babys who brunch.

I've eaten two restaurant brunches within one week, wtf is happening to me. The first was last Saturday at Jason Hartley's Lovefood HQ, yes non-Amsterdammers that's really the name of it. As you know, we generally don't do pretend to do restaurant reviews here, but if something resembling one sneaks into a post it definitely doesn't try to be unbiased or objective in any way. That's a disclaimer I guess.

I might not have even mentioned my meal at Lovefood (for short) here today if I hadn't also accidentally eaten at Little Collins today, the connection being that for months now the two of them have been linked inextricably in my mind as the only really-promising places in town for a proper brunch. I'm sure this perceived promise is in no small part due to the fact that both restaurants come from cultures who know their excessive drinking (Lovefood is English, Little Collins is Australian). And for me, brunch is largely about fixing shit you drank yourself into the night before, fixing it via more booze, runny eggs, and plenty of salt and smoke.


I've just heard that Lovefood HQ is up for sale and that it'll really only exist in its current form for the next month or two, which kind of sucks b/c I found it to be somewhere I'd probably visit again. I can't say that my tongue was blown off or anything, but yes the drink options were comprehensive and intriguing, and everything we were served was pretty relentlessly tasty and definitely pretty as a picture, though in a couple of cases the menu verbiage pumped up expectations in a way the flavors couldn't match and there were a couple of tiny distracting service blips, forgetting a main ingredient of a dish for example, but yes ok otherwise a fine fine afternoon and there that's my review! I may try to go back before they're gone but let's see.


Little Collins was similar but different. Even more informal. Not trying as hard. Less overtly professional than Lovefood but not necessarily in a bad way. Less chefly 'tude as well about what they will and won't do, which while I understand this impulse completely (having owned a retail/service business in an industry known for attitude problems, and knowing what "the paying customer" can be like, we often found ourselves torn between attempting to preemptively pacify or give the finger to customer expectations), I almost never really see it done in a way that seems to get it right tonally. The Vortex in Atlanta used to strike a nice balance of light comedy and legitimate threat, but it seems like the last decade's tidal wave of customer entitlement (and L5P's complete vanillafication) has pushed them over the edge into caricature.

Yes. So Mara ordered coriander and corn fritters with ham, guac, homemade salsa, sour cream, and arugula. Hilly had eggs in a lemony Hollandaise with garlic spinach and sourdough. All done very well, though I think the general consensus was that the three of us could've pretty easily made this at home, which I might not have been able to say about the Lovefood meal (at Lovefood, in addition to my smoked haddock omelet with Mornay sauce, I had a side order of their homemade sausage, flawless and not something I'd ever do myself).

A slight difference is that, personal taste preference-wise, I more likely would've made the Little Collins meal at home, whereas there were a couple of things at Lovefood I wouldn't have bothered with (the "biscuit", and the vegetarian sausage, and probably the fried soda bread as well, again all matters of personal taate).

I'll say that each brunch venue did exactly what it was supposed to do: I reserved a week ahead for Saturday brunch at Lovefood, we had a relaxed 2.5-hour meal and long conversation inside in the shade. Beers were from the more alternative and delicious side of the spectrum (Butcher's Tears, Prael, etc). There were enough interesting things on our plates for us to spend a good portion of that time picking away at them. Though if you're American do be warned that the "Biscuits & Gravy" are in fact much more like English scones than American biscuits, we had a little sadness about this.

At Little Collins we just kind of showed up and grabbed a table in the sun and had a quick bite, we were done in 45 minutes. I had a kind of disappointing coffee (they use Two For Joy beans, which I generally enjoy, but I ordered a long black instead of my normal double espresso, bad idea) and zero beers, though I did taste everyone's Bloody Marys.

Dus: both fine and worthy of another visit...though like I said I'd probably go back to Lovefood first b/c they seem slightly more geared towards superlatives. And their Bloody Marys were better.


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