With the queues of brunch-goers snaking their way up Gertrude Street every weekend, I was expecting big things from Birdman Eating. Did it stack up? In short – kinda.
The sleek cafe is a narrow, crowded space dotted with funky decorative elements, from the bunched light globe chandelier made by the owner to the miniature vases of greenery dangling on fishing wire from the ceiling (which seems to be a very popular look at the moment – see Seamstress). Food-wise, the draw card is the breakfast menu which goes beyond the norm of a fry-up, muesli or pancakes.
The consensus from our table was that whether you have an ok or a fantastic experience depends on your order.
OK: kippers and steak sandwich. I’ve eaten kippers in Scotland before and the kippers at Birdman Eating were their very distant cousins. I was expecting a large piece of smoked cod and instead received a credit card sized slice of fish with a barely perceptible smoky flavour. There were two little hash browns on the side and a handful of rocket. As Brendan said, it was like being served tinned sardines on a single slice of bread with some McCains potato gems. For $17 – ouch. The equally pricey steak sandwich ($16) was declared by RM to be not bad, just tasteless and unexciting.
Fantastic: cheese kransky, baked eggs and black rice. I didn’t get to taste the cheese kransky ($18) or baked eggs of the day with fennel ($12), but my German friend gave the kransky an authentic German thumbs up (in fact, he thinks the sausages in Melbourne are generally of a superior quality to those in Sydney, where he used to live). Due to my unsatisfying kippers, I had to fill up on a second breakfast course of black rice, coconut yoghurt and mango ($10). This was beautifully presented in a flared glass, with colours and textures layered like a trifle and topped with some crunchy toasted coconut. It was a delicious and unusual breakfast interpretation of a classic Thai dessert and it redeemed Birdman Eating for me.