This Brunswick cafe has a menu that will make even the most ad­ven­tur­ous diner stand to at­ten­tion

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - RE­VIEWED BY DAN STOCK

Small Axe Kitchen’s in­no­va­tive menu.

THIS is the best way to start your day. Trust me.

Don’t get way­laid by the vir­tu­ous cit­rus salad, the or­ganic toast, or the avo with pepi­tas and pick­led fen­nel. Don’t toy with or­der­ing the grilled brioche with espresso mousse, or flirt with the smoked egg­plant and al­mond hum­mus. Walk right by the warm ch­est­nut rice pud­ding with figs, prunes and al­monds.

It will be hard, for each of these dishes de­serve your at­ten­tion as they are some of the most in­ter­est­ing plates found on any cafe menu right now.

But re­sist them all and or­der in­stead the meat­balls, and the fried scamorza sand­wich.

You’ll be served a lit­tle pot bub­bling hot from the oven filled with hefty meat­balls stud­ded with pine nuts and swim­ming in sugo. Its ar­rest­ing flavour is only en­hanced once the slow-cooked egg atop bursts its sun­shine-sauce over the lot. A grat­ing of pecorino, and a thick, but­tered slice of toast, and you have a dish that’s a win on its own.

But if you take the bread-crumb-cov­ered sand­wich fried to a deeply tanned crunch and filled with molten, stringy scamorza cheese, then dip it into that meat­bally pot, you have a dish that’s a win for us all. You’re wel­come.

This is Small Axe Kitchen, chef/ owner Adam Pruck­ner’s sim­ple and stylish Brunswick cafe where there’s gera­ni­ums and hang­ing bulbs out the back, al­fresco com­mu­nal din­ing out front in the sun, Code Black cof­fee in the grinder, ne­gro­nis mixed be­hind the bar and Si­cil­ian dishes cooked with a Melbourne ac­cent.

To wit: a break­fast pasta, where Si­cil­ian mac­a­roni is tossed through slices of rich guan­ciale (cured pork jowl), with tiny peas and torn mint for fresh colour, while a grat­ing of ri­cotta salata adds cheesy good­ness to an egg’s yolky rich­ness. It’s tra­di­tion with a modern twist and an­other per­fect way to start the day.

From top: meat­balls, chef/ owner Adam Pruck­ner, and the break­fast pasta.

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