kitchen then follow it up with a good conversation and a walk to your local park.