Brunswick St’s new tapas café is determined to do things a little different. Avocado, when it appears, is staunchly un-smashed. The dishes aren’t garnished with edible flowers or elaborate confections. The furniture may be Scando, but the place feels warm and homely—none of the usual sterile minimalism that makes you feel like you’re brunching inside a copy of Cereal magazine.
Yep, when Jesse McTavish (The Kettle Black), Jesse Gerner (chef and owner at Bomba, Anada and Green Park), Michael Burr (Bomba), Greg McFarland (ex-chef at The Kettle Black) and Shane Barrett (Samuel Pepys bottle-o) built Nomada Café y Tapas, they didn’t want to just do ‘more of the same’. And it kind of shows.
For starters, most of the brekky dishes are the sort you’d usually find in Brunswick St after 9pm. Quail eggs dusted with cumin salt. Cured ocean trout, blushing tangerine orange, served with fennel salad and beetroot. Or seasonal fish ceviche, vacuum sealed to order, and dished up with cabbage salad, fried eggs, lime and pequillo peppers. Big robust flavours, but the presentation is homely and paired right back: you won’t have to go excavating through garnish-strata just to find your meal. The plates come at four price points, a bit like your typical tapas bar, which means you can customize your brekky around a number of share plates.
Drinks-wise, there’s Capitol Coffee brewing behind the big espresso machine, but McTavish is more interested in what’s inside the liquor cabinet. Nomada’s got an aperitif list that’d make Frasier Crane blush: Blanco Vermut from Casa Mariol, a cheeky Aurora Pedro Ximinez, and Lustau Amontillado sherry, to name a few. The perfect brunch accompaniment, or a lazy post-lunch Saturday sipper. Nomada is a lot things, but ‘standard’ it ain’t.
Image credit: Michelle Jarni