Born in Brunswick is a striking space. While obviously taking inspiration from Melbourne’s café scene, this eye-catching North Hobart café would look equally at home in Sydney.
While your eye is caught by the statement modern antler light hanging in a shaft of natural light, once seated your field of vision expands to take in the elegant simplicity of polished concrete floors and padded grey fabric banquettes teamed with pale wooden counters, wall panels and furniture boasting lovely Scandinavian-inspired curves.
The neutral tones are warmed up externally with bird life murals and internally with dripping fronds of exotic plant life. After writing review after review last year noting Sydney’s fake plant décor obsession in cafes across town, I’m delighted to see such beautiful living plants thriving inside this light-filled space. “The plants take quite a bit of maintenance but [are] so worth it,” explained Con Vailas. Vailas, whose face might be familiar from Masterchef, is a native Tasmanian, who returned to the state to open this eatery in late 2016.
After the departure of the original head chef, Josh Retzer, to Old Wharf Restaurant, Born in Brunswick’s kitchen has been placed in the young hands of Brianna Crowley. Crowley, who is just 23, started with this business as an apprentice, though if her Butter Poached Crab and Curry Scramble ($27) is anything to go by, she’s a young gun chef well worth keeping an eye on.
Served on a high-rise, airy crumpet (actually the best crumpet I’ve eaten in a café), Crowley's scrambled eggs are flavoured with a from-scratch curry made using fresh, aromatic spices and a decent hit of chilli. The tumbling eggs are scattered with moist flakes of tasty, butter-poached crab under a garland of herbs, with scattered puffed grains adding some texture. It all adds up to an incredibly tasty, well-conceived and original dish I’d love to eat again.
Plant life and food really do go hand in hand, as you’ll see from the fragrant herbs topping the Potato and Pecorino Hash ($23). Stacked high on a puddle of charred eggplant cream, you’ll find the crisp-crumbed hash and a fried egg slathered with fermented tomato and corn salsa then scattered with seeds.
The complex plating takes a bit of time, as you can watch at the very open, low pass. As the large-ish space filled up around us, I watched the three tattooed chefs skillfully dance around each other to complete their pretty plates faster than service staff could take them away.
While there’s a definite focus on buying local, small-farm produce evident across the menu, the coffee is roasted by Industry Beans in Melbourne. It’s good in a Latte ($4) but liking coffee darker and throatier, I enjoy it more in my dining companion’s strong Flat White ($4).
This was definitely my best breakfast during my week-long visit to Hobart.
Born in Brunswick
410 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart
Ph: (0438) 250 515
Heading to Tasmania? Does My Bomb Look Big In This? has you covered...
The Taste of Tasmania: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 & Part 4.
Breakfast (Hobart): Born in Brunswick, Dandy Lane, Room for a Pony & Macquarie St. Food Store.
Lunch (near Hobart): Willie Smith's Apple Shed & The Dunalley Store.
Dinner (Hobart): The Source, Franklin, Frank & Templo.
Beyond Hobart: Freycinet Marine Farm, Harvest Launceston & Mudbar Restaurant.