Parnell has always been a little bit fancy, but now it's very foodie too. For those of you lucky enough to live in the leafy green suburb, we forgive you for feeling pretty smug right now. But for the rest of us, there's now another reason to get over there quick.
Simon & Lee is the masterpiece of Ollie Simon (of Six Barrel Soda and Coffee Supreme) and David Lee (of Dear Jervois and Major Sprout). With creds like those, it was destined to be a winner — and it sure as heck doesn't disappoint.
As you'd expect, the fit-out is on point; mosaic countertops, stone floors, high ceilings and eye-catching accents of red, blue, and white. That's not a celebration of American independence, it's actually a nod to the Korean and New Zealand flags — a hint of what's to come.
The place itself is a little tucked away, but just head for the French market and you're not far off. When you walk through the door, you're greeted by the aroma of coffee, the hum of chit chat and the friendly faces of the team. Take a moment to soak it all in, then jump straight in to a delicious coffee, brought to you from the guys at Flight.
As for the menu, it's more Asian-focus than Asian-fusion. For breakfast, you can choose between acai, granola, congee, broken eggs, mushrooms, benedict or eggs — all with their own unique twist. For the record, we'd recommend the congee. Savoury, creamy porridge laced with grains, fresh herbs, sesame seeds, house soy and topped with a marinaded egg. You'll never forget that egg.
For lunch, the options are fourfold. That sounds simple enough, but good luck. Thankfully, the staff were quick to give pointers and after careful deliberation, we opted for the bibimbap and the Good Bowl. Both were outstanding. The bibimbap is a work of art with vegetables pickled to perfection, crispy rice, house-made gochujang sauce and a seaweed wafer. The Good Bowl is really more of a great bowl, with bright colours, bold flavours and plenty of avocado. But whatever you do, get that marinaded egg on the side.
You'll leave this spot with a light heart and full stomach because these guys do hospitality right. But you'll come back with your mates because it's too good not to share.