Menu length can be a serious point of conjecture with diners, some believing a short menu of a few house specialities to be best while others like to be spoilt for choice when deciding on a meal. Gaythorne's newly opened Hansell & Gretel Espresso and Breakfast Bar sits itself in an altogether different category, with an interesting twist on the common breakfast dining experience.
"We know how important it is to have the right breakfast... So, we want you to design your own," greets the menu upon arrival. Beginning with a simple eggs and toast ($8.9), the short list of breakfast basics and house specials are designed to be tweaked to personal preference with a list of side options to rival the menu itself. Offering everything from pulled pork to haloumi to a chorizo and parmesan cheese waffle, the sides menu ensures a fully customisable breakfast experience that is sure to scare away the indecisive.
Starting with the simple eggs benedict ($11) and adding some triple smoked bacon ($4.50) and a potato and cheese hash ($4) delivers a hearty breakfast at a reasonable price for those chasing a traditional breakfast cook up. Alternatively, for the less traditional The Spanish Matador ($14.50), egg, chorizo, tomato, manchego cheese, chimichurri herb mix and Turkish toast, is a fantastic option that arguably still leaves room for that side that has to be tried. Cooked and served in a claypot, the Matador achieves its goal of creating a comforting and rich dish with the combination of tomato and Argentinian herbs permeating throughout.
All of the elements tried from the side menu seem well thought out and upon presentation aren't simply tossed on the side of the dish. With such a large selection, some options do shine more than others and the potato and cheese hash was one option that didn't quite hit the mark, some gentle refining will make this one a winner. Accompanied by a rich Genovese piccolo (or two), the breakfast is a wholly satisfying experience made all the more pleasant by cheerful and attentive staff throughout a busy morning of service.
As a whole Hansell & Gretel Espresso and Breakfast Bar offers a simple yet expansive menu with a splash of South American/Spanish influence, relying on the diner to create their own perfect meal. For the indecisive, this interesting layout may be daunting but the lure of perfecting your own breakfast will surely see many return.