Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Albert Street Food & Wine

January 2016: Albert Street has had a redesign and has reopened as Albert & Sydney

March 10, 2012
Albert Street Food & Wine is the newish home of ex-Il Fornaio and Masterchef alumnus Phillipa Sibley. It's been open since the start of the year and we decided it was time we checked it out. Pro tip: going out for breakfast in Brunswick is a lot easier on Golden Plains or Meredith weekends - we waltzed in at 9:00 or so and had our pick of the tables. It's a lovely fit-out: they've taken an old bank and trendied it up beautifully. The bank vault is the wine storage room, the tables are made of recycled basketball courts - it's clear that no expense has been spared in creating an impressive space.

The breakfast menu is fairly short - vegos have the choice of half a dozen or so dishes, almost none of which appear to be vegan by default, although Marieke found them to be very helpful during the dinner service so it's probably worth asking them what they can do for you.

Cindy ordered off the specials - baked ricotta with figs (about $14). This was a bit cake-ier than we expected - Cindy suspected there was more to the batter than just ricotta. The edges were dry and crispy (maybe a little too dry), while the middle was a figgy, cheesy, pudding. The almonds were a nice touch.

I hummed and hawed for a while before settling on the mushroom and tallegio omelette ($16). I've often been disappointed by omelettes, but this was a pretty well executed version - light and fluffy eggs, stuffed with gooey, pungent cheese and a variety of tasty mushrooms. The only risk is the tallegio - I usually love the stuff but it's probably a bit intense for the first meal of the day.

Cindy spent half the meal looking over my shoulder at the pastry selection - there's plenty to admire, although we were both restrained enough to walk out without sampling any of it this time.

Neither of us were crazy about our meals, but they were decent enough breakfasts in a pretty lovely environment (although the generic Cafe del Mar soundalike music got pretty infuriating after a while). The service was friendly but not super efficient (Cindy asked the waiter what was in the ricotta batter and he said, "Ummm, just what's normally in ricotta,") and the coffee was only adequate (I think they struggled with soy for some reason - the milk froth was weird and a bit gross). We probably won't rush back for brekkie, but they've been getting excellent reviews for dinners (see below) and Phillipa Sibley's desserts are legendary, so we'll definitely be giving them another chance to impress.

There haven't been too many reviews of Albert St at breakfast time, although both nightowlsite and ragingyoghut really enjoyed it. Lots of people have raved about the lunch and dinner options: Epicureaddict, I'm so hungree, whereiatelastnight, Once a Waitress, Sharking for chips and drinks, A Place A Day and Foodie About Town really liked it, while The Chronicles of Ms I-Hua has a more mixed review.

Albert St Food and Wine
382 Sydney Road (cnr Albert), Brunswick
8354 6600
Breakfasts $6-$16

Accessibility: Albert St has a ramped entryway and is fairly roomy inside. Ordering and payment happens at the table. We didn't visit the bathrooms.

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