Going through the list of cup winners, we zoomed in on Best Food Cafe and this year it was awarded to Pope Joan, up north at Brunswick. As expected with a recent award, the place was packed but thankfully being spacious helps as we quickly got seated in. The menu is a mix of familiar items but I guess done in a different way. Case in point, seen haloumi in a pumpkin pie or smoked salmon served with deep fried parsnip croquettes? It's seasonal too with their omelettes coming in with optional winter truffles.
After having my dose of coffee at grocery shopping, I decided to try the chai. However the chai turned out a little weak in spice and I sort of regretted for not ordering a coffee instead.
Pumpkin and Haloumi Pie, Fried Egg with Rainbow Chard and Dukkah. Instead of thick strips of grilled haloumi, there were torn into bite size pieces into a smooth pumpkin filling and when paired with pastry, a fried egg with a oozing yolk, you got a winner. That said, the Wife wasn't a fan of the chard and was glancing over my plate a number of times before we switched our plates.
NZ Smoked Salmon, Parsnip Croquettes with Slow Cooked Egg and Joan's slaw. The ingredients were good by itself but I didn't think the combination really works. I found I either ate the smoked salmon (which still had a sashimi like texture) with either the egg on toast or with the croquette. Trying to put a bit of each item on your fork before in your mouth almost seemed a little impossible. That said, it was something new and I loved it.
Overall, a very decent breakfast / brunch place but wasn't exactly miles ahead of those places that I have tried. Then again, who knows if Pope Joan won the award by a whisker. All things said, still worth a re-visit for me and a potential place to take any visitors out for brunch.
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Verdict: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars. A rather interesting menu with items not normally paired together (the smoked salmon, egg, toast and croquettes is probably a good example) but was let down by the rather weak chai.