Au Cirque Review

I found out recently that a friend of mine has been searching for Brisbane’s best breakfast café / restaurant and after 6 months of exhaustive testing he has reached a decision. His decision to put Au Cirque at the top of the pile seems to be shared by a few other people and I felt it was high time I checked the cafe out.

Au Cirque is on Brunswick St and sits in the trendy suburb of New Farm. On a Saturday morning it would be ideal for people watching if of course you can get in, but more about that later.

The atmosphere is very relaxed and casual and when we walked in on a recent Thursday morning the place had only a dozen or so customers. 8 am on a weekday is a peculiar time for breakfast at a café as all the people who are chained to a desk from 9am will be finishing up and heading to the office while all those that can sleep in will still be doing so.

We chose a seat at the upstairs window bar which looks down on Brunswick Street and ordered some caffeine to start the day. The flat white and English breakfast tea were speedily delivered and it’s perhaps at this point that I should explain what makes this place so popular. Their menu is good. Very good. They’ve got the pides and fried mushies on sourdough and gluten free stuff and pancakes and omelets and French toast and the Chow Down (read: hangover cure) so your sure to find something you like, it’s very much a step away from the bacon and eggs on toast theme. We settled on field mushrooms, baby spinach and feta on sourdough with a side of bacon ($10.50+$3.5) and a Chow Down ($16). For a place as well regarded as Cirque it may come as a surprise that they do not take kindly to requests for menu alterations. If the menu says poached eggs, you cannot have them scrambled. As long as your tastes match that of the menu you won’t have a problem.

Inside the furnishings are simple and somewhat rustic. It’s all long kitchen tables and stools so on a busy day you might find yourself sharing a table with other customers. This is part of the style and appeal of Cirque – they have made their little nook into a shared home for the breakfast goers of New Farm.

Our meals arrived in good time and killed the conversation – a reflection on how good they were. My fried mushrooms, baby spinach and feta on sourdough was excellent with the feta really taking the dish beyond what I’d expected. I found myself savouring each mouthful which rarely happens. My companion’s Chow Down (poached eggs, bacon, fried potato hash, mushies and blanched tomato) received a nod of approval and it’s hard to imagine anyone not being satisfied by it. Cirque also does a vegetarian version of the Chow Down should you be that way inclined.

Cirque has a lot going for it and has a line out the door on the weekend with up to an hour wait (no reservations). The food is excellent and as long as your expectations match the style and character of the place you’ll be in for a good start to your morning.

Au Cirque

618 Brunswick Street
New Farm map
07 3254 0479

BYO Wine and Beer only
UPDATE: Au Cirque is now fully licensed (14/4/09)

Visited on Thursday, 18 December 2008

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