Brown Sugar - Service with a smile, vegan with a fail.

Brown Sugar - 106 Curlewis St, Bondi

Channelling my inner hipster and a whole lot of strength to battle the traffic in Bondi on a Sunday morning, we headed to Brown Sugar. An acclaimed, relatively new eating place set back from Bondi Beach. Reading Yelp reviews told us we should be prepared for a long line up - 15 minutes wasn't anywhere as bad as we anticipated.

Brown Sugar, Bondi.
Bondi's cool, new(ish) hipster spot.
We were seated at a communal table while we waited for two other dining buddies to arrive. Inside, the decor is typically Bondi. Over-sized light globes hang haphazardly from the black ceiling and are surrounded by hardworking sound absorbers. A window has been artistically filled in with jars containing different coloured water (thank lord they're not all yellow!) and a long piece of abstract art adds a sense of length to the otherwise compact dining space. The tables and chairs are well spaced but there's no need for customers to move from their seat once assigned a table; instead, wait staff move around like contemporary dancers carrying chairs to diners outside and delivering food and drinks efficiently. A well oiled operation, indeed.

Interior design - Brown Sugar, Bondi.
Inside is typically Bondi.

The brunch menu is one of the best, if not *the* best I've read. There really is something for everyone and from what I could see, other diners thought the same. Large plates filled with generous servings were being delivered around us and they smelt as good as they looked.

We ordered coffee and juice to kick things off. The juice special was cucumber, green apple and mint - two of the four diners ordered it. Much to the disappointment of the wait staff, I opted for beetroot, pear, ginger, carrot and celery juice. The special juices were a hit, mine was more like a ginger juice with some other things thrown in.

The menu - Brown Sugar, Bondi.
The Brunch menu... one of many headings.
We dine out for brunch quite often but this was only the second time I'd come across tofu scramble (the first time was at Bliss Cafe, you can read my review here), it was also the only thing that seemed to be 100% vegan on the brunch menu. I confirmed with the wait staff that it is, in fact vegan and doesn't contain any dairy. I was assured it didn't. Then it arrived. What's wrong with this picture?

Tofu Scramble - Brown Sugar, Bondi.
Tofu Scramble... with butter.

Oh, that's right, there's a big dollop of butter on top of my tofu. You know, the churned milk, the milk that comes from cows, the cows that are animals. Vegan fail.

Not wanting to cause a fuss (or wait for a replacement meal), I scooped the butter off and slopped it on Mark's plate. I started spreading the barely ripe avocado on my toast and made my way through the pile of tofu scramble. Maybe I was spoilt by Bliss Cafe or maybe this was just average tofu scramble but I don't like it when tofu squeaks as I eat it. I also didn't like the saltiness and lack of many other ingredients (aside from some rocket and a mushroom or two).

The other three dining buddies ordered the breakfast platter, five sides and moroccan eggs. They all went down super well and compliments like "the best breakky I've had in a long time" were mumbled through mouthfuls of thick, crunchy bread covered in runny eggs.

Perhaps I scored a naff meal, perhaps the vegan Gods weren't on my side or perhaps the chef looks at vegan food as an afterthought. I don't know the answer and I'm not prepared to guess. What i do know is that I'll be back to brown Sugar to give it another go next time I'm in Bondi and have a hankering for tofu.

Ambiance - 4/5: 90% hipster and proud of it.
Service - 3.5/5: Friendly but a little slow and aloof.
Food: 2.5/10: I'm basing this 100% on my experience only, not the other diners.

In total, Tom gives Brown Sugar 10/20 chops on The Chopping Board.

Brown Sugar on Urbanspoon

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