Posted on Friday, 16ᵗʰ July, 2021
Making breakfast a core offer of your café, pub or restaurant has the potential to be a highly profitable exercise. The likes of eggs, bacon, tomatoes, bread, cereals, and spices are relatively inexpensive ingredients, meaning breakfast could be your most lucrative meal of the day.
Even better, these are versatile ingredients and can be used at other sitting times in everything from burgers and wraps to soups and salads. They also provide the ideal incentive for chefs to experiment, so there is never an excuse for a boring breakfast!
Let’s look at how kitchens are meeting customer demand, broadening their palette of ingredients, and creating tempting new dishes.
Breakfast across the globe takes many different forms and this is reflected in some truly unconventional new offerings that lean heavily on international and regional cuisines. In a nod to cultural influences, the likes of African spices and poké are increasingly turning up on breakfast menus.
At Port Melbourne pub The Corner Stone, a poké bowl proudly sits beside traditional breakfast classics such as toasted granola, Belgian waffles, and eggs Benedict.
A smashed avo can be optioned with a house-made pistachio and hazelnut dukkah to provide an African-inspired first-meal flavour at Canberra’s Muse Café.
Redfern’s Kepos Street Kitchen layers chef Michael Rantissi’s middle eastern expertise over its breakfast menu. The café’s falafel-for-breakfast dish features hummus, tomato, labneh, a hardboiled egg, and pickled chilli, while its eggplant and egg sabich pita is spiced up with additions of tahini and amba sauces.
Elsewhere, breakfast menus with Japanese, Scandinavian, and Korean influences are popping up across our cities and towns.
Breakfast and brunch have long been considered growth opportunities not just for cafés, but also pubs and restaurants, as more and more people choose to eat out for their first meal of the day.
With the same basic infrastructure as cafés, why shouldn’t restaurants and pubs dip a toe into the lucrative breakfast market?
Importantly, there’s no need for venues to stray far from what they know. For example, pub breakfast menus could create an interesting point of difference by offering first-meal twists on classic pub dishes, such as breakfast burgers and traditional cooked breakfasts.
Famous St Kilda pub the Prince of Wales complements its sprawling breakfast menu with cocktails including an espresso martini and bloody Mary for those who might be rolling a long night into the next day. Reflecting its coastal location, the pub’s menu includes coconut chia and sago pudding, seasonal avocado topped with native dukkah and finger lime, and a peach and cardamom porridge.
The growth in demand for breakfast out-of-home has necessarily led to venues catering for a broad range of dietary requirements. Here are some dietary trends worth paying attention to:
Breakfast has traditionally been underpinned by gluten-rich foods, such as cereals and breads. With a growing percentage of the population choosing or requiring a gluten-free diet, venues are having to adapt their breakfast offer to be more inclusive.
Brunswick’s Café Henkel is completely gluten-free but does an all-day breakfast that could easily pass for a regular breakfast menu. The venue’s cranberry and macadamia toasted muesli covers a lot of bases, being gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian. It combines a coulis with mixed berries and a choice of almond, soy, macadamia, or coconut milk.
Connections between gut health and overall wellbeing are being acknowledged by breakfast providers, with the likes of kombucha not just turning up in fridges and on menus as a beverage but also woven into meals as an ingredient.
Noosa café Jungle & Co is dedicated to gut health, serving a range of breakfasts that start your day right. Its ocean toast dish features salmon, nori flakes, and a boiled egg with greens, lemon tahini, yeast flakes and a vegan cashew cheese.
Nutritionists constantly remind us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so it’s not surprising that many kitchens are fortifying traditional breakfast dishes with a range of nutritious additions including açai, quinoa, and plum powder.
Bondi Beach café Lox Stock and Barrel complements its traditional fruit bircher with toppings of chia seeds, coconut, and quinoa.
Offering one or two vegetarian meals on your breakfast menu to meet the needs of this growing sector is an easy win.
Ultimo’s Brainwave Café serves a hearty vegetarian version of a traditional cooked breakfast with braised chickpeas surrounded by soy bacon, sautéed mushrooms, avocado, tomato, and a hash brown.
Of course, not every breakfast dish needs to be healthy. While bakeries have typically offered the likes of sweet pastries from daybreak, other breakfast venues are including indulgent treats on their breakfast menus.
At Dunedin’s Vogel Street Kitchen, the all-day breakfast menu matches familiar favourites with tasty twists, including buttermilk waffles with vanilla bean mascarpone, citrus rhubarb and hazelnuts, and a walnut and date sourdough toast with vanilla poached pears, ricotta, and honey.
Neesh Bar, in the Brisbane suburb of Woolloongabba, serves an indulgent creme brûlée French toast that features deep-fried custard, a caramel glaze, and a side helping of vanilla bean ice cream, while Marrickville café Two Chaps is renowned for its breakfast-menu doughnuts.
Eggs Benedict have been omnipresent on our breakfast menus for a few years now with no sign of waning. Café chefs around the country are innovating and creating new takes on this classic breakfast favourite to keep patrons excited and their menus on trend. Inexpensive, easy-to-source and ‘good-for-your-health’ eggs are a wonderful platform for experimentation.
Adelaide’s Bai Long Store offers an inventive take on eggs, with its roti benedict sitting on a Malay-style flatbread and matched with miso-braised eggplant, soft-poached eggs and a spicy tom yum hollandaise.
Muse Café in Canberra also offers a spicy twist on its eggs Benedict, with the simple additions of pulled ham hock and a hot sriracha hollandaise.
Elsewhere, eateries are finding ways to repurpose the dish for a generation of gluten-intolerant customers, swapping the traditional English muffin base for hash browns, portobello mushrooms, sweet or white potato rosti or a simple gluten-free sandwich bread.
Zen Den, a café in a leafy northern Melbourne suburb of Eltham, serves its gluten-free eggs Benedict on a bed of house potato hash with sautéed spinach and offers an option of pulled beef brisket to the classic bacon ingredient.
Prominent Australian and New Zealand café chain The Coffee Club does a vegetarian eggs Benedict with grilled haloumi base and a sriracha hollandaise topping. They also offer a poached egg with dressed rocket, beechwood smoked bacon and hollandaise on a handmade potato rosti.
Breakfast is changing as diners move ever further towards a more relaxed, eat-when-you’re-hungry meal schedule. Increased flexibility in working arrangements is also playing its part.
Not surprisingly, all-day breakfast and brunch menus are on the rise. Venues should be asking themselves: could we better meet the needs of our customers with an expanded breakfast sitting?
Brunswick coffee roaster and café, Wide Open Road has sniffed the wind and did away altogether with a set mealtime. Its all-day breakfast greatly simplifies things for diners and acknowledges the wide range of lifestyles led by its customers.
In a similar vein, popular Christchurch café Hello Sunday offers its brunch menu from early in the morning until mid-afternoon. Fitzroy North’s Tramway Hotel offers a weekend breakfast between noon and 3 pm, suggesting it has a good handle on its hip, inner-city target audience.