In particular, Danks Street has become so trendy it's almost painful; from the mature and well-furnished minds perusing fruit and veg at Fratelli Fresh, to the longing, lounging beauty of the verandah at The French House. Oh, how places change.
It's a cruisey holiday weekday lunch (or brekky as it may be) that finds me at Danks Street Depot. The wait for a table forces us up the street and into Fratelli Fresh; just for a perve at the produce really. Wandering back down to our intended destination, the constant stream of waiting customers is intriguing: young, old, infants and the painfully casual-styled.
I do adore a venue that doesn't have set rules on meal types and times. If I want bacon and eggs at 3pm, I shouldn't be denied. Breakfast-y options at this lunch time include the ever versatile menu of eggs from Cornucopia Farms.
This selection feature the biodynamic eggs scrambled atop a thick slice of sourdough toast. The star of the show is undoubtedly the tree of broccoli; slow cooked with chilli, garlic and white wine, though it tasted just like normal broccoli to me - which is fine as it's one of my favourite vegetables. The goat's feta, with parsley garnish, was a revelation though, or rather an elevation of the entire dish. I think there's also some novelty and humour in devouring part of a head of broccoli in such pure a form.
Saucisson sec with cornichons
The more typical lunch item we ordered was the saucisson sec, literally 'dry sausage' in French. Of cured Australian pork, these dry sausages fulfilled my hankering for salami and indulged a fantasy of having just salami for lunch. The rustic presentation set an expectation that was not disappointed. Along with the tart, crunchy cornichons, the sausage was surprisingly lean with a chewy texture that packed a hell of a lot of satisfying porkiness.
I had my carbs in the naughty form of hand cut chips; piping hot chunks of skin-on potato that crunched but were so fluffy inside that they couldn't have been sinful. The rocket salad of pear and parmesan was perfectly accompanied by an exquisite dressing that leant more towards sweet than sour and was worthy of dish-licking had there not been so many people around. I'm sure the kids wouldn't have minded.
In fact, I think the kids and babies enjoyed the space as much as the adults. It was kind of cute watching a young girl carefully dip her sourdough into the dish of olive oil and eat. As laidback as the place feels, there's an air of everything being very carefully crafted - everything is there for a reason and positioned just so. It's certainly not the Waterloo I used to know, but then, some changes are for the better, aren't they?