Reading about a restaurant I’ve never been to before and reading that it’s worth visiting gets me more excited than I should probably say out loud. Such was the feeling when I read about Salvation Jane in Old St last year.
Brunch has become massively popular over the last few years and frankly, it deserves all the respect it gets and then some. It’s the perfect time of day – you get your lie in but it doesn’t take over your whole afternoon in the way that lunch sometimes can – and it genuinely allows you, in fact it actively encourages you to pick and choose from breakfast and lunch menus and the best places even throw extra choices in just for the hell of it. Yep. Brunch and I? We’re old, super delicious friends.
A perfect day generally includes great food, enjoying some part of living in one of the greatest cities on the planet and no stress. Both times I’ve visited this place, they have wonderfully begun days that fulfilled all those criteria.
Their website claims that it’s a restaurant ‘for people who believe that if you’re going to eat it or drink it, it should be savoured.’ And they absolutely practice what they preach.
Open plan and inviting with a chilled atmosphere and a counter full of gorgeous looking cakes and pastries, including a Cherry Ripe slice that may have been purchased after brunch for later and yet may have been eaten before we’d even got on the bus, there was a welcoming-social-yet-laid-back-buzz in the air. No frantic hollering of orders, just people taking their time and enjoying their dining experience.
The menu is not infinite but it’s well varied and I defy anyone to find something on there they wouldn’t love. Staff smile easily and recommend their favourites and that un-hurried, un-worried vibe that is characteristic of so much of Australia permeates both the cute, quirky inside and lovely-in-summer outside seating areas.
So what ended up on our plates? Salt beef hash cakes with poached eggs, fresh spinach and smoked tomato relish; corn fritters stacked with streaky bacon, fresh spinach and slow roast tomatoes served with avocado chilli lime salsa and crème fraiche; Bert’s toasted sourdough with organic streaky bacon, a fried egg, rocket, fresh tomato and aioli and poached eggs and a special of French toast with bacon, grilled bananas, syrup and toasted pecan. Well I did say there had been 2 visits although those who know me wouldn’t really be surprised if that list had been from one gut-busting sitting…
All the ingredients were fresh and full of genuine flavour; each mouthful was exciting because you ordered the dishes based on the fact you liked the flavours they promised and actually, they delivered. Nothing was over seasoned or sauced or complicated to the point where you didn’t know what you were eating – the beauty of this place is that they know that fewer ingredients cooked and presented with skill and love ( because there’s no denying this is a place that loves its food) will always top a dish where everything in the kitchen has been thrown in and presented as ‘nouveau cuisine’.
If you were an Aussie, far from your sunny shores and feeling a touch homesick, a cup of tea and a slice of something native would massively lift your spirits. For the rest of us, it’s just a wonderful little place to appreciate where you’re living and what you’re eating.