If you have read Shakespeare through your schooling days, or at your own leisure, you may appreciate the bent of Method to the Madness in Kenmore. The eatery name caught our attention when it first opened a few months ago, but as it was all the way on the other side of town, we put off visiting until one day when we felt particularly in need of a new place to go.
Located in an enclave of shops near the Kenmore Plaza Shopping Centre, Method to the Madness appears unassuming from the outside, like your regular suburban local neighbourhood cafe. Despite the name, the exterior is a conventional cream shade, rather than an Alice in Wonderland riot of colours. It is, at least, clearly signed, with the name of the cafe clearly displayed above the entrance.
Once through the doors, you find yourself in a larger space than you might expect. You come to the service area and kitchen cooking area as soon as you walk in, which is a different layout from the usual, but it did mean that staff could immediately see when patrons came in. We were greeted, and promptly shown to a table.
The seating area, as mentioned, is quite large, with half clearly indoors and air-conditioned, and another half covered with more shed-like roofing, ventilated with fans and whirlybirds. It was all enclosed though, with large glass windows at the front and translucent sections of the more outdoor-like section letting plenty of natural light in.
There was a range of different seating arrangements available, from round wood-topped tables that would accommodate two along grey cushioned bench seats, to bar-height tables and seats that would also fit two, to larger tall tables. We began at one of the smaller round tables, but ended up moving to a large communal table so as to have room for the dishes as well as newspapers (and for photos).
The interior decor was simple but modern. Shakespeare quotes printed on a couple of the walls appropriately tied back into the name of the eatery. Pop ballads played softly in the background. The ventilation system for the kitchen must have been good, because despite its prominent location in the eatery space, cooking smells did not leach out to the seating area.
We were brought water and menus soon after we had been seated. The food menus were printed on single large sheets, with breakfast items on one side (available all day), and lunch items on the other side (available from 1030 to 1500), as well as a selection of dishes for kids. Entertainingly, most of the dishes were named as phrases from Shakespeare (with exceptions like the Poke bowl – that would have been from before his time). The other aspect of the menu, which was what had piqued our interest and drawn us to think about visiting Method to the Madness, was the actual content of the dishes. They contained a variety of cultural influences, for instance the Chickpea Battalion, with chickpea pakora, sauteed greens, mushrooms, cauliflower, hummus, and nuts, Fit for the Gods, with Middle Eastern pulled lamb, baba ganoush, pumpkin, pickles, quinoa, fried egg, and pita bread, and A Lusty Winter, which had Thai pulled duck panang curry and jasmine rice.
We deliberated between many interesting options for quite a while (apologies to the patient waitstaff), but when it came down to it, it was a couple of jazzed up classic dishes that eventually won our favour. We ordered the O Fortune Mushroom, and the Young In Limbs.
Beginning with drinks, the flat white had good strength of flavour and microfoam texture.
For something different, we also ordered a tumeric soy latte. It was nicely spiced, and had distinctly cinnamon notes. It had a rich foam on top, and was milky beneath that. The drink was sweetened, but not too much so.
The O Fortune Mushroom was listed in the menu as having wild mushrooms, pumpkin smash, two poached eggs, nuts, cave cheese, and mascarpone. It arrived appetisingly presented, components heaped on a thick slice of toast, shaved cheese and chopped nuts scattered over the top of it all. The poached eggs had soft yolks that might have been runny if we had cut into them earlier, but getting the right pictures took a little time.. The layer of melted cave cheese was richly creamy, and had a nutty, slightly savoury flavour. The smashed pumpkin layer beneath that gave the dish a light, natural sweetness, and made it more filling. The toast that made the foundation of the dish was from Brasserie Bread. We had been to a Brasserie Bread event in the past, and had learned about the care and detail that goes into their products, all the way down to selecting the producers that supply their flour. It shows in the bread they turn out, which has a springy, stretchy chew, and a crunchy crust. The soft textures of the other components contrasted well with those of the bread. There was a little more crunch from the chopped nuts, and a hint of saltiness from the shaved cheese. It was certainly a moreish dish overall. The only thing we would have liked was for it to be more seasoned.
Young In Limbs was a burger with beef short ribs, asian slaw, onion rings, Madness secret sauce, and chips. The burger was served as an impressive tower, with the onion rings adding height under the top bun. The fries were served to the side of it, in a wire basket, along with a dish of sauce. Although it was visually striking, we had to dismantle the stack to be able to eat it, putting most of the onion rings beside it on the plate. The beef pulled apart easily, and had good meaty flavour. The secret sauce was creamy and slightly spicy. The slaw had sweet and salty dressing, and when eaten together, the flavours certainly went well with the meat. The buns are often an afterthought component of a burger. In this case though, they were fluffy and soft on the inside, and distinctly crisp on the outside. The onion rings were clearly house-made rather than commercial, being thin slices of onion that were battered and fried. They had a natural caramelised sweetness from this. The steak-cut fries were just crisp outside, and well seasoned.
Visit Method to the Madness if you are after brunch with a twist. Rather than being highbrow and stuffy, despite the literary references, in reality, as the bard intended with his plays, it is relaxed and appeals to a broad range of tastes. Having most of the dishes available as All day breakfast options is an extra bonus, in case it takes you time to get there from some distance away.
Price point: $17.90 to $24.50 for more than spreads on toast.
Value: This is pushing the upper end for brunch prices in Brisbane (though many other eateries are also drifting up, and more so in some suburbs), but they are clearly using good quality components. Alright, for what you get.
Address: 3/9 Marshall Ln, Kenmore
Phone: 07 3706 3793
Website: Method to the Madness