Saturday, 19 September 2015

Gauge - breakfast on steroids

One of the things I miss most about my home town of Brisbane is the breakfast culture.  Don't get me wrong, there is an amazing food scene in Hong Kong, one of the best in the world, but no one seems to have nailed the breakfast gig.

It's why, when I recently flew back to Brisbane for a week, I decided I'd get out and have as many great breakfasts as possible.  One I'd been particularly keen to check out was Ollie Hansford's Gauge in South Brisbane.  Formerly of two hatted restaurant the Stokehouse Brisbane and winner of Young Chef of the Year, I was super excited to see what Ollie was up to.  

When I set off from my Hotel to find Gauge, I was surprised to find that it was right next to Julius Pizza, in a spot that had significantly changed in the nine months since I left Brisbane.  With a couple of new high-rise buildings finally open, there was a different vibe from a few years ago, where there was not much at all to do at the Museum end of Grey Street.  Looking quite dark and brooding from the facade, I loved the juxtaposition of the light and airy interior that had a post industrial feel.  Quite stark and simple, with lots of share tables arranged around the kitchen area.

It was early and midweek, so Gauge was still quite empty and I was able to easily grab a seat which gave me a great view of the dining room and kitchen.  A hip, yet friendly young lass came over to take my order for a hot chocolate and hand over the menu, which as you'd expect from a young gun of a chef, was quite different from most breakfast menus I'd seen.  There was a nod to your traditional breakfast, but even those items were given the Ollie Hansford treatment (they were fancy!).

I'd heard and read that there was a 'must have' on the menu, so I went with the flow and ordered the black garlic bread with brown butter and burn vanilla.  Looking much more like a cake, the thick slab of garlic bread was simply presented with a quenelle of dark brown butter, which was sprinkled with burnt vanilla.  With instructions to lather the butter on thick and cut the bread into small pieces, I set about sampling the interesting looking 'bread'.  The first thing I noticed was the texture, which was very much cake-like, it had a subtle flavour of garlic which was sweet and nice.  Nice as it was, it really needed the thick lashings of the burnt butter, which gave it a richer flavour and helped it go down.  A good combination, but I couldn't eat it all, too rich.  It would definitely be a dish best served for two.

Needing to have something a little more traditional, I'd also ordered the soft eggs on house sour dough with heritage breed bacon.  I loved the simple presentation of the slow cooked eggs, carefully placed on thick bacon and then sprinkled with a straight line of black pepper.  The pepper almost looked like a racing stripe on the nearly translucent eggs.  I have to admit to being pretty excited about cracking into the eggs, which were perfectly cooked and oozed bright yellow yolk over the bacon, adding a new depth to the colours on the plate.  The bacon was fatty and superb, the eggs  creamy and incredible, I was in breakfast heaven.

I was solo dining on my visit to Gauge, with SC off visiting friends, so I was super happy to sit in the relaxed dining area, sipping on another hot chocolate and soak up the atmosphere.  The little cafe was doing a brisk trade with take away coffee and the dining room was filling up nicely.  I could only imagine how packed the place would get on a Saturday morning - I'd be surprised if there weren't queues out the door with long waits.

It's amazing how quickly things happen in the Brisbane food scene!  In the month between my visit to Brisbane and Gauge and getting back home, Ollie had been offered (and accepted) a gig back at the Stokehouse, heading up the kitchen of the Melbourne outlet.  I'm sure Gauge will do OK without Ollie at the helm, after all, it's owned by the team that run Newfarm uber spot Sourced Grocer.....  but I can't help thinking that Melbourne's gain is Brisbane's loss.

Anyway, I'd heard great things about Gauge and I was pretty much bought into the hype.  It was great and there was no doubt that I'd love to find a place in Hong Kong that could produce a breakfast as good as Gauge....  Sigh, if only!

A quiet morning in the dining room, but a brisk trade for coffee
That much butter can't be good for you?  But it tasted sensational....  mmmmm, burnt butter
The eggs were incredible, almost translucent - a simple breakfast executed perfectly
The team in the Kitchen.  Unfortunately Ollie was not on hand, so I couldn't say hi...
Some pretty amazing looking pastries - should have got one to go!
My little dining nook gave me a great view of the restaurant
I liked Gauge but would have loved to have seen it pumping

Gauge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks very much for your comment, I really love and appreciate feedback and your thoughts


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...