If there’s one thing I love on a Sunday morning, it’s going out for a cooked breakfast. However, my family and I are generally slow starters on weekends, so we tend to eat late. This morning was no exception, and at around 11am we decided to go out for brunch at Barclay’s in Heathmont.
In my mind, Barclay’s is a bit of an anomaly in my local area. The chef there actually makes a bit of an effort to produce food that is a bit more adventurous than the average outer suburban cafe. However, for some reason I rarely venture over there (it is about a 10 minute drive away from home), but when I do I’m generally impressed.
Now, beyond their commitment to fair trade coffee and the fact that their tips go to supporting World Vision children, one thing that I love about Barclay’s is that they serve Benedicts until 3pm every day. And it’s not just your usual selection of Traditional and Florentine either, they actually have 5 different kinds, with all of them (excluding the Traditional) being suitable for a vegaquarian. They also have a large range of other breakfast items on the menu, which I believe are served until midday.
Despite the variety available, Mr Foodfilanderer and I ended up ordering the same thing: the Roma Benedict. This includes a slice of toasted ciabatta topped with tomato relish, wilted spinach, fresh salsa, two poached eggs and half a sliced avocado. And because it’s a Benedict, there is also a generous serve of hollandaise on the side.
Now before I talk about what I thought of this breakfast, I should mention that Mr Foodfilanderer considers this one of his favourite breakfasts of all time. Fair praise for an omnivore! I am, however, a little less enthusiastic.
Don’t get me wrong, all of the individuals parts of this breakfast were fantastic. The ciabatta was crisp, lightly toasted and created a perfect base for this meal. The relish was sweet and flavoursome. The eggs were up there with the best poached eggs I’ve ever had. The avocado was perfectly ripe with just the right blend of softness and firmness. The hollandaise was sweet and creamy with a fair hit of lemon. But…I’m just not sure that this breakfast worked well as a whole.
For me, the balance of flavours was a little off. In the interest of transparency, I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of sweet and savoury flavours together. Therefore, the sweetness of the relish and the hollandaise seemed just didn’t seem to work all that well with the savoury flavours of the rest of the meal. If I was creating this breakfast, I think I would focus more on making the salsa the star of the dish, and try and get everything else to be in harmony with that. As a result, the relish and the hollandaise would probably end up off the plate. However, having said all that, I still enjoyed eating it. It’s just that I could see some room for improvement.
Foodfilanderer Jnr, being a lover of sugary breakfasts, opted for the fresh Belgian Waffles. I have to admit that it’s fairly rare to see waffles on a breakfast menu in this area, so he was very excited to give them a try. Barclay’s offers four different options for toppings which I thought was pretty great: warm mixed berries; maple syrup; banana, caramel and pecan; or ice cream. Unsurprisingly to us, Foodfilanderer Jnr went for three of the four options: berries, maple syrup and ice cream.
I have mainly included this photo for interests sake, as I didn’t get to try this meal (being an only child, Foodfilanderer Jnr doesn’t believe in sharing). However the verdict from Jnr was that it was “awesome”, however the mix of berries was skewed quite heavily towards blueberries. I assume that this was a decision based on seasonality, and that’s something I do like to see.
So, what’s the verdict on Barclay’s then? One thing I always keep in mind when dining out is “Could I have cooked this better at home?”. I think that while I might have been able to tweak the flavours of the Roma more towards my tastes, the food we got at Barclay’s was sufficiently outside the box to ensure that we’ll be brunching there again in the near future.