Black Doris' tagline is "Cuba Street vibes without waiting for the weekend," and honestly, we couldn't think of one more apt even if we tried.
Mind you, it's a slogan they're more than qualified to bandy around. The name is a big giveaway, but Black Doris is the brainchild of Steph Croft and the team behind Cuba Street stalwart Plum Cafe. The vibes are similar, the menus looks familiar and downtown workers will no doubt welcome this new kid on the block.
Based in the shiny PwC building on Waterloo Quay, it's certainly an impressive spot. Slick, black surfaces dominate the spacious interior, with the expansive glass walls providing unparalleled views of the waterfront.
The daytime menu offers a decent selection of brunch items and more substantial dishes such as rib eye and a couple of platters. After brief contemplation we ordered The Grill ($25), essentially their rendition of a big breakfast, and the ricotta pancakes ($18).
The service is fast and friendly, and even at peak lunchtime, we didn't have to wait long. One of the first things you notice is the generosity of the portions. There's no hiding the fact the price point here leans towards the 'fancy' end of the spectrum, but they definitely lavish you with food and value for money.
Let's start with The Grill. Probably one of the most sizeable breakfasts you'll get this side of town, you're treated to eggs on Zaida's sourdough toast, bacon, mushroom, sausages, hash browns, hollandaise and tomato relish. The meats are juicy, flavoursome and deliciously cooked with a tantalising coating of fat. The chunky hash browns also deserve a special mention, and although they could have done with a bit more seasoning, they're beautifully textured.
Having knocked the savoury out of the park, Black Doris does a laudable job with the sweet dishes as well. The pancakes come as a hefty stack, topped with plenty of berries, bacon and ricotta, drizzled in maple and lovingly dusted with icing sugar. It's a well-executed dish, with the pancakes soft and spongy and the toppings creating a delightful mix of flavours.
The vicinity around Wellington Station has long suffered from a dearth of truly quality eateries, and the introduction of Black Doris can only be a good thing for workers this end of town.