What images does the word “brunch” conjure up for you? Is it your mum wearing a brunch coat around the house on the weekends or is it the joy of moseying on down for a meal after a sleep in that would make every new mother on the planet jealous? Whatever it is, no one can deny that this is the most indulgent of the meals.
Imagine my delight when fellow blogger Casey from Travelling Corkscrew alerted me to the news that Swallow Bar was now serving brunch on weekends.
When this 2014 Small Bar of the Year was first opening, I remember my friends and I being so excited about a “trendy bar” in our shire. I mean the Peninsula Tavern is ok when you want to put a fiver each way on the doggies but they aren’t going to able to knock up a dirty martini that is worth writing home about.
Swallow Bar is small in size but big in character. There is a bright open court yard out the back and inside, booths made with old train seats and luggage racks sits opposite the long bar. Soothing sounds of the golden oldies flows from the speakers, making me want to put my hair in a scarf, whack on some red lipstick and drink gin.
A bar that takes their cocktails seriously will have good coffee to make the popular espresso martini. They use Artisan Coffee here which made for a very decent cuppa with a nutty flavour and creamy finish. But let’s be honest, it’s not really the coffee we care about! Of course we also ordered a round of bloody marys ($16) to wash down brunch!
The menu here is designed to be shared as they have a small kitchen, so they make the meals and send them out as they are ready. Prices range from $16 for the Swallow Piadina – folded and grilled flat bread with zucchini, mozzarella, chilli, basil and parmesan up to $30 for steak frites – grilled Gingin beef fillet, frites, baby cos with tarragon vinaigrette.
The “Elizabeth David” ($18), named after the old British home cookery writer, is an omelette filled with gruyere cheese and sweet onion. Well seasoned and cheesy, this simple omelette delivered on flavour. After eating this, I think I finally understand what the fifth taste “umami” is. It’s that moorish savoury taste that makes you smack your lips together in delight at the tastiness. Which is exactly what I did after eating my share of this fluffy, cheesy breakfast staple. As an extra touch, the staff offered my sister Sarah some gluten free bread so she wouldn’t haven’t to longingly look at my husband and I eating our olive oil soaked sourdough.
Make no mistake, steak frites ($30) should be nothing like the steak and chips you might get across the railway line at the tavern. A delicate piece of grilled Gingin beef fillet had a touch of pleasing blush in the middle but a bitter charcoal crust made me recoil like a child given its first brussels sprout. It was burnt. We had split the steak into three pieces but it was all gone before I could really assess the damage. On reflection, we should have sent it back. On a positive note, the frites were exceptional. These french fries had soaked up all the tasty steak pan juices and soon all pleasantries had gone out the window as the three of us took as many frites as we could. You know would have really topped it off – some of that Dutch mayo.
Our third and final dish was the “Captains Cure” Ocean Trout ($24). Three crispy potato rostis were topped with cured ocean trout, horseradish cream and herb salad peppered with fresh dill and parsley. This was a memorable dish; the delicate flavours melting together like the soothing sounds of Elvis oozing from the speakers. I’m not usually a fan of seafood for breakfast but the Captain may have cured this aversion of mine.
The best thing about brunch is that it can start with coffee and end with cocktails. Swallow Bar will deliver on both of these plus give you some interesting food to go with it.
Next time you sleepily open your eyes at 11am on a Sunday, don’t fret about missing breakfast… go for brunch at the small bar worth getting out of bed for.198 Whatley Crescent, Maylands
Brunch served weekends 11am – 3pm