There’s quite a few people in my life, including my partner Jeremy, who work outside of your standard 9-5 weekday roster. While there’s the inconvenience of working nights and weekends on occasion, there’s also the bonus of being able to dine out during the week without going through the pain of the lines you tend to find on weekends.
So now that my work friends and I have started a breakfast club where we go out every few weeks before work, I can now experience the simplicity of arriving at a venue and actually getting a seat straight away! Our first outing was to Pearth Organic Kitchen, and more recently our second found us at Odyssea Beach Cafe – a new opening in City Beach literally right in front of the beach.
Odyssea opened their doors earlier this year, and have brought a casual meets sophisticated modern Australian menu that focusses on quality local produce and seasonality. Executive chef Alan Spagnolo has a commitment to creating as much of the menu as possible in-house which is a big ask considering they’re open breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.
I sadly had to miss their opening party due to conflicting plans, so I was pleased to finally make it down – especially as it’s only 10 minutes from my house!
We arrived bright and early at 7am, with a cool sea-breeze greeting us at the same time the bubbly hostess did. It’s a gorgeous and large space, with copper and grey accents, and an array of baked goods spread out along the coffee counter. There’s not many other diners yet so we have our pick of seating, to which we happily choose being outside. It’s the kind of fresh morning that makes you extra thankful for this beautiful city we live in.
Ordering coffee (priced from $3.50) is definitely a priority for all of the group (except me of course!) and I have to say I really loved the look of the mugs they were served in. Presentation is key here, and I can’t say I’m surprised given the aesthetically pleasing decor, location and view.
While the coffees go down a treat, I was disappointed in the reaction of one staff member when we realised that two of the drinks (one soy, one normal) had been swapped when delivered and let her know. Instead of an apology or acknowledgement of the problem, she asked if we’d swapped them round and taken the wrong ones. Eventually she did whisk them away to be replaced, but I have to admit that the short interaction left a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Every single service interaction counts and so her treating us as if we were at fault was disappointing.
Naturally my breakfast included an orange juice ($8.00) which I was really pleased to see was freshly squeezed. So many places are going the tiny portioned cold press juice route these days, but my heart is still with your good old fashioned squeezed which was pulpy, cool and so refreshing. I really do love my juice! I am still really struggling, as I’ve mentioned numerous times on my blog just how much juice is costing right now in cafes. I miss the days of the $5.00 juice – and was surprised that when I was at Herdsman recently buying my veggies I could pick up a Michael Brother’s cold pressed juice for only $3.50 so it goes to show the markup that eateries are putting on this very brand and others I’m sure.
Choosing the dishes to order from the menu is no easy feat for any of us. There are some seriously tasty descriptions jumping out at us, with some of your normal fan favourites like field mushrooms or avocado, plus dishes I haven’t come across elsewhere like bougatsa with ricotta. It’s times like this I wish I had unlimited stomach (and wallet) capacity!
For Holly and Chris, they decide to go with the ever tried and true scrambled eggs on Loafer’s organic toast ($12.00). When they come out to the table we all agreed that they were a decent portion size (though for scrambled eggs I do usually see larger), with the buttery eggs piled atop of the griddle marked toast. It’s been awhile since I’ve had scrambled eggs so this definitely triggers a sense of longing in me – I’ll have to remedy that soon.
Chris also added on a side of bacon ($6.00) and pork chipolatas ($6.00) which came out in small iron saucepans. I thought the chipolatas were a reasonable size, but the bacon could have been a touch bigger for the price – and more crispy too since that was his request when ordering.
Lauren also opted for the free range eggs on Loafer’s organic toast ($12.00), though she choose to have them slow poached with a side of avocado ($5.00).
When they came out to the table I have to admit I was a little thrown by the presentation – don’t get me wrong those eggs looked deliciously gooey, ready to be popped open to reveal their yolk porn centre. However the toast looked a touch dry, and I they could have included the avocado on the plate (which sadly was only a half for that price, and woody in appearance) just to make it look a bit fuller and satisfying.
Mel ordered the bircher muesli ($13.00), which was pretty as a picture with chia, poached pear, Greek yoghurt and candied pine nuts. I love bircher muesli, though it can be quite a sweet dish, but I was told this was well balanced and satisfying.
For the price I would have liked to see a touch more fruit just to aligned to what other venues are doing, but we all agreed that this was the most reasonably priced dish of our breakfast. I think I’ll definitely be trying it for myself, it’s so pretty and creamy in appearance! And I think texturally they’ve really thought this through, ticking the boxes of crunchy, softness, creaminess and even bursts of sugary goodness.
Both Claudia and I decided on the honeycomb, yoghurt and goat’s cheese semifreddo with strawberries, fresh honeycomb and candied pistachios ($18.00). While on most occasions I tend to gravitate more towards savoury over sweet, I thought this sounded really interesting and different to what other brunch spots have on their menus.
I think what impressed me most about this was the fact that it was like a celebration of summer on the plate – and perfectly in harmony. The goat’s cheese was strong, but not overly dominating – just counter balanced against the saccharine strawberries and nuts. It was a really morish dish, one that kept me coming back for spoonful after spoonful – and when I was finished I felt really sated but not bloated. Delicious! I think I might have won in the dish off that day because I left feeling well and truly impressed by my plate. I also loved the fresh honeycomb which is not something I’ve eaten on many occasions, and it was so satisfyingly sticky!
Our trip by the sea was an enjoyable way to start the working day – especially with great friends. While it wasn’t a perfect experience marred by the inconsistent service and pricing, in all I enjoyed the flavours and thought their breakfast menu is really different and from what I tasted, worth checking out.
I’m sure with time the service will smoothen out, and I guess when it comes to pricing you’re probably paying a premium for being in front of the ocean. All in all, a lovely venue that I’ll return to again I’m sure now that I’ve realised how close it is to my house!