08 Jun 2017
Brunch: Making it perfectly ok to drink before noon
New Yorkers have been doing it for years. So what’s taken Sydney so long to discover we can enhance breakfast by throwing in some bubbles, add share plates and call it brunch?
Brunching New York City style
“So, where shall we brunch?” is the first thing my friend wanted to know after announcing my impending New York City visit. In NY brunch is an institution. A weekly ritual that should be experienced by anyone visiting. It’s not just bacon and eggs served all day. Brunch in NYC means you show up at 11 am and stay until 3 pm, whilst sipping Bloody Mary’s or bottomless prosecco over anything from Mexican huevos rancheros to burgers or oysters to glazed pulled-pork doughnuts with maple sriracha. Just make sure you book ahead, or chances of getting a seat are slim.
~ Unlike breakfast, brunch starts in the late morning. Hours are 11 am to 3 pm. Everyone gets a sleep in. #winning
~ Whilst you may find breakfast inspired items on the menu, many dishes feel closer to lunch plates in size and content.
~ It’s implied that you will have an alcoholic beverage. Bloody Marys and Champagne / Prosecco are staples on menus, generally accompanied by a selection of cocktails.
~ Brunch is a casual affair. Take your time, chat, drink & be merry. Bring friends and make a day of it. Brunch is the new dinner!
3 of Sydney’s best ‘proper’ brunches
1. Icebergs Dining Room and Bar
Available: Sunday 10.00-11.30
Cost: $55 for a 3 course set menu / $75 with bottomless Prosecco / $90 with Osetra Caviar tarts & champagne
Menu highlight: Watermelon & berries, geranium and frozen sheeps milk yogurt.
The thing about the Icebergs is VIEWS. Sure, they make 2 Chef-hatted, stunning modern Italian food in an elegant environment designed by star restaurateur Maurice Terzini. But you simply CANNOT beat the iconic views over one of the world’s best beaches of Bondi. Under the helm of Executive Chef Monty Koulodrovic, head chef Josh Carrick delivers a fine dining brunch experience.The best thing about it – it’s very affordable. At $55 for a 3 course set menu with a choice of a main, it is incredibly reasonably priced. A generous basket of bakery goods and bread arrives to start, followed by the most delicate and aesthetically enticing fruit bowl. A tough choice of three mains is on offer with Porcini frittata, smoked Petuna ocean trout, and a plate of aged prosciutto and hens egg. Of course, coffee or tea is served or opt for the more popular option of bottomless Prosecco to complement those ocean views.
The small downside is that Icebergs is open for lunch, which means you can’t stay forever. But they give you the option of moving to the terrace outside if you’re not ready to leave the spectacle behind.
2. Dead Ringer
Available: Saturday & Sunday 11.00-3.00
Cost: $40 set (min 3 people) and $30 for bottomless Prosecco (2 hours) / À la carte brunch menu
Menu highlight: Beef short rib with pickled kohlrabi and buttered spinach
Yes, this is one of Sydney’s best cocktail bars by night. A place run by a clever bunch of high achievers (Bulletin Place also features in their portfolio), it’s not just a bar, but a restaurant that serves a well thought out, stunning selection of share plates. And now they’ve perfected brunch as well. With a handful of wooden benches set on the terrace, this is a perfect sunny day brunch spot on leafy Bourke Street. Tables are shared with others making this a casual and social affair. There’s the option of the $40 set menu for easy decision making if you’re not yet capable or just don’t want to put in the effort. Otherwise scan the menu for a delightful offering of starters, bigger plates, sides and even a small dessert selection. Needless to say, there are cocktails on offer at this TimeOut Top 50 rated bar, as are bottomless Mimosas for $30 for your 2-hour sitting.
The menu is seasonal, so new items pop up regularly – but hopefully, a version of their King Prawns with bisque emulsion and kaffir coconut flakes stay on the menu. They are SENSATIONAL.
3. Kensington Street Social
Available: Saturday & Sunday 11.00-3.00
Cost: À la carte brunch menu
Menu highlight: Breakfast rice, slow cooked hen’s egg, shiitake mushroom, pork belly, bacon dashi
Part of The Old Clare redevelopment, the Kensington Street Social’s industrial chic design is a feast for the eyes upon entry. High ceilings, concrete floors, a mix of high and low tables, copper lamps and a central kitchen counter give this place a polished brasserie feel. If you like the theatre, go and snap up a seat by the bar and watch the chefs in action. Similar to their lunch menu, the items here range from smaller to larger plates which you can share or have to yourself. Split into 4 sections you can choose from a selection of starters, flatbreads, fish & meat plates, a breakfast section and snacks & veggies to round out a full meal, or just pick and graze for smaller appetites. One highlight is the slow cooked ‘Tongue n Cheek’ croquettes, with a crunchy crust and tangy piccalilli. Nothing however, goes past the best breakfast bowl in Sydney as far as I’m concerned: Aptly named ‘Breakfast rice’ this is a bowl full of umami goodness and comes with a slow cooked hen’s egg, shiitake mushrooms, pork belly and bacon dashi. Too good to share!
Sleep in, drink before noon, head back home for an afternoon rest (chores/whatever) and you can be back on your feet before your evening session kicks off. Brunch is life!
Had any great brunch experiences lately? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.