Despite the modern look, there’s a relaxed, beachside charm about Little Collins that makes it amenable to brunch before hitting nearby Freshwater Beach. The beach is said to be the home of Australian surfing, because back in 1914, it was where Duke Kahanamoku first demonstrated the Hawaiian surfing technique on a board made from Australian timber. Friendly staff offer up directions to the beach and menu recommendations with ease, meaning we’re soon ensconced with summery fresh juices, enjoying the gentle breeze.
I opt for the Immune Booster ($7/regular) teaming carrot and orange with the subtle suggestion of ginger. My dining companion opts for the watermelon-heavy Fruity ($7/regular) blend with apple, orange and pineapple that just wants for a bit of chilling.
Exposed to the street on two sides, the café has clean, modern lines. Bare bones wooden lampshades and black wire chairs are stylish, without being overdone.
A large glass bowl of white lilies adorns a central communal table, though most diners opt to sit in the fringing ring of smaller tables.
Like the décor, the menu is modern without being ostentatious; and the ubiquitous smashed avocado is nowhere to be seen. In its place, Smashed Peas ($15.50) will happily address any urge for something green. The good green ship sails onto our table using three masts created from crisp speck and tasty Parmesan chips stuck into blobs of tangy labne over a hull of toasted sourdough.
Corn Fritters ($18) are also nicely plated, with the trio of slightly crumbly fritters packed with sweet corn sitting under a hat of house-made tomato chutney, guacamole and a poached egg. The chutney is the dish’s standout, with the sweetness of the tomatoes easily balanced by a squeeze from the accompanying lemon wedges.
You can also decide how just much maple syrup to add to the Collins Hotcake ($17), because it comes in a little jug. This dish is the visual star of our brunch. It's hotcake singular - a large, golden pan-sized hotcake that sits somewhere between sponge and pancake in texture, decorated with a wreath of fresh seasonal fruit, berry compote, slivered nuts and edible flowers around a quenelle of thick cream. It's decadent but with a wonderfully old-fashioned feel, like eating cake with jam and cream - perfect for a two-spoon tango before hitting the sand.
6-8 Lawrence Street, Freshwater
Ph: (02) 9938 5086