West End and I have a beautiful food relationship – Saturday mornings at the Davies Park Markets are a ritual, breakfast at one of the many cafes is a weekly thing and it’s my go to area for close cheap eats. And yet there are still places I’m yet to eat at. Until recently Suburban West End was one of them. Perhaps it’s just that I have my favourites I like to revisit or that the nondescript name and unobtrusive location hadn’t caught my eye. Either way, that changed recently when I was invited to try Suburban’s new menu and met C for a pre-work feed.
The location on the corner of Boundary and Mollison Streets made it an easy ride, especially being early in the morning, and a fence out the front made for convenient parking. When we arrived at 7.30 there were a few people already there but we had our pick of tables. It’s a large open space with both indoor and shaded outdoor seating so we opted for a table outside. It’s not the prettiest of locations being on a main road but touches like flowers in vases make it feel a bit more special
After placing coffee orders, we sat back to peruse the menu. Suburban
have recently updated their menu for Spring/Summer but have kept a few old favourites there too. It’s an extensive range of sweet and savoury so I imagine it would be hard for someone to not find something they’d like…so as usual I had issues deciding. Very helpfully, the vegetarian, dairy-free and gluten-free options are clearly marked plus gluten-free bread and non-dairy milks can be used at no additional cost. I love that.
I’m a mad fritter fan so the gluten-free Zucchini Fritters with charred corn, avocado, beetroot relish & creme fraiche ($16) sounded right up my alley. But then I saw the House Smoked Salmon with asparagus, greens, tomato creme fraiche & poached eggs on rye ($19) and I’m a sucker for those words ‘house smoked’. Plus they do a Bircher Muesli ($14), which I’m constantly on the hunt for the best in Brisbane. Oh decisions…I swear I’m getting worse at making them. Fritters won out in the end (C did have to make it to work by 8.30 after all) but I added a side of salmon ($6) plus the glutton in me added a poached egg ($4) and then the anti-glutton asked to swap the creme fraiche for yoghurt. Yeah, you could say I’m difficult. C saw Chicken Waffles with fried chicken and candied bacon ($14) and was sold.
Our coffees arrived soon afterwards and I was impressed by my Long Black. Made on ORG organic beans from South America, it was a strong and smooth drink with no bitterness. While I’d seen ORG beans before, I don’t think I’d had a memorable coffee on them and was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. C similarly enjoyed his espresso.
I should admit that despite my giant order I wasn’t feeling overly hungry. So when the plate with three large fritters, topped with yoghurt, vibrant relish along with that poached egg and one sizeable fillet of salmon was placed in front of me, I was concerned. I hate wasting food. When I peeked between the hefty yellow fritters and saw several slices of ripe avocado I was seriously worried. C’s plate of two large waffles with a few pieces of crispy chicken and a couple of small crispy pieces of bacon looked substantial but nothing like mine. I took a deep breath and got stuck into it, first cutting into that egg with anticipation…and was rewarded with that gorgeous bright orange ooze of a perfectly poached egg.
My delight was furthered when I took my first bite of fritter. Chock full of shredded zucchini and sweet corn kernels, they where thick pancake style fritters but the high ratio of vegetables to flour meant that there was no doughy texture. They weren’t crispy but I like them like that. Surprisingly flavourful and vibrantly yellow in colour, I suspected turmeric as an ingredient and Ash, the owner, later confirmed that the chef had a secret spice mix he used. Stacked with the tangy yoghurt and zingy relish and creamy avocado made for a delicious combination. And that egg yolk took each mouthful, to quote the kids today, to the next level. The salmon flaked easily and was moist but had a very mild smoked flavour. Personally I like a super smoky flavour but I think this type would appeal to a wider audience. C is big into smoking things himself so was curious about what type of wood chips they used. Ash mentioned that they regularly try different ones but that the ones used that day were applewood.
While I was savouring every mouthful of my dish, C was busy polishing off his own but I did sneak in a small bite to try. I love waffles but generally they are a no-no for their wheat content. But those crispy crunch factor makes them a temptation I rarely can resist. These waffles, while fluffy and light, were a bit soft for my liking. The chicken was crispy but a bit dry and while the maple syrup did add moisture, I wanted more. The sweet and savoury combination was a winner though.
So tasty was my dish that I left maybe one mouthful. I’d like to justify it by saying C shared but in reality I think I polished most of it off myself. Needless to say I didn’t need lunch that day! Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my Suburban breakfast and will need to return to try that Bircher soon.
Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Suburban West End but this review reflects, as always, my true opinion.
220 Melbourne St
DF | V | VV | GF
Food | 8
Coffee | 7
Service | 7
Menu Options | 9
Value | 8