Modern life is so crazy busy, and we have become a society that rarely stops for a true lunch break in the middle of a work day, often foregoes dinner around the family table for a bite on the go, and really needs a sleep-in morning with an amazing reward upon waking. That reward is Sunday brunch, and I believe it should be a mandatory part of every week.
I had the pleasure, in the great company of my husband Steve, of experiencing the new Sunday brunch at Catalano Restaurant, located in the Magnolia Hotel. It was noon and in anticipation of this meal, I had just a smoothie around 8am and so, I was ravenous.
Co-owner Dave Craggs met us and we chatted briefly about the new weekend menu, the inspiration behind brunch, and the true definition of a soft poached egg. Dave’s favourite menu item, which he admits is not for everyone, is the Mr. Douglas (poached free range eggs, local octopus, winter ragout, bacon, yoghurt, and grilled bread). Tempting, but I had my eye on the Weekend Crossword (poached free range eggs, english muffin, creamed leeks, crispy prosciutto, truffled hollandaise, and potato rosti). Steve ordered the Tagine (poached free range eggs, Moroccan vegetable ragout, grilled lamb sausage, spicy harissa, and a dollop of minted yoghurt).
With cappuccino on the table, and orders taken, we settled in to enjoy the harbour view from our table. The restaurant was humming with activity, and it was not even close to tourist season. Always a good sign.
A hearty basket of bread and pastries landed on our table and we immediately tucked in, halving and sharing everything. A warm petite butter croissant was first; quickly followed by a delicious blueberry scone and my personal favourite, an exceptional light and flavour filled crispy cinnamon roll. When you eat something that elicits conversation about childhood, you know it’s good.
When our brunch entrees arrived, we both took a moment to savour the pretty dishes before getting down to business. The soft poached eggs, with the whites cooked through and the yolks warm and runny, were cooked perfectly. The creamed leeks and truffled hollandaise sauce were easily the stars of the Weekend Crossword dish, as was the house made lamb sausage in the Tagine dish.
We chose well. Next time… I am the going to try the Gina Lola (open faced omelette with roasted vegetables, caramelized onion, goats cheese, mixed greens & grilled bread) or perhaps the Catalano Corn Cakes (corn meal pancakes, mascarpone cheese, caramelized apple, bacon, and amaretto maple syrup).
Remember when I said that Sunday brunch should be a mandatory part of every week? Scratch that. I could revel in this culinary breakfast bliss every day.
Tracey Drake, Editor in Chief – NICHE magazine
The Lo-Down from Catalano’s website: Located in the Magnolia Hotel & Spa, just moments from Victoria’s picturesque Inner Harbour, Catalano Restaurant & Cicchetti Bar showcases local produce with a distinct Mediterranean flare. Catalano embodies the soul and spirit of regional Italian and Spanish cuisine, including delicious Venetian tapas known as “cicchetti”. Pull up a seat, tuck into hearty dishes bursting with sunshine flavour, sip on custom cocktails and elegant wines and enjoy a taste of the Mediterranean in the heart of Victoria.