New brunch venues definitely get me a little giddy with excitement. It’s not just the fact that I get to visit a new place, but I also get to branch out and try new dishes and the way that particular chef puts a spin on classic dishes or invents brand new ones. So when Cecchis (an Italian restaurant that I have been meaning to visit for so long but still hadn’t found the time) added brunch to their offering, I found myself eager to stop by.
I was originally invited to attend Cecchis soft opening launch, but due to work had to decline… so when I saw photo after photo crowding my Instagram feed my stomach made the decision for me. It was a dreary Sunday that I headed in with my girls Vee and Linda – the kind of weather that you wouldn’t expect to see in summer. But we were rugged up from the wind, and ready to eat!
The brunch menu is short but sweet, with a really great variety of dishes you wouldn’t normally find on menus around town. While I’m a hollandaise fiend, I think it’s great that they’ve ditched the standard fare and are bringing an inventive, modern spin on things while staying true to their Italian Mediterranean slanted style of cooking.
But having such diversity means choosing is hard. After a bit of to and fro, we lock down our orders, and eagerly await the food. The wait for longer than I would like to have experienced – especially because I was so hungry, with our meals taking about 30 minutes. Not a huge issue, but given it wasn’t too busy I think they’ll need to keep chipping away at this as an area of improvement.
Linda’s choice was the steak with thyme hash, fried egg and red pepper jam ($21.00). She was excited for this particularly for the fact that it was steak at breakfast time – definitely a hearty dish! It came out to the table and looked quite refined, but smaller than we would have expected for the price tag. She told us that it was cooked spot on medium, and the fried egg was satisfyingly yolky. The real star on the plate was that hash, which was not quite your traditional presentation but a contemporary interpretation.
I think that to really round this out, some toast was necessary as I ended up giving Linda one of my slices so she was fully satisfied. I can see what the team at Cecchis are thinking with their dishes, but for the slightly elevated prices they need to make sure customers walk away feeling they got their money worth (and bread is a cost effective way to do this!).
Both Vee and I chose the mushroom trifolati with ricotta and goats cheese mousse, hazelnut, slow cooked eggs and toast ($17.00). Oh yum. I love mushroom anything, and the earthy combination of the flavour worked perfectly with the creamy cheese components.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll still continue to harp on, slow eggs are totally my jam. Gooey, oozy, sexy slow eggs. And Cecchis do them so well. So, so well.
The toast is quite small, but really tasty. It’s crisp and perfect for mopping up the yolk spreading all over my plate. What I also liked about this dish was the seasoning – it was so on point for the salt and pepper, making the flavours pop!
We all agreed that we definitely had room for dessert, so we ordered a couple of the brioche croissants to share. They’ve cleverly created these bad boys with a few different filling combinations so you can choose whichever suits your tastebuds.
Immediately we all knew we couldn’t resist the croissant with salted caramel ice-cream ($7.00 on our visit but has now increased to $10.00). Look at all the ice-cream just oozing out of there! And it was great ice-cream, satisfyingly living up to the salty element while still showcasing the caramel tones. The brioche croissant was delightfully light and flaky, with that buttery goodness you want when indulging in a pastry.
We also decided to try the brioche croissant with vanilla custard ($5.50 at the time, now $7.50). We tackled this one second since the ice-cream version provided more of an urgent timeframe, but it was still decadent and satisfying.
The vanilla custard was sweet and creamy, cool and delicious. I would love to try the chocolate custard version next time I’m at Cecchis, it sounds too good to be true!
After enjoying my first visit to Cecchis I decided to pay a return visit on Christmas Eve with my mum since I had the day off work. Though it was a bright sunny day, we sat inside to avoid the heat and were promptly shown to our table and water poured. The Italian waiter there is not just an authentic touch… he’s a bit ridiculously good looking so we had a bit of a chuckle over that.
Sadly they’d sold out of the pork belly (which was number one on my list to try!) and the salmon, so our choices were limited. Turns out they’d had a much busier morning than anticipated but we threw our attention into the menu nonetheless to make a decision on what to share.
Because we both love all things seafood, our first choice was the grilled Fremantle octopus with warm potato salad, paprika, parsley and morcilla ($18.00). Mmm smokey octopus – so damn tasty and Cecchis version was tender and morish. The serving size was on the smaller scale of things, so while the warm potato salad (somewhat deconstructed) had great flavour (though needed a good hit of salt) and carbs to fill us up, some toast once again would have been welcome.
Our second choice was the housemade zampina pugliese sausage with charred cos, asiago, panella and fried egg ($18.00).
Panella is something that I’m not familiar with, and is a Sicilian fritter made from gram flour. I thought texturally and flavour-wise it reminded me of polenta though slightly softer. The sausage had a layer of melted asiago over the top which was a great touch, and the meat was moist and juicy.
The real game changer for this dish was the use of the charred cos though, which brought a smokey flavour element into each bite – and is something I definitely want to try and replicate at home!
Cecchis is a new breath of fresh air in Perth’s brunch game. I think they have some real standout dishes and flavours, and I love that this little venue has such an open, gorgeous courtyard and on the inside looks almost like a renovated home come restaurant. While there were some little elements that need improving (mainly just including toast to make the servings more filling), I’m looking forward to heading back again for more.