After dining at A. Baker for dinner earlier this week, I was keen to try out brunch on the weekend with some friends. All the outdoor tables in the warm sunshine were taken, so we settled at a table in a little corner. This proved to be a blind spot as no one noticed us for the 20 minutes we had been waiting. I got up to get us some menus lying on one of the counters. I noticed the line of people queuing up at the coffee and baked goods counter and wasn’t sure if we had to order at the counter or wait for someone to provide service. After waiting a bit longer (and I was dying for a drink), I finally got up to grab one of the available waitstaff and asked how we were supposed to order. He followed me back to our table, cleared the dirty dishes, wiped down the table and took our coffee orders (note: no freshly squeezed juice on the premises, only bottled juice).
For brunch, I ordered the Shakshuka: baked eggs and toast ($14). This came out in a little iron pan resting on a thick wooden board. The eggs were runny and came with chopped tomatoes, capsicum and onion. I thought it was an okay dish but the sauce was quite watery and they weren’t the best baked eggs I’ve had. Shakshuka, a North African and Israeli dish, is supposed to have a spicy and rich tomato sauce. This didn’t have either. We all agreed the bread provided with our meals was really good. My toast was quite small and I really wish they would provide more than one slice to mop up the sauce (what’s with most cafe’s only providing one tiny slice these days?) I should note that we still hadn’t received our coffees yet when all of the food came out.
Food porn of my friend’s dishes below. One complaint about the braised beans was that there was no sign of the cotechino. We think maybe they grinded it into a paste with the beans?
Our coffees finally arrived after we’d all finished our meals. The waiter was apologetic and said they were ‘just getting smashed that day’. Fair enough for their opening weekend brunch run. Hope the coffee service improves in future. We all agreed the coffee was great and velvety smooth. I liked that it wasn’t a bitter coffee.
Portions for brunch are on the small side, and I have to admit I was still a tad peckish after I’d finished my baked eggs. So I ordered a croissant ($3.50) up at the counter. It was too hard trying to wave a waiter down. There was a bit of a wait in the line as there is only one person working the counter to wrap up the bread and work the register, and one barista behind the coffee machine. I think one more person to help out at the counter would help move the line along. Served with butter and jam, the croissant was a lovely golden tan colour. There was a nice crunch sound as I pulled it apart and the flakiness of the croissant went flying, however the inside was soft and buttery. Mmm so good. One of the best croissants I’ve had!
I purchased the white sourdough ($7) to have as a late lunch (the grain sourdough had already sold out). The bread was wrapped up nicely in A. Baker’s branded paper. The sourdough was wonderful – soft inside, not too crusty and just yum. My partner really liked it too.
Brunch experience summary: it was hard to get any service where we were sitting in the corner. It took way too long time for our coffees to arrive (after we’d finished our meals). Portions are small and what I did have was pretty average. The croissant and the bread were the best parts so I’ll definitely be ordering more from the bakery.