It’s not often I find us on the south side of the river on a weekend, but I had a half the day off while my 2-week conference gig was in Brisbane. While I might be more familiar with the dining options for lunch and dinner, breakfast is a bit of a mystery to me. So how hard is it to get a decent breakfast at Southbank on the weekend? Being a sunny Saturday morning, laziness kicked in and we didn’t wander too far from the hotel and knuckled down at South Side Diner. There were a selection of seating options, but we were ushered to a 4-seat table with a reserved sign. We didn’t have a reservation, but what the hey. The wait staff should know what they’re doing, right?
Wrong. After having been served water and menus for about 10 minutes, a senior waitress came over to tell us to move tables – one that was under direct sunlight. While she had done so politely and we obliged willingly with the request the table be moved slightly to avoid the redhead SO from getting sunburnt, she appeared harassed and the exchange gave me a sense of an annoyed teacher telling off some wayward kiddy students they had been caught doing something naughty. The waitress who had originally planted us at the wrong table came back to take our orders, but seemed to have trouble writing them down. Or knowing what was on the menu, as both the SO and I repeated our order several times. We eventually resorted to holding up our menus and pointing to what we wanted, which she would stare at for a minute or two longer than most normally would to read the item. Had she not been adequately trained? Or had the menu recently changed? Or perhaps English wasn’t her first language? Either way, this had whittled down our confidence that breakfast would be a smooth sailing affair.
Our order thankfully didn’t take long to come out, and business was moderately busy with yuppies and young families out to hang out with friends.
I’m a big fan of The Bagel Boys bagels after tasting them at Ekka last year (Ben and Ian were both really funny) and was very excited to see them on South Side Diner‘s menu. And funnily enough, I’m more fond of trout than salmon. Maybe it’s because I have visited a rainbow trout farm in Perth back in the day and loved the idyllic scenery the fish were growing in.
All this indicates I should’ve loved South Side Diner‘s Toasted ‘Bagel Boys’ Bagel with Hot Smoked Trout. In fact, I should’ve luuuuurved it and wanted to have its babies. But I didn’t. It wasn’t that it wasn’t tasty – it was. But I found the flakes of smoke trout fiddly to get onto every bagel bite and the liberal lashings of oil on the plate kinda grossed me out. The cream cheese and poached free range egg would’ve been sufficient to complementing the bagel, so the oil felt unnecessary.
When the SO’s Crispy Fried Ham Hock Hash arrived, we were a little confused. What’s this fish finger doing on the plate? Where’s the ham hock hash? Turned out the ‘fish finger’ was the ham hock hash, packed and condensed down into a very tight Jenga block of porkiness. To the chef who came up with this concept, you did very well with the execution.
However, one stick of ham hock hash with 2 fried eggs and toast didn’t look like much on a plate for AUD$17.50 – not when you can get this, this or this for approximately the same price. It was no surprise when the SO woofed them down and forlornly watched me struggling with the smoked trout fibres.
So our breakfast at South Side Diner didn’t quite make the mark, but they do have a very convenient location (if you’re ok with public transport into the city or paying for parking), and an attractive venue with plenty of open air. I just don’t think we’d be rushing to try their lunch or dinner menu after this experience.