Sunday, 8 December 2013

Spring - Is Brunch really a legitimate meal?

We had a friend coming up from Melbourne to visit.  Well, they were visiting for some client Christmas parties and through it would be great if we could catch up before heading back home.  The idea was that we would catch up for brunch, giving PM a chance to sleep in a little bit after what would be a late night of eating, drinking and merry-making.  The challenge was not to find a great spot to do brunch, but to find a place in the CBD that did great brunch.  This is not as easy as you would think on the weekends, there are very few places that do brunch in the CBD on Saturday or Sunday mornings.

Who really does brunch anyway?  I've always thought the concept of brunch was for rich ladies of leisure, who had nothing better to do with their time.  I'm not sure I can really get to 10:30 for breakfast, I get really 'hangry' when I do and it's a bit early for lunch, and I like to have an early lunch.  So when we arranged a brunch with PM, I was a bit lost as to where to go.

We finally decided on Spring in the CBD, mainly because it's one of the only spots open locally that does brunch but also because it's only a short five minute walk from our apartment.  I have eaten at Spring before and have had mixed experiences, the first time I went I thought it was fairly ordinary but I have been and had some completely amazing food (see post here).  I wondered which Spring would turn up for our brunch, given we were dining with a Melbournian, I really wanted Spring to bring their A game.

Spring is one of the prettiest looking restaurants in Brisbane.  Located on the corner or Felix and Mary Street, it's just enough off the beaten track to be unique, but is also close to many of the other Eagle Street precent restaurants to be very accessible.  One of the things I love most about Spring is the light and airy feel of the dining area, with a very eclectic look and feel with mismatched tables and chairs and just enough quirkiness with the decorations to keep each visit interesting.  The dining area overlooks a juice and coffee bar that is open to the outside world, even if the dining area is closed or completely packed.

We arrived early as usual and grabbed our table and waited for PM to arrive.  We'd actually booked for four as there was a slim chance that BK would turn up, it would depend on how big a night he'd had the night before. Looking over our menus and keeping an eye out for the duo, we were unsurprised with it was just PM wandering into the restaurant.  I have to say, given that PM had been out until 3am, and it was his second Christmas celebration in a row, he was looking remarkably fresh.  Once PM sat down at the table there was lots of laughs and chatting and catching up.  Unfortunately for our waitress, she had to come back three or four times before we got our act together and finally ordered some food.

To start off with PM and SC each ordered an English Breakfast tea, which came in massive tea pots which SC was pleased to note held enough tea for three and a half cups.  I was really keen on getting some type of smoothy, but there were only fresh juices on offer, so I decided that I would stick with water....  pretty boring, I know.

Most of the Spring breakfast / brunch menu is pretty standard and has the usual assortment of breakfast fare, but about two thirds of the way down it turns quite contemporary with some interesting looking options like smashed sardines with lemon and smoked paprika along with black pudding on home-baked sourdough toast (I know this is fairly traditional, but you don't see it on too many menus these days).  There was to be none of that bravery for us today, with PM and SC sticking to the most traditional of brunch fare, the eggs benne.  They both chose the Eggs Benedict with ham and were both super happy when their brunch was delivered.  The serving of eggs benne came with some huge pieces of ham and a hollandaise sauce that was really light and delicious.  My dining companions were extremely complimentary of their brunch and didn't stop raving about them for the rest of the morning.

As I mentioned, I'm not sure about brunch.  I'd actually already had a bowl of cornflakes for breakfast earlier on, so when it came to ordering, I was not looking for the massive plate of food, so I only ordered some scrambled eggs on home baked sour dough, along with some bacon and roast tomatoes.  The plate that was delivered looked pretty good, if not a little small compared to my usual big breakfasts (but this was ok).  My eggs had the right colour and texture but fell a little flat, there was absolutely no seasoning and were therefore a little bland.  A touch of salt goes a long way with eggs and these could have used a pinch or two.  I found the same with the roasted tomatoes, which needed something a little extra too, a splash of balsamic vinegar or some seasoning to bring out the tomato flavour.  My bacon on the other hand was superb, it had an intense flavour that I have not had from bacon for a while, and have missed without even knowing it.  The only problem was that there was only one rasher, so I was left craving more!

In the space of one brunch session we had experienced the highs and lows of some of my previous visits to Spring.  The eggs benne were universally loved by our table and the tea was plentiful and well received.  On the other hand, my brunch suffered from a lack of seasoning and therefore fell a little flat with the flavours.  

It was fairly busy when we first arrived with lots of tables filled with what appeared to be the some of the Stereosonic set, preparing for day one of fun and sun at the show-grounds.  I could tell they were in the CBD for Stereosonic due to the tanktops on the boys and short shorts on the girls.  They all cleared off shortly after we arrived and then there was a steady stream of people coming in for brunch and eventually lunch.  We found the service to be friendly and patient, our brunch was quite drawn out over a couple of hours and they kept coming back to make sure we were OK and to top up our water.

Our friend from Melbourne left Spring with a spring in his step, he had really enjoyed his brunch and had dusted off the cobwebs from the previous nights festivities.  He was most impressed with the fact that Spring has a cooking school and made plans for a return visit with a whole team in tow to try out the cooking class as a team building activity.  

While I didn't necessarily enjoy my eggs and tomato as much as I would have liked, I was happy in the fact that we had a southern invader leaving a Brissie restaurant full of praise.  Chalk one up to Brisbane!

The kitchen is hidden behind the wine wall, you can get just a glimpse
Lots of lovely ironwork keeps the outside out and the inside in
The eggs benne were massive and were very well received
Brunch time in the CBD - is it breakfast or lunch?
Lots of shiny black tiles and a shiny shiny sign
some very casual alfresco dining 
Its a cool spot for any time of the day or night

Spring on Urbanspoon

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