Wednesday, December 8, 2010

would you like some breakfast with your butter, madame?

Ah, the Subi Hotel; that lovely, quaint old building on Rokeby Road which is the spirtual (as in tequila) homeland of frustrated Cheek-goers when the line outside Red Sea becomes too foul to bear.

As it turns out, they also do a delicious french toast.

Annie and I decided to hit up this place for breakfast to start off our epic day of boutique shopping on Tuesday morning. After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and instrumental to the success or failure of any strenuous undertaking. We picked a table outside in a shady corner, and had the whole garden to ourselves. It was that beautiful summer morning kind of air: cool and crisp, not a trace of humidity and lots of sunlight. Everything on the tables was so white, clean and simple.

The Subi Hotel restaurant wasn't so busy, about half were business folk and the other half were your standard golden triangle couples in their forties, going about their daily business of chewing toast, reading newspapers, sipping lattes and what not. It was classy, but very chilled - the ambient jazz playing took care of that.

Our waiter was, for want of a better word, a dweeb. But such a polite, earnest and attentive dweeb he was! But seriously, genuine (even if a little awkward) customer service is better than posh, stuffy customer service, in my wannabe foodie opinion. Being a waitress in my past life, I always make an effort to show that I appreciate good customer service, because I know it can be hard when you try to take someone's order and they treat you like Dobby the house-elf. For this reason, I am constantly being accused of flirting with waitstaff, which I maintain is all misinterpretation... except for the staff at Jean Pierre Sancho on Hay Street.

But honestly, can you blame me!?

For drinks, Ann had a Chai Latte ($3.5), and I had my usual SLMXH($4.2) which I ordered traditional, so as to save space in my belly for more things to come. I hadn't had any coffee for weeks, because I'd been combating the effects of caffeine resistance that had built up during exam time. The amount of crema on that thing was ridiculous and I loved it. The brew was rich, nutty and satisfying. Oh Macchiato, how I missed you.

We ordered the Smoked Salmon en concotte with toasted New Norcia organic sourdough ($18). It was one of the richest breakfast dishes I've ever had (no mean feat, considering some of the things Michèl cooks up on Sunday mornings because I'm too 'skinny').

The word en cocotte is French, usually seen as in 'oeufs en concotte', which is literally 'egg casserole'. It's an egg baked in a ramekin with butter, salt, and with some versions, also with cream and truffle oil. With the yolk still runny, of course.

Smoked salmon is a delicacy, sliced thinly and used sparingly, partly because it's quite expensive and partly because it's just so rich. But in this dish, it came in thick layers, and lots of them, baked in generous lashings of cream, butter, wilted spinach and topped with two bright yellow eggs. Even the toast was buttered to hell. I'm glad that me and Ann had opted to order two dishes and split them, because there is no way either of us could have finished that big boy on our own.

For our second course, we ordered the Brioche French Toast with Berries and Maple Syrup ($15). Brioche is also French, which is a very rich type of bread, most recipes having a flour to butter ratio of 2:1. That, fried in an egg-and-cream batter and topped with colourful, summery deliciousness made for a gorgeous dish. It was a nice balance of sweet and savoury, and that berry sauce was thin, intense and heavenly.

We butchered it.

We ended up walking out of the Subi Hotel at almost 12 noon, having eaten so much, so slowly. Not to mention about an hour's worth of constant chatter, updating each other about our lives over the last few months. It was such a enjoyable way to pass the morning: no uni, no assignments, no exams, no work, no worries, no nothing. Just me, a dear old friend, a big breakfast and the blissful realisation that we had just blown a lot of money and calories on one breakfast...

...and there was absolutely nothing wrong with that.

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