On Sunday morning, Michael and I headed to Bruswick for breakfast and a few errands. Between reading the new Cheap Eats guide and the breakfast blog, Michael had developed a short-list of untried but promising sources for our first feed of the day. We checked out Ray, a small cafe with a sizable reputation, and managed to find a couple of vacant stools at the bar. There was no chance of a table for two at 9:30am!
Ray has a pleasant but hipster-ish atmosphere. Its designer-shabby decor and young trendy staff offer no hint that the menu will be inspired by Middle Eastern flavours. Yet the menu is truly inspired: beyond the now-common toasted pide, the egg-based breakfasts also include ingredients such as pesto, dukkah, labna, feta and lamb kofta. A good proportion of them are vegetarian, and Michael chose the poached eggs (free range, natch) with capsicum pesto, spinach and feta ($10). While dukkah was also listed as an ingredient, they were all out - thankfully the waitress warned Michael of that as he ordered so his expectations were reigned in appropriately.
For the sweeth tooth, Ray has French toast with sweet labna and "Arabian style Bircher muesli with cream, pistachios, poached fruit and honey" ($7). I ordered a chilled serving of the latter. Though muesli is often the choice of the calorie-conscious eater, this version is the domain of the dessert lover! This is clear from the first spoonful - a hit of cream and intensely flavoured plum and apricot, the expected yoghurt tang and chewy cereal are completely absent. As I worked my way down the glass the oat quotient increased, and I couldn't manage the last spoonful of too-dry carbs. I suppose this imbalance could be avoided with the use of a more conventional cereal receptacle but it's my only small quibble against a thoroughly satisfying dish.
Michael was likewise happy with his savoury choice and enjoyed their coffee so much he ordered a second one, despite the long wait we'd witnessed for caffeine fixes. Even with his two cups, our bill came to only $23! This is probably the best-value breakfast we've encountered thus far for food vibrant in colour and taste.
Address: 332 Victoria St, Brunswick
Ph: 9380 8593
Price: vegetarian breakfasts $4.50 - $10