Food and Drink
Posted by Jade Kelly
14. Feb, 2012
For me, a simple indicator of quality in a restaurant is none other than the communal table. To have one means that at some point the demand for chairs and floor space was exceeding the supply. And if people are happy to wait for a seat on one, this indicates the place has officially gone meta. Hailed as one of the best brekkies in town (Claire from Melbourne Gastronome calls it her favourite breakfast place), it comes as no surprise that the Duchess of Spotswood has itself a communal table, and that our party of two were seated right on it.
As we clambered inside, the first thing I noticed was how peaceful the space was (note the past tense) despite being busy. Some of the regulars looked as much at home as if they’d shuffled into their own kitchen to flick the kettle on. The second thing I noticed was the decor — light, bright, old country farmhouse meets modern minimal with freshly cut peach branches and berries in vases. Very cosy.
There were a team of attentive staff flitting about like Cinderella’s bluebirds replacing water bottles, resetting places and putting smiley faces in my cappuccino. If I had have asked I’m confident they would have pulled together to fashion me a ball gown, but for now I just asked them for food.
I ordered the Simple Pleasures ($17.50) which was asparagus, broad beans, breakfast radish & goat’s curd with poached eggs on toast. One word: amazing. The creamy goat’s curd, the bright orange yolks soaking into my toast and the fresh greens made for one decadent and unforgettable brunch.
I should also add that one of my favourite things about communal tables, apart from the harmless eavesdropping and it being a great platform for bringing Play-doh back into adult circles, is that it’s fantastic for perving on all the other dishes that you couldn’t order. I can officially say that the rarebit and the smoked trumpeter looked like ideal back-up selections.
And while the prices are a little on the high-side for some, I don’t mind paying it for a nice morning – especially in the west where we are somewhat starved for fancy brunch options.
Bonus points: The Duchess has just rolled out a liquor license and is looking at rolling out dinners come March.
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