Brunch at Eightysix

16 Nov

After almost two years in business, people still rave about Eightysix and talk about it like it’s new – which is really saying something given how there’s something new (and good) opening up every week (or more) in Canberra, especially on Lonsdale Street near where Eightysix is housed. As part of October’s Good Food Month, Eightysix – usually only open for lunch and dinner (my first experience here) – launched a Sunday brunch menu which they’ve decided to keep up indefinitely.

In addition to the menu pasted on Facebook, fantastic local bloggers Megan and Natalie‘s reviews had me salivating. Thus, even with a relatively full tummy from dinner at Temporada last night (post forthcoming!), we were committed to having the experience today.

Even though it’s pouring rain, Eightysix has ample walkway and awning to ensure a sound outdoor dining experience no matter the weather and there’s people taking advantage of it. Inside the very warm restaurant, our waiter greets us by checking we’re a table for two and telling us they’ve just run out of bolognaise for the jaffle so they’re trialling the oxtail ragut (usually on the dinner menu) and it works and he’s happy – all without missing a beat. While it’s busy we’re offered a choice of tables but choose to sit at the bench against the window for the people watching.

Breakfast menu

Brunch drinks menu

Paper menus are handed out (which replicate what’s on the chalk boards which is usually the only menu for lunch and dinner diners) and drinks orders are taken immediately; I’m not usually a coffee drinker and our waiter’s able to rattle off the juices available. We’re asked if we’ve been to Eightysix before and we note never for brunch; he explains that while the dinner menu is all about sharing plates, the brunch menu is about ordering for yourself.

Both Boyfriend’s coffee and my juice are served quickly.

Carrot, lime and grapefruit juice served in the omnipresent mason jar ($8) and flat white in handleless mug ($4.50)

Boyfriend orders the gnocco fritto (following a quick bit of Googling to determine that it’s fried dough puffs) and I – with embarrassing gluttony – order a duck bun (can’t go past it) and the popcorn chicken with maple ice cream and waffles. I figure the latter is going to be a once in a lifetime thing so might as well go all out. Our waiter laughs as we finish ordering and says we’re complete opposites in our orders. Ten hours later, I’m still not quite sure what that means. Of course, we could just order nutrigrain and berocca, both of which are free (yes, free), but while one’s acceptable I’m not sure two is in the spirit of things (or is it?).

It’s a little wait for our meals but leisurely rather than painful. All three dishes are served together which is probably to a blogger’s detriment when one dish has ice cream and there’s food to be photographed… but I digress.

Poached eggs with asparagus on gnocco fritto, with parmesan and balsamic ($14)

Yolk porn

Boyfriend’s not convinced with his dish, describing it as arty but essentially a dessert pastry with eggs on top. That said, every element of the dish is perfect – I think it’s the concept that doesn’t quite win him over. (Boyfriend still maintains there is nowhere better for breakfast than Chatterbox.)

I delay digging into my quickly melting ice cream even more by choosing the duck bun first. At $8 it’s expensive, but the duck is stickily savoury, the bun is sweet and the cucumber provides a burst of freshness. They’re incredibly moreish. No regrets.

Duck buns ($8) with mason jar for scale

It’s finally time for the piece de resistance. I’ve certainly ruined it a little by letting the maple ice cream sit for as long as it does: the dish would benefit from not-melted ice cream. The popcorn chicken is hot and tasty, although I feel very naughty because on this fried chicken I can taste the icing sugar that’s been dusted over the entire dish: an indulgence without comparison. The waffles are a little bland for me, but the maple ice cream is creamy and tastes exactly like maple syrup.

Popcorn chicken with maple ice cream and waffles ($22)

I’m still not sure what I think of the dish. It’s tasty and interesting – basically itΒ doesΒ work – and I’m glad I ordered it, but I’m not sure I would order it again. Instead of the cornflakes, for the crunch factor I think the dish might benefit from going all out and adding in a slice of crispy Pialligo Estate bacon.

Finally: whenever I mention Eightysix, people often say, “I hear really mixed things about the waitstaff.” Eightysix prides itself on being quirky – the food alone makes that evident – and I think for a little while the service took quirky to a new level. I’m happy to say that I’ve found the service each time I’ve visited excitable – like they can’t wait to serve us – without losing the friendliness. Others who’ve previously had poor experiences have since said they much more enjoy the experience now and keep going back – I think that’s really saying something.

Date: Sunday, 16 November 2014

Where: Elouera Street, Braddon

Cost: $61 including two mains ($22 and $14), duck bun ($8), one juice ($8) and two flat whites ($9)

Value for money: Reasonable

Worthwhile factor: Worthwhile

Want more: The Facebook page has the latest information about brunch.
Eightysix on Urbanspoon

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2 Responses to “Brunch at Eightysix”

  1. whisperinggums November 16, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

    Funnily enough, we went there for dinner last Monday evening. Sat outside and had a very lovely time – three of us (including our daughter). We found the service a little quirky but fun. Food overall was good – some dishes better than others but all interesting. Not having a menu when you sit outside is a bit of an issue, but I don’t think I could manage sitting inside with the noise levels there.

  2. nataliescoolblog November 20, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

    Sounds delicious!

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