My Mistress in Clayfield has been around for a few years now, making it one of the survivors in the Brisbane brunch scene. We had visited not too long after it initially opened, and were curious as to how it had evolved in the intervening years.
Located along busy Sandgate Road, it is tucked away slightly back from the busy road, and camouflaged by hedges and twisting vines. The sign, “My Mistress”, is barely visible above the entrance, also almost covered by the greenery.
A sign at the entrance indicated to wait to be seated, and to sign in (with a QR code) if dining in. It was not long before staff greeted us, as they were going between the indoor and outdoor areas to bring food to people seated at the tables outside.
When we indicated that we would like to dine in, we were asked if we would like to sit inside or outside. We opted to be inside, to be well away from the traffic. The outdoor area was quite pleasant though, with the greenery giving it a park feel. It is also sheltered by shade sails, giving it some protection from the elements.
The interior, in contrast, has a darker, industrial vibe. Red brick walls, polished concrete floors, and a ceiling painted black set the tone. It is kept from feeling too claustrophobic by the large glass windows, which let plenty of natural light in, and planters of greenery hanging over the windows and at the counter. Adding to the industrial feel, the tables are chunky, wooden tables, with a couple of them being long tables that would fit a large group, or can fit several communal diners (with appropriate spacing).
Written on a butcher sheet roll on one of the walls was a definition of “Mistress”, clarifying that here they meant it to mean “a woman in a position of authority”, as opposed to the other, less esteemed definition. In the very beginning, they didn’t have that definition up, and the menu still carries the other connotations, with sections titled “Main Affair” and “On The Side”, and similarly themed dish names. It makes visiting the eatery feel a bit against the sisterhood..
Item titles aside, the menu has a variety of dishes with components that pique interest, for instance brioche french toast or okonomiyaki. We quite quickly narrowed our selections down, and placed our orders.
Drinks arrived first. The long black was steaming hot, and refreshing, with a strong finish.
The iced chocolate was a good balance of chocolate and mild sweetness. It was had without ice cream, but still well chilled.
On another visit, we ordered one of the smoothies made on coconut milk. It turned out that this was a pre-made product, which we were less than enthused about. It was just an odd texture, and not particularly delicious.
The components of the Strip Tease immediately caught our attention. The menu described it as Southern fried buttermilk chicken, baked waffles, smashed avocado, chilli mayonnaise, and maple syrup. Who could go past that? The aroma of maple syrup hit us as soon as the dish was brought to the table. It was an impressive stack, with the waffles in alternating layers with avocado, and topped with strips of fried chicken, glistening with syrup.
It did take progressive dismantling to get to the components. The waffles had a doughnutty texture, with a bit of crunch to the golden outside, and not too dense inside. The buttermilk fried chicken had a good contrasting saltiness, and a bit of spicy kick. They too had crunch on the outside, and, pleasingly, were not dry on the inside. The avocado provided creamy texture to the dish, and there was a good amount of it, rather than just being token. The mayonnaise was tart and tangy, and also had some heat to it. Despite the maple syrup, it wasn’t too cloyingly sweet or heavy. The flavours and textures of this dish had good variance. This was a dish we would eat again (and have).
The other dish we had was the Eggs Monica. This had sweet potato, feta, corn, and zucchini fritters, with smashed avocado, fried egg, rocket, tomato relish, and heirloom tomatoes. These too were served in a stack, though a less towering one. Though we were initially worried that the vegetable fritters might be burnt, given their rather scorched appearance, they actually weren’t. They were crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside, with the sweet potato and zucchini in fine strips, creating a rosti-like texture (a proper rosti). The fritters had the right amount of seasoning, so they had a savoury note, without being over-salted. Again, there was a good amount of avocado between the fritters. The fried egg still had a runny yolk. The heirloom tomatoes were not only a visually different colour pop, but also had subtle flavour differences between them. It was a better dish than we expected. Of note though, when we had the same dish on a return visit, the fritters were stodgier and more doughy, so consistency is something they may need to work on.
My Mistress has managed to stick around in an increasingly populated brunch scene. There is enough interest and variety in the dishes they offer to make them stand out above being more than just a corner-store neighbourhood cafe. Check them out if you are on the northside.
Food: 3/4 (would have been better if they were consistent)
Price point: $18 to $25 for items more substantial than an acai bowl or bagel with spreads. Our dishes $21 each.
Address: 4011/515 Sandgate Rd, Clayfield
Phone: 07 3256 0590
Website: My Mistress