When ‘The Cupping Room’ was suggested as a brunch venue for our latest review, there was a suitable amount of tittering among the group. We thought we were pretty clever (sometimes we are…), but as we read through the menu we realised it had been said before and ‘no, it is not in reference to anything erotic’. Don’t ask us what it is in reference to, once that was ruled out we were just after the food section.
The approach to the Cupping Room was promising – people flowing out onto tables outside, braving the chilly Saturday morning in order to savour the delights of this stylish wood panelled establishment. Although you probably wouldn’t want to have an aversion to lycra, as there were a few tables of cyclists who had obviously been up since the crack of dawn to do some heavy push-biking before enjoying their decaf soy lattes.
The setting is relaxed and cool, attracting an equally cool crowd with requisite beards and trilbys scattered around (we may have stood out a bit). They don’t take bookings for breakfast or lunch so you will need to try your luck. We arrived at 10am and managed to score the last table inside, although it had stools instead of chairs which was perhaps a bit hard on our non-lycra’d, fairly ample bottoms.
Coffee options started with two ‘blends’ on offer (these guys take their coffee seriously – very seriously). One a stronger, chocolatey variety and the other a subtle vanilla. We all went for the strong one (except for our non-coffee drinker who opted for a pot of English Breakfast). Service was prompt and friendly, although at times hard to pick out the trendy staff from the trendy customers, opening up a whole possibility for embarrassment.
The menu took some deciphering (dragons eggs and spotted rooster?), but we settled on four different dishes. Salmon Tartare, Dragon Eggs, Pano Seta (with eggs) and Huevos Bollo.
All were served together and none of us felt like we were waiting too long (particularly given the crowd). The Salmon tartare was a perfect choice if you’re without a big eggs and bacon appetite. Fresh, clean flavours and probably very good for you.
The Dragons Eggs – Voodoo spiced avocado, coriander, red onion, chilli and lime placed back in the avocado shells served with poached eggs, spinach and toast, and an additional side order of crispy bacon, was reported to be delicious with “just the right amount of spice”. Special mention must also be made of the pineapple, cucumber and mint juice which washed down the voodoo goodness and was deemed to be “a taste sensation”.
The Pano Seta served up tender mushrooms on toast, cooked in thyme with smooth feta cheese, topped with a perfectly poached egg – magnificent!
The first exclamation (and possibly quote of the meal) when the Huevos Bollo arrived was ‘Ooh look, I accidentally ordered a burger!’ with a clap of hands and giddy grin. They turned out to be two eggs atop crispy bacon and zingy avocado, with tasty sauce inside a brioche bun. They were also delicious, though slightly unladylike to eat.
Whilst we were all eating, a table nearby was served with a steaming little pot of what looked like magical espresso. We were happily informed that it was an ‘espresso creaming soda’, a caffeine fuelled concoction created by Sasa for entry into a barista competition. Of course we had to try it. Infused with a raspberry reduction and finished with dry ice, the joy was in the serving and subsequent interpretation of where the most flavourful beans are found on a coffee plant. It was surprisingly cold (although one of our group pointed out that the dry ice would do that…) and tasted like a pre sugared espresso – a really good one.
The experience of dining at the Cupping Room was a bit like having a massage, so enjoyable that we didn’t really want it to end. But, the stools wore us down and we had to call time on our morning.
The ladies rooms are industrial, but clean and don’t be fooled – they are only on the first floor (don’t hike to the top by mistake, not that I’m insinuating that one of us did, as that may be embarrassing).
Breakfast with a few coffees set us back $27.50 each, which seemed pretty good value for great food and nice, relaxed surroundings. The Cupping Room is on the corner of London Circuit and University Avenue, opposite the Uni Pub for those that know it.