It’s hard not to be intrigued driving past El Mirage, a popular little spot towards the North end of the Brunswick East, Lygon street retail district. There’s always a few people sitting out the front, but you can never quite see inside. El Mirage sits quite far back from the road and next to another local favourite, East Elevation. As you walk inside you can simply seat yourself where you choose. The service was rather lacking, with staff not noticing us arrive and taking a very long time to get their attention for a menu. When we finally got to place our order the special listed wasn’t avaiable. This was surprising given it was just after 9am on a Saturday morning and no attempt was made to remove until after we ordered.
We found the crowd inside to be more young families out early to enjoy a coffee and breakfast, while the crowd outside was almost exclusively dog owners dining with their fur-family. It made for great viewing, lots of happy animals and people out enjoying the day. The coffee was decent with a creamy mouthfeel but nothing too exciting. There some latte art visible and the coffees were served relatively quickly after ordering.
We also tried the pancakes, served with lemon curd, syrup and a creamy mascarpone. It was tasty but simple, with little to excite. For those of us who tend to enjoy a weekend where brunch resembles a dessert more than it does breakfast this probably won’t satisfy. When we visited there was no other sweet option on the menu but plenty of delicious savoury ones, something to keep in mind.
Finally we tried a Beetroot based savoury dish, substituting smoked salmon for bacon, because everybody loves bacon and as far as we’re concerned it goes with everything. There was roasted Beetroot, pickled Beetroot, a Beetroot rosti, labne and herb crusted poached eggs. If you’re a fan of Beetroot this is definitely the dish for you! The eggs were poached perfectly, the yolk oozing out, while the pickled Beetroot added a wonderful tang and vibrancy to the meal. The labne was decent, but didn’t really add much to the dish, while the rosti was dense and lacked the crispness we were hoping for. Overall this was a very interesting dish with lost of flavour, colour and texture and something we’d certainly order again.
While we enjoyed our visit to El Mirage and loved the space we did find the service and the menu a little lacking. With so many great locations in the wider Brunswick area it may be some time before we return.