I tend to associate brunch with one on one catch ups and dates. I think this is because when I brunch out it’s usually with one other person. Maybe it’s because everyone (myself included) is a little disorganised and lazy. Brunch seems like a casual affair that doesn’t need all that much organising, so it’s easier to just grab one other person and catch up over eggs and coffee.
That being said, being able to share my favourite meal of the day with several of my friends at once is also a complete joy. It’s refreshing to be so social first thing in the morning. It also means that we can order even more things! Just look at how vivid and plentiful the header image looks!
For our inaugural brunch club brunch my friends and I decided to visit Stovetop since it was conveniently located near an event that we were going to later. Although the address for Stovetop reads Carlton it is actually on the fringes of the cbd, located very close to Victoria market and also Melbourne University. Speaking of Melbourne university, I think that the building that Stovetop is located in is actually an office building for the postgraduate teaching faculty of the university. I’m inclined to think that on weekdays the cafe would be completely packed with students and staff but thankfully on this Sunday there was plenty of space for all four of us.
Coffee and tea was ordered to start the day. Ryan commented that the coffee could use some work. On the other hand my prana chai was spicy, sweet and comforting: everything a good chai should be.
As the designated fish lover I ordered the gin cured salmon with potato hash and a poached eggs. The colours of the dish were a bit of a surprise when it arrived. Clearly that beetroot colour had transferred all over the fish, giving it this most interesting ruby red hue. The beetroot hash was another pleasant surprise. It was fried to perfection and went really well with the strong flavoured salmon.
I was also impressed with just how generous the serve of salmon was. Generally I’ve become used to paying a premium for fish dishes and even then I’m not always rewarded with all that much salmon or ocean trout. This was possible the largest serving of salmon I’ve had at a cafe which was pretty impressive especially considering the price.
The cuban sandwich was more cuban inspired than authentic cubano. That’s really besides the point though. The sandwich itself was delicious and dare I say I actually prefer it to the actual cubanos that I’ve tried. The pork was incredible fatty, in a good way! Thankfully the pickle was there to cut through the rich pork, ham and cheese.
Once again the serving of buttermilk hotcakes was also very generous. They were a touch on the dry side but the butterscotch sauce was absolutely divine.
My other friend ordered the sstovetop porridge without yogurt. I didn’t try any but she said that it tasted really healthy and filling.
I think that this group brunch was a success. Stovetop was a really welcoming venue. I felt that we could have continued lingering and chatting if only we didn’t have somewhere to be. If this is anything to go by, I’m looking forward to more social brunches in the near future!