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I think I've found a new Brisbane breakfast favourite. Granted, I've only been there just the once, but the taste of the heavenly breakfast is still fresh on my tastebuds, that it's all but certain it's only a matter of time until I return.
Au Cirque, a split level French café on New Farm's thoroughfare Brunswick Street, is almost too popular for it's size and waiting on weekends is all but guaranteed. I'm normally not too fond of the waiting-on-the-footpath-for-a-table foxtrot, but when there are stools and it's a well run and organised establishment like Au Cirque it's definitely tolerable.
As soon as we arrived, the head-waiter took our names, and it was about 10 minutes later a table had become available. Seated in the main dining area opposite the coffee machine, I had the chances to observe the staff all communicating in French to one another. I've never worked in a café, but I can imagine it's necessary to have one person in charge and delegating duties. Despite the place being packed to the rafters, service was streamlined and organised in the pint sized venue. It's definitely the place where you get the impression the service (and food) are going to be consistently up to standard on each visit.
Split over two levels, the interior of Au Cirque is warm and inviting, if not traditional. As a regular café goer, I normally have a tendency to admiring the light fittings, mismatched furniture and décor of various venues over my coffee. It was it was almost refreshing to find that there we no décor gimmicks at Au Cirque. Between the simple timber flooring and speckled gold and maroon wallpaper, the establishment lets the menu do most of the talking.
And what a menu it was. Maybe I've had too many breakfast outings recently and become slightly jaded, but it's been a while since I've found a breakfast menu that I can get excited over. Between the usual suspects of Acai bowls, poached eggs and Avocado and feta on Rye it was great to see the inventive and inspired French and European influence making an appearance in many of the breakfast dishes.
Our party of three decided on the Turkish Eggs, Rueben Sandwich and the Vego Chowdown. The Turkish eggs ($15) comprised of soft poached eggs in a caramelised French shallot yoghurt with tomato salsa and Turkish bread soldiers. Word on the street was that it was delicious with the savoury yogurt, watercress and tomato salsa complementing the dipped eggs.
It was also hard to fault the Vego Chowdown ($18), where you get a bit of everything including poached eggs, dukkah, potato rosti, spinach, avocado, mushrooms and oven roasted tomatoes with onion jam on toasted sourdough. Haloumi was added as a side because lets be honest – haloumi is pretty much a breakfast food of the gods.
Vego chowdown $18 gives hungry breakfasters a bit of everything
On my plate was the open Reuben sandwich ($14), stacked with shredded corned beef, sliced pickles and sauerkraut and topped with melted Jarlsberg cheese and a dill garnish. The sauerkraut was tangy without being mushy or soggy and the sandwich was the perfect combination of tart flavours, with all the comfort of melted cheese and crusty bread.
I'll have 'Reuben' make me one of his sandwiches anyday
The coffee at Au Cirque was also up to scratch. Brewing full strength Genovese coffee with all the prowess of a European barista, the waitstaff and the barista communicated in their native French, placing orders and pumping out a continuous line of coffees without stress or confusion. The cappuccino, latte and long black all got the tick of approval. Even better, for three coffees and three excellent breakfast we only paid $62.00 – definitely what can be considered good value. I've paid much more for crap coffee and had uninspiring breakfasts at around the 20 dollar mark, so the price point is definitely another tick in the box for Au Cirque name.
Depsite the wait and the fact that you may be slightly cramped, I'm relieved to find another top notch breakfast in Brisbane, and I'm definitely excited to go back. Other brunch establishments around the city should take note: Au Cirque is the perfect example of how you should offer a breakfast and brunch menu to hungry hordes on a busy weekend morning.