Set up & site:
We hoof it in the rain to the mod outfit that is Brunch on the ground level of the AA building. It's a strange area, not exactly buzzing with the pulse of the city, but inside there is a decent crowd. My companion has her dog, Mambo, who is a little anxious about being city-side and is soon made comfortable outside with a bowl of water. The waiter says, did we know that Kmart have the best dog coats ever? The interior is tasteful corporate. My companion says it looks like a franchise fitout. She's right. But it's comfortable, big and spacious, has tables outside for when it's not raining, and is perfect for a discreet business meeting or a work catch-up.
Sustenance & swill:
I'm umming and ahhing — the benedict, or the scramble? I choose mushroom toast ($16.50). 'Shrooms cooked in a balsamic cream, topped served with a poached egg and pecorino on a slice of mixed grain or ciabatta. Your choice. Except the question is never asked — and to be honest, even though I would've asked for ciabatta, it's not exactly a game-changer. I don't even notice, the 'shrooms are so good. The mixed grain is just fine. The egg is perfectly cooked and the pecorino ... sigh. My favourite cheese (after comte,) Michelle knows exactly what she wants – the green smash ($16) — which is the most glorious, violently green mash of edamame and broad beans (with smoked salmon and popping capers on a hunk of ciabatta (or mixed grain — your choice). She, conversely, would've chosen the mixed grain but got ciabatta. The dish is so pretty, with pickled radish and those crispy capers providing a great cut-through with the richness of the salmon, she says. How do you get popping capers? You fry them, in a little oil, says a waiter. The only gripe with the smash is that the edamame is a bit on the chilled side. The coffee is a perfect, no-nonsense hit and while there's no price list, they work out to be a fairly bog-standard, central city $4.50 each.
Service & other stuff:
There's no drinks list at all, but there's Allpress beans, and we can see a lineup of juices in glass bottles on top of a glass food cabinet full of all the usual suspects — Turkish pide with various fillings and chocolate caramel slice. As soon as we are seated, we are given water. I order a soy piccolo and Michelle has a trim flat white. The service is fantastic, efficient and friendly and the food comes fast. They have — at the time we visit — been open a week and they are a slick operation. So Brunch is brunch, like it says, with a complimentary side of canine winter fashion advice.