On a warm, sunny Sunday I make my way to Orto Trading Co, which was highly recommended to me by a handful of people. The brunch menu is all-day, and that always ranks high in my books. I'm a big supporter of breakfast foods at non-breakfast hours.
There's an abundance of eggs on the brunch menu - much to the dismay of my brunch partner du jour BR, who is allergic to eggs. I go for the Breakfast Platter ($14), which is presented on a rustic wooden board. It's a smorgasbord of a soft-boiled egg, grilled asparagus, light rye soldiers, muesli, ricotta and seasonal fruits.
I would have liked a saltier kind of cheese instead of the ricotta - say goat's cheese or feta to balance out the plainness of the egg, asparagus and soldiers. But I'm a huge fan of the fact that there are both sweet and savoury elements on one board. I'm one of those people who feels the need to eat something sweet after having a meal, and this dish satisfied both cravings immediately.
BR has the Potato hash ($18) with Berkshire Gypsy ham, fresh tomato, avocado, lemon dressed rocket, asparagus and a poached egg. BR orders the dish minus the egg and with an amped up chunk of shaved ham on the side instead. The potato hash stack is wonderful and crispy. And the rocket has just the right amount of lemon dressing.
The service at Orto is pretty listless and inattentive, as BR points out. But I have to say I got used to this kind of service at trendy Surry Hills cafes. It's now at that point where I'm prone to expect blasť, too-cool-for-school service at eateries. But BR makes a valid point. It would be nice if the wait staff came over and asked if we'd like another coffee, or to place salt and pepper on our table without having to ask. Perhaps in an ideal world.
All in all though, Orto Trading Co is tucked away in a nice little spot of Surry Hills with a cool, recycle-themed fit-out. Bottles of various shapes and sizes hang from the ceiling near the bar, and are filled with light bulbs. Potted plants are scattered across the venue. Open spaces, large windows and white-and-wooden furnishing make for a welcoming cafe. The outside area is especially lovely when you're soaking up the sun, slurping on a breakfast cocktail.
I'll have to come back for the Strawberry, watermelon and feta salad, which sounds pretty perfect for summer. The Breaky hot dog is also tempting me. I'm also interested to come back and see what they have to offer for dinner.