It has gotten harder to keep up with new openings since the cafe scene in Brisbane has taken off. We had heard murmurings about The Brunswick Project opening a few months ago, but then had forgotten about it until we were in the area for an errand.
Located on Brunswick Street, near other eateries and the New Farm Cinemas, The Brunswick Project is housed in a converted white-painted cottage. It was busy late on a Saturday morning, patrons occupying most of the seating on the covered veranda. There was more space indoors, and when we caught the attention of waitstaff, we were told we could sit at any of the unoccupied tables we liked.
There was a large bar height table in the middle of the room, with tall copper coloured stools for communal seating. Siphon coffee equipment towered over the other table decor of plants in glass pots. We chose instead to sit at the regular height wood-topped tables at the side of the room, with bench seats along the wall with brown padded cushions, and bentwood chairs in white on the other sides.
The interior of the eatery had white walls and a white ceiling, catching and reflecting the light from outside, brightening the space. The wooden tables and floor, and copper-coloured fittings like the lamp shades and hanging jugs behind the counter added warm tones, keeping it from all looking too clinical. Baskets of greenery hung from the ceiling, softening the look further. There were no pictures hanging on the wall, but a large line drawing in black on one of the walls was an eye-catching feature.
We were there before the chill of winter had set in, and it was actually a somewhat warm day. Inside, it was a bit stuffy, despite the doors to the outside being wide open. There were a couple of ceiling fans in the outside area, but none inside. One hopes they have plans for when it hits actual summer. Grungy music was playing in the background, drums and bass just audible above the crowd babble.
Cold water and menus were soon brought out to us. The lunch menu had not started yet, so we had just the all day breakfast items to choose from. The Matcha Hotcakes came under serious consideration, but in the end we decided on the Eggs benedict and the Grilled haloumi and potato rosti.
We should mention that the waitstaff were attentive to patron flow, and, while not rushing us to decide, did let us know that they wanted to try to put our order through to the kitchen before a large table that was also soon to order, so as to avoid us having to wait for all of their food to be prepared first.
Our iced lattes arrived first. They were nicely chilled, and had a good nutty note.
When the dishes were brought out, the first thing we noted was that they were small plates, with underwhelmingly small servings of food on them for what they were priced at.
The cutlery brought to the table was rather stylish, plated in a dark gunmetal shade, with a slender, elongated silhouette. It was a bit gangly to use, however, due to its stretched shape and heavier than typical weight.
The Grilled haloumi and potato rosti came with roasted beetroots, labneh, a poached egg, finger lime, and pomegranate dressing. The rosti was effectively mashed potato coated in potato noodles. Those potato strips that made the outer crust were crunchy. The inside though, lacked more than a mashed potato texture. The haloumi was well cooked, browned on the outside, and not rubbery. The roasted beetroots were tender, and retained their own mild flavour. The small poached egg with it seemed to have somehow have lost much of its egg white en route to the plate. The labneh was tart, and didn’t seem like the right thing to try to tie the other components together. The individual parts of the dish were probably alright, but it didn’t really work as a whole.
The menu listed the Eggs benedict as coming with house made spelt English muffins with streaky bacon, apple cider hollandaise, pickled heirloom carrots, and radish. The muffins were dense, reminding us of damper. There were no toasty bits and no crunch, just that tough, heavy texture. The streaky bacon was just cooked, and had a smoky flavour. The hollandaise had a tart note, but it was not discernibly special as apple cider vinegar rather than any other old vinegar. The pickled carrots and radish slices added colour to the presentation and a little crunch. This dish also didn’t impress. It was essentially bacon and eggs, and by the time we were about halfway through, it was just stodgy.
The Brunswick Project is stylishly decorated, but they will need to make some adjustments to ventilation for patron comfort with the changes of seasons. The waitstaff were on the ball. The letdown though, was really the food. It seemed very much style over substance. Perhaps the location tax applies to the prices of the dishes, but that just added insult to injury. At this stage, it isn’t an eatery we can recommend.
Price point: $15.50 to $22 for things more substantial than toppings on toast. Dishes we ordered were $18 and $18.50.
Address: 726 Brunswick St, New Farm
Phone: 07 3254 0670
Website: The Brunswick Project