Brunswick is a happening spot. Though if you are not great with Melbourne suburb geography, you might not realise Brunswick West and Brunswick East are a long way apart. The collective depth of the three suburbs is significant.
Our trips to Pope Joan, still regular but less frequent, are a journey that has become second nature. Only on the basis that Pope Joan is in Brunswick (East) we decided to go a little further west and try out Lolo & Wren in Brunswick (West). Little did I realise that we might need a packed lunch from Richmond.
Winding through some main roads that were basically one lane for both directions for the last several kilometres we ended up at our destination. We were aware the location is a bit out of the way and nondescript, under an apartment block. While there are plenty of tables outside, the scenery is better inside, with a well thought out design that is conducive to enjoying breakfast. A few simple touches like the white and green tiled wall, the light wooden furnishings, and the obligatory communal table rising high above those who are not on stools. Not to mention the sexy Synesso machine.
The classic dishes are all here, but there is something more to almost every single one of them. Many of them are pushing off the page making it very difficult to choose. That is where Catherine and my love of sharing comes to the fore! In a soon to catch on addition to most modern dinner menus, we may soon see breakfast sharing, or even breakfast tasting menus. With so many dishes there for the tasting we settled on the ‘Goodison Breakfast’ and the pancakes.
First was of course the Goodison Breakfast which is basically Lolo & Wren’s version of a big breakfast. The slant was that every ingredient on the plate was excellent – high quality and full of flavour. From the potato and rosemary rosti, to the baked field mushrooms, and especially the pork and fennel sausage. That’s not to say the poached eggs, bacon, organic sourdough, and the delicious homemade tomato relish, were any less fantastic. Funnily enough, the only big breakfast that is an adequate match off the top of my head in Melbourne is at Pope Joan about 5km away.
For second (and final) course, we shared the pancakes which upped the ante even further. The menu describes it best – “Caramelised pear, almond and walnut pancakes with vanilla Mauri mascarpone, blueberry and rhubarb compote, fresh mint, and pure Canadian maple syrup”. To say the combination is exquisite is possibly going too far, and possibly not giving enough credit to the execution. On the latter, the most interesting textural and flavour punching element is the almond toffee strewn through the fluffy pancake vessel. When combining the ingredients in almost flawless technique, this is a killer dish. I observed it coming past a few other times, and from afar, each time it looked consistent.
What I especially enjoyed here was the diversity of coffee choices. The dual focus on food and coffee is something that is often missing or is unbalanced. There were two blends on offer, including one from Proud Mary, and an especially good single origin. I tried all three and have been awake ever since.
While it was very busy, thank goodness Lolo & Wren is not in a more populated spot, or closer to the city, because we actually got in. It is a confident demonstration of terrific food and coffee, and I haven’t even mentioned the excellent service by staff run off their feet. We’ll be back, and hopefully it will be just as great.