Although I didn’t brunch nearly as much as usual last year, I still managed to hit up a few different brunch places at the tail end of the year. All of them had their own unique spin that sets them apart from the pack.
Vincent the Dog
Usually it’s up to me to pick the brunch place, so it came as a pleasant surprise when my friend suggested that we go to Vincent The Dog. I had never heard of it before, but the Asian influenced menu sounded intriguing and my friend was deadest on the pulled pork waffles.
Out on the pavement, there were some seats and a super cute dog, just chilling with its brunching owner. The space is deceptively spacious out the back, with a shaded courtyard. Although it was rather warm, we chose to sit out the back to soak up the cute atmosphere, and for better lighting!
Of course, we had to have the pulled pork waffles! I’m not usually a fan of pulled pork, but this was a real standout. The sweet pulled pork sauce worked together really well with the soft waffles and went down a treat. We also shared the bulgogi bagel. This proved to a very difficult to share dish, as it was almost impossible to cut bagel and share the filling cleanly. However, the flavours were certainly there. Personally, I would have preferred for the coleslaw to already be in the bagel if I was eating it by myself, but as we were essentially deconstructing the entire thing to share it worked just fine.
For drinks, we both picked cold beverages. I didn’t try my friend’s green tea smoothie, because it had banana in it and I generally don’t like bananas but it definitely looked the part! My cold brew iced coffee didn’t have all the hints of goji berry and fruit as promised in the description but was perfectly refreshing.
I really liked the space and would love to try some of the other Asian inspired menu items like the Chinese donut or the sweet waffle that the table next to us were having!
Monk bodhi Darma
I’ve heard many good things about Monk bodhi Darma, but it took me a while to find a friend who wouldn’t mind going to a vegetarian brunch place and who had time to spare!
Monk bodhi Darma is hidden down a side street. I would have missed it, had it not been for the people sitting outside drinking coffee. Now, this place is seriously small! A roaster takes up a good chunk of space leaving room for only a large communal table and a handful of smaller tables.
After having seen it on instagram I couldn’t go past the umami mushrooms. Although the photo I took isn’t all that pretty, this was absolutely delicious. It was creamy but not overly so, and the chilli oil really amped up the flavour profile a lot. So much so that I could have gone without the goat’s cheese. My friend chose the Marlo Sweetcorn hotcakes after seeing the table next to us tucking into it. The portion was super generous and I think my friend struggled to finish it all.
Even though it was another super warm day, we both decided to have tea. I really liked my relaxation blend; it had a slightly minty taste to it and was a bit different from my usual blends.
Although I liked my brunch, the limited menu and slightly out of the way location probably means that I won’t be back any time soon. Those who can count this as one of their locals are pretty lucky!
Walk Don’t Run
I visited Walk Don’t Run twice last year. That’s a real testament to how much I love it because when presented with the option, I usually want to try new places instead of revisiting old favourites. Walk Don’t Run is literally just next to Armadale train station. The fit out is airy and simple with a large window that’s just perfect for taking photos.
Soon after ordering we were presented with some of the prettiest coffees that I have ever seen. I found the mix of brown and green to be vibrant but comforting. Ryan said that the coffee was nice and pleasant but not super memorable. I felt that the matcha latte was just a touch too sweet and milky for me. Although, I might just be speaking as a serious matcha lover with a penchant for bitterness.
The last time I visited I had my usual salmon dish in the form of the hot smoked salmon salad. This was exceptional and I was surprised at how well seasoned every element of the dish was. However, in the spirit of wanting to try something new, I opted for the miso eggplant quinoa salad instead. It wasn’t nearly as pretty as the hot salmon salad, but the flavours more than made up for it. The vegetables were so flavoursome and when mixed together everything was a real delight. I’m not too sure what all the spices were but I tasted some garam masala and paprika. The poached egg and spices on the top really took everything to the next level.
On the other hand, Ryan couldn’t go past the special which just happened to be the same special as the last time we visited. I can’t blame him though. The poached eggs on life loaf with tofu hollandaise and truffle oil were a complete revelation when we first tried them. The flavours were once again on point. It’s hard to believe that the hollandaise is made with just tofu as it is lovely and creamy. The truffle oil just added a little bit of extra flavour, which helped draw all the elements together. Ryan had a minor quibble with the life loaf this time, because it lacked the same nuttiness as it had when we tried it last time. I suppose, that’s bound to happen considering the nature of life loaf with all the various types of nuts strewn in it, each slice probably has a slightly different taste and texture.
To finish everything off we also shared the matcha breakfast parfait. Initially I was really taken aback by the flavours when I first tried it. The tanginess of the matcha yoghurt came as a bit of a shock. However, once I got used to the sour flavour I came to really enjoy it. I was particularly enamoured with the sweet and crunchy house made granola and addition of mangoes. If you’re feeling like a light breakfast or snack this would perfect as it wasn’t too sweet but still felt nourishing and healthy.
Although Walk Don’t Run is on the pricier side I feel like it’s definitely worth it for the quality of the dishes. I can’t wait to revisit Walk Don’t Run again this year to try the rest of the menu!