You can tell Elwood is all over this joint. When we stop by on a random Sunday morning, the crowd is spilling out into the street. People are giving up the queue and overflowing down to Combi and Bunker Spreckles nearby. They’re not the hot new cafe on Ormond Rd, but what are you gonna do?
Plain Sailing is the latest venture from the crew behind Carnegie's iconic Left Field. And fans of that venue will notice a few similarities. The same attention to detail for one thing. The fit-out in here is on-point: lots of burnt umber tones, blonde timber, brassy highlight and a designer ceiling. Co-owner Steve Rowley and the team deliberately stayed away from the whole ‘nautical kitsch’ thing. This may be bayside, but it’s bayside circa 2018.
The menu is pretty similar to Left Field, but there are some new faces on there. Long-time fans might gravitate to the cinnamon quinoa and chia bircher with a blushing ruby-red poached pear on top. Personally though? Give us the pulled pork benedict any day: loaded up with slow-cooked pork shoulder, apple cider hollandaise and a tangy apple slaw.
The menu is mostly built around healthy, vibrant, seasonal brunching. If you’re looking for cheese-loaded carbs, look elsewhere. Sautéed asparagus, wild muesli, a medley tomato bruschetta—it’s the sort of brekky that does so well this close to the water, where activewear is a way of life and untanned skin is technically illegal.
One tip? You've gotta try the deep-fried peanut butter bao, stuffed with cookies and cream, on top of a warm slice of banana bread. You won't get this thing at Left Field.
Coffee-wise, Plain Sailing is dishing up a house blend from Niccolo Coffee, and of course there’s the usual range of soy, almond and coconut milk to round out the selection. The kids will appreciate the junior hot chocs, courtesy of Mork. And nothing says summer like a cold-pressed juice from Supagreen—maybe beetroot, carrot, lemon, celery and apple? We can feel the cleanse already.
If you’re a fan of Left Field, this is a no-brainer. If you’re a fan of contemporary brunch, executed perfectly, this is a no-brainer. If you want to see what’s hot by the bay, this is pretty much mandatory. And yes, it IS worth the queue.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White