“What’s the fuss, tell me what’s a happening, what’s the fuss?” From Jesus Christ Superstar to Born in Brunswick was, for me, a short trip. But that’s how my monkey brain works!
Aaaah! Master Chef and its cult-like following spread the love far and wide.
You know what I love? A restaurateur who listens. No attitude. (See my rant a few months back!) Someone who understands that hospitality should be just that – HOSPITABLE!
What do you love, dear reader? Perfection? Good value? Feeling grand or just happy? How many places tick your boxes? Born in Brunswick, new kid on the block is not perfect, but they ticked enough of my boxes for me to leave happy.
Con Vailas, a former Master Chef contestant is flying high on the wings of what must have been a tough few months in the Master Chef factory. In spite of elimination, he is back in Hobart, and in his own place. His partner is long time buddy Ben Korkmaz, otherwise known as our Bikram Yoga guru – this must be a big change for him!
In North Hobart, the buzz had already been there, as it seemed to take months and months to turn what had been a sort of low-end boutique into a very hip café.
Blond wood, skylights, wall gardens, open kitchen, young, hipster staff. It’s very now. Noisy, with hard surfaces, this is not the place for elegant, or even schmoozy dining. And they only do brunch. Interesting. No bookings. So our organiser had arrived a bit early, snaffled a large table and sat. Well done!
Chef Josh Retzen is young, and in the very open kitchen, he coolly places one very tattooed arm after another over the dishes he plates. Coming from Launceston’s Stillwater, he has good pedigree. We’re handed menus, and dive into choosing from a good selection of interesting dishes.
The flavours range from savoury to sweet, and most are priced in the $16 – $25 bracket. Our table samples the Brisket, which is like a brick of beefy, macaroni goodness, with cornichons, in a crisp crumb crust. The Kimchi on the top was a lovely counterpoint to the beef’s richness. The beef needs salt, but apart from that, the whole dish blends and works.
The pork slab was popular, and served with an onion and maple jam, fermented tomato and egg, mushrooms and sourdough, could have fed a brickie with a hangover!
In fact all serves were generous, and our host Judi’s pancake, a vegan option, was inspired. The coconut and cardamom ice cream, the lemon curd, and the crispy edge of the pancake made a mouthful that sang!
Our vegan friends also chose the poached eggs with a peach, tomato and pepperberry relish, on crisp sourdough. Good enough, but compared to the other dishes, lacking a tiny bit in presentation.
Con was on the floor, checking, checking, checking. “How was everything?” Well, we all loved the food, but the coffee was a bit of a let down. Not really hot enough for my friends, and a little long in getting to the table.
And yes, the brisket needed seasoning. Con nodded and promised to take our feedback on board. How refreshing!
So overall, a delightful and quality addition to the Hobart brunch scene. Josh has a multitude of complex dishes to prepare, and does it well, and in good time. No small feat!
But I can feel one of my rants coming up soon, and included in it, is that chefs these days don’t season their dishes, and without salt and pepper on the tables (I take it that the dishes are considered stand alone), we are forced to eat sometimes bland food that needs… something. And so often, that something is as easy and small as a good sea salt.
How do you feel about that? Are you a salt or no salt person? Have you been to Born in Brunswick yet? If not, do. I highly recommend it.
Born In Brunswick | 410 Elizabeth St, North Hobart 7000 | Website