Born in Brunswick

Licensed $-$$   Hat iconHat icon
410 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart
0438 250 515
Open: Tuesday to Sunday 7.00am to 3.00pm.

The brainchild of former Masterchef contestant, Con Vailas, and his lifelong mate, Ben Korkmmaz, both from Hobart, Born in Brunswick was actually conceived in Melbourne and born in Hobart a little less than three weeks ago.

And, like many other recently opened Hobart food establishments, it no sooner opened its doors than it was an instant success, cooking up a storm for over 100 breakfast, brunch and lunch customers each day. And it’s little wonder for, with Vailas meeting, greeting and directing traffic, casual but flawless service and a kitchen under ex-Stillwater chef, Joshua Retzen, at a very busy mid-week brunch, the place was running like clockwork.

Vailas gained his hospitality experience after years at Hobart’s Charcoal and Wrest Point Casino before moving to Melbourne’s hip inner city, Brunswick East, where, he says, he got inspiration from eating at a different café every day and from watching Heston Blumenthal on TV.  “Without living in Melbourne”, he says, “This would never have happened”

And, with a large open kitchen and servery, a couple of communal tables plus window bench seating and scattered tables for two, an abundance of white marble, timber and plants the whole flooded with natural light through the perspex ceiling, the interior is wonderfully light and bright with a real buzz of activity.

Vailas and Korkmmaz have in effect created a slice of Melbourne in Hobart while chef Retzen and his kitchen are adept at combining ingredients and a diversity of culinary influences from Korea, Japan, South East Asia, Germany and elsewhere and in employing the latest sous vide, fermentation and pickling techniques to create up-to-the-minute dishes that, in their multicultural complexity, are full of surprises and exceed expectations at every turn.

Sous vide, half-cooked salmon mi cuit for example, comes with garlic cream, seaweed crisps, pickled wakame, slow-cooked egg and sourdough. Cuttlefish is accompanied by daikon, pickled fungus, compressed apple, cucumber, laver and apple dashi while another dish partners heirloom tomato with compressed watermelon, olive struesel (crumble), pickled fennel, fermented tomato and Meredith feta. The beauty is, despite their complex array of ingredients and flavours, such dishes hang together well and work.

I tried a slab of slow-cooked pork that was still nicely moist and textured partnered with onion and maple jam, dabs of clear tomato gel, a clump of Oyster mushrooms, slow egg and sourdough.

A smoked and slow-cooked brisket had been shredded, filled with short macaroni and cornichons, reformed and crusted and served with mustard crème fraiche, house-made kimchi, puffed amaranth, bean sprouts and fried egg.

A crispy chicken burger – a nod, Vailas said, to KFC which used to be on their site – came with pickled daikon, mayonnaise spiked with Korean chilli paste, coriander, mint and lime. It was fine, but not up to the standard of the other dishes and might better have been left to KFC.

But the knock-out dish of the day – both for me and the female restaurateur at the next table – was the mango and lemongrass panna cotta with passionfruit gel, pineapple and chilli syrup and macadamia topped with snow-like flakes of condensed coconut cream. “Panna cottas are the hottest breakfast ticket in Melbourne”, said Vailas. Maybe so, but I doubt any could better Retzen’s delicious creation.

There’s an attractive kid’s menu and, if you’re not in for the food, there’s a selection of smoothies, pressed juices, kombucha, coffees and teas as well as cocktails and a short list of wines, beers and ciders.

Sour dough with berries and elderflower jam or grapefruit and yuzu marmalade $8.00; eggs your way with peach, tomato and pepperberry relish $14.00; Mains $19.00 to $25.00; desserts $16.00 to $22.00

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