Operator 25 at Wills St, Melbourne CBD
If you do not like to queue but have no intentions on sacrificing on quality, where do you go? Frequented by my fellow Melbourne residents, is Operator 25. Coming in closer to 11am, it was barely three-quarters full and we easily got a sit inside. Wow, high ceilings and an airy sitting area too? Operator 25 just seems to have it all at that point. But can the kitchen deliver?
Greeted and served with no delay, the menu was soon in my hands. A quick flick and I decided on the Balinese Pulled Pork and Coleslaw on Brioche roll with Sweet Potato Wedges ($19). Why bother with the staples like the boring big breakfast no?
Biting into that soft buttery brioche was a familiar Balinese taste. Not it was no Babi Guling or Naughty Nuri’s, instead it tasted like my very own ex-colleague Mei’s Indonesian pork dish with notes of fragrant lemon grass, turmeric and other spices pounded together. The delicious and tender pulled pork made this roll simply irresistible. Fresh coriander which also happens to be a favourite herb of mine was there to ensure that the meal never gets to overwhelming due to its meaty nature. Also, do not forget about the yummy sweet potato wedges. It was very, I repeat, very delicious.
My friend KK on the other hand opted for his usual fix, the House Benedict with Grandmother Ham, eggs, and Hollandaise on a Rosti ($15). Definitely would have ordered that if I knew they used a potato rosti instead of the boring English muffin.
The Hollandaise here had a runnier texture than usual but was still every bit flavourful. The Grandmother Ham tasted smokier than usual too but I was not sure whether it was just me being overly sensitive or it actually was. Was it a yummy bite? I surely think it was :)!
An eye catching dessert of Vanilla Custard Sago, Rhubarb, Raspberry Foam and Honeycomb/Meringue ($9) gave our brunch a sweet ending. I do not remember seeing a dessert so pretty ever for a price below $10. This might be a first in a very long time indeed! And boy did it taste good.
Mild in sweetness, the dessert was bursting from the natural sweetness of the rhubarb and honeycomb/meringue. Pair it with the sour berry foam and it was all very well-balanced. Bite into the bouncy textures of the little sago pearl, roll it around, have another spoon of the airy foam. Repeat. Nirvana achieved.
Operator 25 was a surprise candidate for me, but for my Melbourne friends it was simply another day in the big city. If mainstream delights like the Hardware Société does not score well in your books, here is where you belong. Not regrets for sure. In fact, this was my top brunch in this big city. For 2 people with a dessert to share would have costed no more than $26/27. (No guarantee of queue-less weekends!)
Looking for Brunch? Check out my Melbourne Brunches in 2014