A relaxing Sunday was had by yours truly and her boyfriend-type man. I had tickets to see one of the preview sessions of Shane Warne: The Musical but we weren’t due to rock up at the Athenaeum until 5pm so we decided to run some errands prior to the show. First up, though, brunch time!
After doing the whole church thing and spending 45 mins or so helping out at the church bookstore, we drove to Box Hill to catch the train into town. Problems with Adam’s metcard, however, meant that we missed the train by 30 seconds and had to catch the next one which wasn’t due in another 25 minutes or so. Rather than spend those minutes eating 2 day old dim sims in the smelly and creepy underground platform, we decided to stop by Pancake Village to try those dough stick crepes that Jan had been telling us about on her xanga.
At $4.50 a pop, you get a pancake filled with egg (cooked into the batter as it heats up so that it forms a thin layer over the pancake) and a piece of yauhjagwai (油炸鬼) which sounds weird enough as it is. But then you also get a dollop of hoison sauce, a sprinkling of pork floss, a pinch of Szechuan preserved cabbage and some spring onions to make the thing look pretty. Weird yes, but strangely enough it works. The lady chopped the pancake into halves so that Adam and I ended up with a serving each (the photo above depicts the half that I got). Not bad at all.
Obviously the pancakes are there for a snack rather than a proper meal. By the time we ended up in the city, we were still quite hungry and so off to Fitzroy we went. Brunch was at The Commoneron Johnston Street (not far from the Brunswick St intersection).
Props for the use of Murray River Salt (pink) and the pretty little bowls they put the condiments in
A cafe that has only been open for just over a year, the shabby chic little joint complete with odd-ball artefacts and a warm vibe has so far proved to be a popular weekend brunch spot for the locals. Given that it was Sunday noon, the service wasn’t as fast as I would’ve liked but because the waiteresses were so nice, I decided to go easy on them, heh.
This was Adam’s dish. A free-range egg was baked in a stew of spiced lamb mince and chickpeas, with a dollop of yoghurt on top ($16). Both Adam and I are suckers for good Middle-Eastern inspired dishes and this one was executed well. In fact, I liked it so much that every last bit of stew was mopped up leaving the bowl completely clean.
I had a sandwich which they called “The Honky” ($15). Two thick slices of white bread (no idea what type of bread it was, but it was neither the predictable-but-always-good ciabatta/sourdough) were loaded with a fried egg, thin slices of panetta and spinach and flavoured with harissa and aioli. Yep, a sandwich which does NOT scream out “fobby” or indeed, Honky – it certainly is a far cry from those pissy spam and egg sandwiches that you get from those Hong Kong cafes. Whatever the story was behind the name of the sandwich, it didn’t matter because the sandwich was yummy and full of flavour. I especially liked that the yolk of the fried egg was still runny. Mmm, gotta love yellow goo.
We ordered a side of polenta chips ($10) that were gently fried to perfection, dusted with rosemary and accompanied by a small bowl of harissa sauce. Now, polenta chips can be easily made at home but I just had a craving for them earlier today so Adam had no say in whether or not to order them, hah. Anyway, the polenta chips were nothing extraordinary but nevertheless, great snacks to munch on while reading the sports section of The Age.
All in all, a fantastic brunch which left us full for the remainder of the day (at least until dinner time anyway and even, then I didn’t eat much). While I felt that the menu wouldn’t hurt from the addition of a few extra offerings, I was happy with the dishes we ordered and would definitely peg this as a regular brunch spot if I lived in the area. While I feel that The Commoner is a more a breakfast/brunch cafe rather than a place to have dinner, I wouldn’t mind checking out the dinner options later down the track. In short, a meal fit for an earl at proletariat prices.