Red Hen – 7.9
Hardgrave Road, West End
Breakfast: 7.00am –12.00pm
Coffee: Blue Sky Coffee
The sun is just peaking over the top of the Moreton Bay horizon on a crisp spring morning as tens of thousands of lycra clad runners bustle to the southern entrance to the Gateway Bridge, eagerly awaiting the starting gun of the contradiction in terms that is the Bridge to Brisbane fun run. Luckily for this TCBer, the portrait painted above is from 2010, and owing to a recent knee reconstruction, AMac started the 2011 Bridge to Brisbane by lazily rolling out of bed at 10.00am to watch the colourful heard of joggers mosey along Kingsford Smith Drive from the comfort of a sunny balcony
With valuable thoroughfare infrastructure shut down throughout the central north, TCB thought it prudent for West End to be the target for breakfast, and on a strong recommendation, headed to the Red Hen for a spot of Italian inspired morning treats
Given the clear blue sky and lack of the previous day’s heinous wind, TCB takes a seat outside, but a view inside the relatively empty dining room reveals a pleasing decor, with Italian posters evenly lining the walls. Running down the lengthy menu, TCB realise that unlike a lot of other menus, The Red Hen’s is not long because it provides different variations of the same meal, rather, it contains a host of interesting options, such as pan fried gnocchi with Italian sausage, zucchini and cherry tomatoes; soft polenta with goats cheese, tomato, chives and leg ham; and the homely classic soft boiled eggs with toast soldiers. Out of a strong list, TCB go with the brioche with scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and Swiss brown mushrooms; and the bacon and poached eggs with oven baked balsamic tomato and an additional side of hollandaise.
A very pleasing Blue Sky flat arrives after a bit of a wait, and is exactly the strength a double shot should be. Considering the small crowd, the food takes a little while to present itself, but on a lazy, sunny Sunday morning this isn’t too much of an issue.
The brioche is piled high with a particularly creamy scramble, and is sprinkled with the perfectly sautéed, petite Swiss mushrooms, not to mention the crisp, fresh salmon. The dish is delicious and filling, with the only perceivable criticism could be that the brioche wasn’t quite as buttery as TCB is accustomed.
The bacon and eggs are pretty much standard, with well poached eggs and crispy bacon, but the addition of the rich hollandaise lights up the dish. However, the peak is the roasted balsamic tomato, with a beautifully caramelised top.
The Red Hen is a very good breakfast spot, but if you’re in a rush, its slight but inexplicably slow service could be a frustration. The other obstacle it faces is that it is about 400 metres out of the prime West End cafe hub, so you would have to know it was there to give it a visit. That said, if you can draw yourself away from the bustling Boundary Street, the Red Hen is a perfectly suitable option.
Coffee: 8.0 Menu: 9.0 Food: 8.5 Service: 7.0 Ambience: 7.0
Reviewed by AMac
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