Many people consider them a guilty pleasure, but I've never understood the appeal of hash browns. From an eater's perspective, they've always struck me as too greasy, and from a cook's point of view, too little reward for effort. (The name apparently comes from the French hacher, which means to chop up, and so if you're going to go to all that trouble, then why not just make fries?) But then a hash brown came on a breakfast plate I ordered at Snag & Brown and it was that classic lightbulb moment. My tastebuds danced, my eyes rolled back in my head, and I let out a sigh of satisfaction. Ahh, now I get it!
My breakfast also included a house-made sausage filled with chicken, hazelnut, sweet potato and caramelised onion, served with leafy greens, grilled dark Vienna bread with a seedy, nutty depth to it, and made-from-scratch tomato sauce. And then there were the eggs - slow poached whole at a constant temperature of 63 degrees for 1 to 1.5 hours. The result? The fluffiest egg whites encasing silky, velvety, yolks. Divine.
Porcini, Swiss brown and enoki mushroom ragout. Author image.
Snag & Brown's hash browns are both flavoursome and fulsome. They come in two different varieties - the classic, which combines potato, caramelised onion and rosemary, and the daily special, which adds other intriguing ingredients (including eggplant, on the day we visited). Other breakfast items at Snag & Brown include double-smoked maple bacon with all the trimmings, and mixed mushroom ragout with truffle oil, porcini foam and mushroom duxelles.
If you're seeking something sweeter, try the banana bread French toast with rhubarb compote, toasted macadamia nuts, coconut-cinnamon crumble, and maple syrup; or warm wild berry and coconut rice pudding with blood orange, kiwifruit, pistachio sponge and toasted hazelnuts. Both are served with lemon-vanilla mascarpone.
Because we arrived at Snag & Brown on the cusp of breakfast and lunch, my companion ordered the medley of mushroom risotto, with fresh basil, white wine and parmesan cheese. We added a serve of potato twirls with aioli. Other lunch options include flash fried calamari with mild chilli, crunchy garlic flakes, almond flakes, curry leaves, burnt lemon, and a salad of heirloom tomatoes, pickled beetroot, bocconcini, radish, capers and watercress. That's for next time.
Located in the former premises of Azafran Restaurant, Snag & Brown is located in a suburban street in Annerley, surrounded by elegant Queenslanders with well-tended gardens. Leafy fertile foliage and brightly-coloured flowers surround the restaurant and there are a range of seating areas to suit different moods. We sat under cover on a breezy deck, but there's also a laneway and out-the-front alfresco seating under the shade of umbrellas (and with water bowls for canine companions, which makes this place pretty close to perfect in my books). A more formal style dining room is also available out the back.
Snag & Brown is also introducing a new initiative called 'Dinners in December', from Wednesdays to Saturdays starting on Thursday 1 December. The focus will be on tapas-style dishes and shared plates, encouraging diners to come together as the Christmas season rolls on in. All being well, the restaurant will continue offering dinners in the New Year.