Shakespeare can get under your skin. I remember studying Hamlet in high school, learning the origin of quotes which still get tossed around in casual conversation. There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. To be, or not to be: that is the question. To thine own self be true ... So I was thrilled to discover a Shakespearean-inspired cafe in downtown Kenmore. Method to the Madness, its very name a nod to the famous Bard, opened its doors in early December 2018.
Method to the Madness has a breezy and spacious interior. Author image.
Step inside this airy space (the former home of an Italian restaurant) and you'll find quotes on the walls, a bookshelf full of literature and a two-page menu featuring dishes named after some of Shakespeare's most famous plays and lines. Method to the Madness was hatched by Reagan Nongkhlaw and Urvik Bhalani whose mates suggested they were bonkers for wanting to move from Melbourne to Brisbane to open their own cafe. Fortunately, they didn't listen, and Method to the Madness morphed from a crazy idea into a delicious reality. Reagan's reading of Shakespeare - also in school - further influenced the theme of the cafe.
The 'banana leaf': Keralan style baked barramundi with gado gado. Author image.
On the extensive breakfast menu are dishes including the Iron Henry (slices of fried polenta and halloumi, with wilted spinach, poached eggs, blistered cherry tomatoes and hazelnut dust); O fortune mushroom (wild mushrooms, served with duck egg, sautéed greens, walnuts and herbed mascarpone on rye bread); and A serpent's egg your way (two eggs with hash brown fries and tomato relish on sourdough). The Shakespearean-named smoothies are an additional delight. For instance, there's the Romeo and Juliet (tropical juice, mango, banana, and strawberry sorbet) and the alcoholic Give the devil his due (lime and orange juice, strawberry sorbet, strawberries and white rum).
The lunch menu is small but selective, offering six carefully crafted dishes. These include O that way madness lies (crispy chilli pork burger with onion jam, herb oil, apple slaw, pickled veggies and crispy chats); and The Merchant of Venice (Italian herbed drumstick, romesco, olive caper berry salsa, burnt mozzarella béchamel and fried basil). My companion chose the Keralan style baked barramundi served in a banana leaf with gado gado salad on the side - which was spicy, fragrant and colourful. There's a solid kids' menu featuring items like ham and cheese toasties and pancakes. And in 2019, Method to the Madness will open for dinner (and, crucially, bar) service.