Florentine

Posted on November 15, 2010

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I’ve gone out a bit on a limb these days, extending myself in all sorts of ways…even brunching in Brighton. I think I can safely say it was the first time I dined at one of the local hangouts there. After some research, I marked out Florentine (24 Church Street, Brighton VIC) as the one to try. Buy 1 get 1 free main offer in the Entertainment Book: check, good reviews on Urban Spoon: check; and I’m never one to stray far from a discount from a reputable venue.

In this case, the internet did not lie, it was definitely one of the more popular eateries on the main strip. The décor was nice, but nothing to write home about. White tablecloths add a touch of fanciness, but it was otherwise rather plain. It was somewhat caught in between a fine dining establishment and nice café. I actually find it a bit of an odd setup and the vibe is a bit conflicted. On one hand, things seem a bit prim and proper with tablecloths and waiters in a full uniform of brown shirts and black pants with black aprons and then on the other hand, it looks like they’re trying to appear all chilled and lazy Sunday lunch like. In all fairness, it probably would be regarded as a chilled café for the chinos/linen pants wearing set, so the vibe would work for some – just not yours truly.

The crowd was fairy mixed in terms of age, young couples, old couples, families with kids; they were all eating out at Florentine that day. Demographics wise, it was a bit same same, not much in terms of multiculturalism in this part of the world (refer to above photograph for required evidence). Being before 11am, we were limited to the small breakfast menu. Dishes were pretty stock standard offerings. Eggs Benedict, eggs Florentine, French toast, pancakes, museli and that’s pretty much it. The most imaginative on the list would have to be the Spanish eggs in slow cooked beans with roasted tomato and chorizo. I’m not a fan of baked beans even if it’s done gourmet, so I didn’t try any of it, but I’m told it had quite a nice flavour through it and the egg was still oozing when pierced – a sure sign of a good egg!

I had the rather simpler dish of scrambled eggs with a side of bacon. Oh how boring you say. But here’s the thing: it is actually VERY hard to find good scrambled eggs when dining out. I’ve been burnt countless times. Overly milky clumps of white eggs, overcooked rubbery eggs, overcooked milky clumps; yup I’ve tried all the ways you can get scrambled eggs wrong. In fact, after a particularly nasty experience where I couldn’t even finish half the serve, I stopped ordering scrambled eggs out. Poached or sunny side ups are much safer options. So imagine my curiousity when I spied plates of lusciously gooey yellow scrambled eggs being feasted upon on nearby tables. Hence, my order was not as boring as you might have thought; it was calculated risk on my part!

The verdict? It was as good as it looked. Soft gooey eggs that still tasted of egg and not of milk, cooked to perfection. I was won over. So what if I think they have an odd fit out/vibe? I’m not one to care about peripherals like that if the food quality and value lines up. Oh and on that point, the pricing is fairly standard for this level as well, around $10 for a serve of eggs, $3 for sides and the Spanish eggs weighing in at the $15 mark. The breakfast menu may be small, but they do it well which is what counts (the French toast on the next table looked rather delectable). And go on, try their scrambled eggs, I’ve certainly yet to find a better version. In fact, after that experience I got a bit too daring and ordered it at another establishment, only to be disappointed with overcooked rubbery cubes of what they tried to pass as egg. So yes, based purely on their scrambled eggs of that day (I am not willing to guarantee those results are replicable), I am agreeing with the masses in saying the food is good.

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