Outside the cereal box


Cafes and restaurants across Brisbane are thinking outside the cereal box when it comes to breakfast with dishes such as sticky pork, pizza and meatballs gracing menus across town.

Instead of the traditional bacon and eggs, muesli or even avocado on toast, morning menus are beginning to resemble lunch or dinner line-ups with a range of dishes, including dessert-style items, on offer to cater to every taste.

Banana french toast with candied bacon ice cream from Artie & Mai in Albion

"Food – breakfast or dinner – isn’t as serious as it used to be," says Ash Caeiro who owns West End’s Suburban cafe where nachos, made with potato scoops instead of corn chips, are a bestseller. "Especially when it comes to breakfast, people are looking for a casual and relaxed vibe with great food offerings and dishes that are a little different and they might not prepare themselves."

Caeiro’s breakfast nachos, $17, are joined on the Suburban breakfast menu by a dish featuring fried chicken and waffles, traditionally eaten for brekkie in America’s deep south.

As chefs and restaurateurs experiment with their breakfast menus, it seems Queensland diners are happy to come along for the ride.

"Our customers have been really receptive to the more non-traditional breakfast items on our menu," Caeiro said.

Breakfast Nachos at Suburban, West End. Pic: Ameriaus
Food reviewer and MasterChef judge Matt Preston has been quite vocal about the changing face of breakfast, particularly the influence of Asian cuisines. "I think as Brisbane’s food scene continues to evolve, diners are more willing to try something new,” he says. "From those early days of eggs – scrambled, poached, fried or turned into pancakes – breakfast has become quite the thing with wave after wave of new styles gripping the best cafes across the land.

"It seems like Australia’s coolest cafes have been hitting the backpacker trail for inspiration, whether it’s Vietnamese “pho”, with the breakfast soup ladened with rice noodle and chook, or tamarind prawns on a Vietnamese scrambled eggs."

If you’re not up to prawns for brekkie though, some cafes are meeting diners half way with inspired dishes that serve traditional breakfast ingredients and flavours with a twist.

Popular Albion cafe Artie and Mai’s banana french toast comes with candied bacon ice cream, while Wilde Kitchen at Teneriffe serves sticky pork with spiced pumpkin and a fried duck egg. Some of the more unusual breakfast offerings around Brisbane include a four-course breakfast degustation for $40 at 85 Miskin St, Toowong.

Try the Japanese cheese on toast with miso for $8.50 at Neighbourhood Coffee Roasters, Bardon, or a $17 egg and pancetta pizza at Benzina, Kenmore; a $15.90 breakfast salad at Locavore, Woolloongabba, which consists of roast sweet potato, sprouted grains, kale, poached eggs, almonds and spiced yoghurt.

Cafe O-Mai, Annerley’s pork meatballs for $14 is a traditional Vietnamese dish. The meatballs are served in a rich tomato sauce with quail eggs and a warm baguette. Place of Stones, Taringa’s brekkie roast for $18 is also perfect for dinner. This dish features roast lamb shoulder served on bubble and squeak with onion gravy.

First published in The Courier Mail, 26 February 2016

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