While this Department specializing in Brunch, also known as the Department of Caffeine, takes reservation, I was not as fortunate. I attempted the calls periodically as I know how it can be an ass waiting in line for a brunch spot, no less a popular recent addition to the busy Duxton area. However, not only did no one pick up the countless calls I made, it was the same too, even when I got through just seconds after the line was engaged (meaning someone would had been by the phone but refused to pick up). Pretty frustrating and ridiculous.
So I went anyway, since if there is a place that has no lack of Brunch Cafes, it’d be Duxton. Stepping into the cafe struck me immediately, that we were in for a trouble. It was a narrow stretch down, very echoed, busy and noisy. It is a pity it was nowhere near a relaxed spot for a catchup – talking about ambience alone. We went on the waiting list, and was told a second in line. Naturally we thought it wouldn’t be too long a wait and headed off to a bookstore next shop, Littered with Books (thank god it’s a fanciful book store and kept us engaged for quite some time).
After at least a 90 minutes wait, I was getting impatient and thought I had given them the wrong contact number. I walked back to find out that they have been slotting in the people who have already made their reservations beforehand. To a certain extent, I really think that is the right thing to do. But c’mon, I verily believe that it can be done in moderation. Taking reservations is fine but you need to reserve some seats for walk-in guests don’t you?
The service was alright, don’t get me wrong. It’s just the reservations system they primarily need to work on. So if you are in a big group, it’s in your best interest to avoid coming here. Just so you know, I was only in a group of 3.
Cafe Latte ($5) :: I’m no coffee expert, but it was pretty good I could smell the fragrance of the coffee bean. Drinking it sugarless was also a pleasure as it wasn’t the most bitter cup of coffee. I thoroughly enjoyed this cup of Five Senses Coffee, Australia, because I did not have to spoil the taste with sugar.
Express Breakfast ($12) :: As the name would already have suggested, it isn’t the heartiest brunch you can get. But it sure is the warmest and most comfortable. Savor on every tear of the Banana Bread when it’s first served, warm. I don’t usually like anything banana except the fruit itself, but this, was not too overpowering. It complemented the freshly baked fluffy, fragile and warm bread perfectly. The granola with yoghurt was another well-executed bowl of breakfast treat. Though it sounds simple, the ingredients used matters. Nothing of the sour, dry, rough and boring kind here. Definitely a must-try if you would like a light meal.
DOC Breakfast Platter ($18.50) :: 5 items here. Let’s break it down. (1) Scrambled Eggs suited my palate to the nearest. Slightly fluffy and creamy, balanced saltiness. (2) Bacon wrapped Meatloaf, the piece sandwiched between the Brioche and the Eggs, was uniquely delectable. It was surprisingly not too salty, comes in a generous portion and basically serves as an extra depth to the entire bite. (3) Toasted Brioche however, pulled the rating of the dish down. It was over toasted and turned out tough. If it was a fluffy, slightly charred thick piece of Brioche, it’d have been a perfect match. (4) Cheese Boccocini, though hidden by the main highlight, was also orgasmically indulgent. Though served breaded, this cheese still remains soft and has its flavors well retained. A fork can effortlessly sink through the Boccocini. (5) Confit tomato. Ain’t no big fan of tomatoes, but hey, this deserves a try. It’s like a Molten Lava Cake of tomatoes. Sweet and soft.
63º Eggs with Dressed Smoked Salmon ($18.50) :: Newly minted just earlier this month, I don’t believe there would be a time this eggs would fail to have runny yolks, due to its promised precision. In this scenario, the Toasted Brioche was fine thanks to its flowy and watery counterparts of runny egg yolk and lemon and dill sauce. The sauce was slightly too sour for me, sometimes covering the taste of the others. But otherwise, the smoked salmon was fine and it was happy moments seeing the dish cooked to perfection.
Buttermilk Waffles with Butter Rum Bananas and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream ($13.50) :: Probably the most photogenic item on the menu of Department of Caffeine, I can vouch that it is not just a vase. It doesn’t only look good, it actually tastes good as well – in fact one of the best I’ve had. Complete with airy and adequately flavored (buttermilk) waffles with crispy edges, and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Not a big fan of the butter rum bananas but hey, it doesn’t taste as bad either. I’d recommend a try at any one of their Waffles options. Just do remember that when they say, for instance, Sundried Tomato and Herbs Waffle, it means those items are in the batter itself, you will not see them with your naked eyes.
For its sheer good and unpretentious food, I would recommend this place. However, I would also specifically caution its reservation system and its ambience crisis.
—> Note #1: Brunch is served on weekend.
—> Note #2: Prices stated are nett. No GST and service charge.
Address: 15 Duxton Road
Telephone: 6223 3426
Opening Hours: 10.30am – 7.30pm (Mon – Fri); 9.30am – 7.30pm (Sat – Sun)