We had such a good time trying out the new Italian-themed Smith & Daughters dinner menu that we joined the same friends just a few weeks later to have a shot at brunch. It's had the same kind of makeover, with old favourites like the hash and the pancakes making way for breakfast pizza, meatballs and bombolini. Cindy kicked off with a grapefruit juice ($7.50) - it's great that they're doing the fresh juices again.
The four of us put our heads together and came up with a food plan - 3 savoury mains plus a couple of small dishes and then breakfast dessert. We started with the spaghetti frittata ($12), which is served at room temperature with a wonderful tomato sauce. This hit the spot, but we all needed some hot dishes to warm us up in these dreadful winter months.
That came with our savoury mains: parmesan scramble (with broccoli rabe, chilli, lemon and garlic, $19), the mushrooms and ricotta on toast (with garlic and crispy orgeno, $20) and the breakfast pizza (pesto, mozzarella, tofu scramble, prosciutto, fried capers, chilli, parmesan and rocket, $20).
Everyone was gaga for the two toasty dishes - the scramble has become a home-made favourite here since we got the cookbook, but the restaurant always delivers something better than we can whip up. It's eggy but not overwhelmingly so and paired perfectly with the lemony greens.
The mushrooms and ricotta were possibly even better. The mock-ricotta doesn't really mimic the cheese, but it's a rich savoury spread that brings out the best in the mixed mushroom combo on top.
The pizza was possibly my favourite - a crispy base topped with that glorious tofu along with some chunks of fresh chilli and little bursts of fried caper goodness. I'd ditch the rocket on pizza as a general principle, but otherwise this was top notch.
We eventually got our final savoury dish - the potato skins were sold out, but they served us up a different spud dish instead: roasted potatoes with an olive-y mash to give it a salt and vinegar-y flavour. (These came out late, so we got them for free.) We could barely make a dent in them at this point, but they were a huge hit (and we roundly enjoyed the leftovers at home later).
For breakfast dessert we couldn't resist an order of the bombolini (5 baby doughnuts filled with vanilla bean custard, $16) and a serve of the limoncello rice pudding (with a fresh citrus salad and rosemary vanilla ice cream, $15). They came out with candles and sparklers because Nat and I were both celebrating birthdays and because Mo is a delight.
The doughnuts are always delightful - hot and crispy, with a big spurt of delicious custard inside. The rice pudding was a slightly less impressive version of our dinner dessert - it was still fantastic, but it missed the crispy brulee top.
This new Italian version of Smith & Daughters is really kicking some goals - both our recent dinner and this brunch are among the best meals we've had since they opened. I love that they can reinvent themselves like this and can't wait to see what comes next (after we go back a few more times during this iteration of course).
You can also read about one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine of our previous visits. Nobody seems to have blogged it in the few weeks since our last visit.
Smith & Daughters
175 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Accessibility: The entry is flat and narrow and the tables are pretty crowded. The interior is dimly lit and loud at night but much brighter in the daytime. Toilets are located up several steps, are gendered and of standard dimension. We ordered at the table and paid at a high counter.