I like how his name is in a bigger font than "Cafe". No ego there, right?
For me, brunch is all about eggs...and yes, there is egg as part of this cocktail. In fact, I'll be having eggs three ways for this brunch. To start, we have the Over-Easy, a gin-based cocktail with cointreau and fresh lemon juice, a touch of honey syrup and foamy, frothy egg whites.. I prefer this tart, so I asked them to go easy on the honey, but I did like the fact that it wasn't simple syrup.
Okay, onto actual sustenance...here we have the infamous Crispy Duck Egg. If you've had Chinese preserved duck egg before, trust me, it's nothing like that. They take a duck egg, and soft-cook it in hot water so that the whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny. Then they gently peel the shell off, batter it and deep fry the whole thing. The egg is dusted with some salt and pepper and then placed atop a few slices of Jambon de Paris (lower in nitrates than regular prosciutto according to our waiter), a few spears of asparagus, and a grainy mustard dressing that I could drink.
The mustard complemented the ham very well, and clung delicately to the asparagus. Once you spread the duck egg yolk everywhere, the creamy yolk just binds everything together. I think the presentation might have been cuter if the top of the egg (which they clearly lopped off) was served as part of the dish as well.
And now, to complete the egg trifecta, this is the Farm Egg Carbonara. Housemade fettucini pasta, in a creamy truffle and parmesan sauce with housemade lardon and a huge slab of house smoked pepper bacon. The noodles were perfectly al dente, and instead of being tossed in the sauce, they were placed delicately atop the sauce.
Once you burst open the poached egg, the sauce gets another layer of silkiness that you just can't beat. Each noodle is coated in the runny yolk and each mouthful has a rich feel to it unlike anything else. The salty lardon serves to give you another flavour punch, adding just enough saltiness to every bite. The smokiness of the bacon is almost too much.
This was a great dish, and at $38 for the two dishes, I felt that the pricing was fair. It reminded me of the Linguine Carbonara from Cotto Enoteca, but this was definitely richer. I couldn't finish this and packed most of the bacon and half the pasta for a late night snack. And yes, it was still good the next day. Another two-course option for brunch starts with their Charcuterie & Cheese Board. There is a wide variety of cured meats, all pork based. The five pork selections are a Pork Sausage (a bit too fatty for me - purely personal preference), Pork Pate, Pork Hock Terrine, a few slices of Jambon de Paris and a bowl of Pork Rillette. The rillette was my favourite and I could have made myself a sandwich out of it.
The cheese on the plate included a Leicester Cheese and a very interesting Ash Covered Goat Cheese. It's off in the upper right corner and I regret not taking a closeup of it. When you cut into it, you can see two distinct textures of the cheese, the outside being a bit firmer and the inside centre is almost brie-like. Served with fresh warm bread, this was an amazing first course. I also loved the pickled mini root veggies strewn throughout the board, the acid was a nice contrast to the heavier flavours of the meats and cheeses.
Another second course offering on the brunch menu is the Tunisienne Merguez Sausage. Served in a little skillet, this reminded me of a hash, but instead of potatoes as the starch, the dish is lighted up by the used of chickpeas. There is a generous helping of slow-cooked spinach as well as some peppers, but the star(s) of the show is clearly the giant link of Merguez Sausage and the two perfectly poached eggs. The eggs were a bit more done than in the carbonara so the yolk didn't spread all over the sausage, rather it held it's own. The sausage had a bit of heat to it, and the skin was nice and crispy, doing a great job of keeping all the fatty juiciness inside. This dish was just a touch too salty, and although it come with any bread, the warm slices from the charcuterie stepped in nicely to mediate some of that.
- Service is excellent, not overly assuming, but there when you need them
- Great art (a cool one of Michael Jackson) adorns the walls, homage to Studio Cafe, perhaps?
- Mildly pricey but worth the splurge, you do get a lot of food