Thanks to Serena Ho of AU Review for this superb review...
EATING WITH THE AU: BOSSY BOOTS CAFE & FOOD STORE - BRIGHTON (MELBOURNE)
It may not be the best time of year to head to the beach, what with all the stormy clouds and rain, but don’t rule out the beachside suburb of Brighton just yet. If you’re after a fabulous lazy brunch, then look no further than sophisticated Bay Street, where the thriving café and food store, Bossy Boots, will have you cosy and fed in no time.
Located away from the hustle and bustle of the busy boutique stores and cafés nearer to the beach, Bossy Boots charms with its relaxed and pleasant pace. Large windows create an airy sense of comfort, inviting the morning sunlight in to bathe the space in restful warmth. A beautiful, round timber table welcomes solo customers and encourages communal dining, whilst smaller tables provide intimacy even when the café is full. With a mixture of alfresco and indoor dining on offer, as well as outdoor heaters, Bossy Boots is a unique foodie haven that is popular with Brighton locals, visitors and hardworking professionals alike.
At the helm of this iconic establishment is Melbourne duo Ben Forehan and Rachael Browne. Having cooked previously at Stokehouse, Circa and Dench Bakers, as well as catering for the rich and famous for 10 years on super yachts, these chefs now work closely with Nonna Thomasina to bring the very best in gourmet food with an Italian flare to their ever-expanding following.
Everything at Bossy Boots is made in-house from scratch, including the terrific jams and chutneys that they sell by the jar. The menu is homely, with a mixture of brunch and lunch staples that cater for vegetarians, carnivores, omnivores and sweet-tooths alike. The focus here is on satiating, delicious food with bold flavours, leaving not a single grumble of dissatisfaction.
Breakfast is available weekdays from 7am to 11:30am, as well as all day on weekends. The very hungry may like to try Ben’s Big Breaky [$22.50], which features poached or fried eggs with bacon, baked beans, mushrooms and chipolatas. If you’re after something a little more refined, then look no further than the Meredith [$15.00] with its fresh vine ripened tomatoes and roasted red peppers served on toasted sourdough, starring – you guessed it – creamy Meredith goat’s cheese. A sweet but healthy option is the vanilla poached pear, fresh berries and banana with yoghurt & a sprinkle of toasted muesli [$12.50]. Otherwise, the toasted banana bread with vanilla ricotta, mixed berry compote & toasted almonds [$14.50] is bound to keep anyone happy.
We arrived just in time for lunch and with so much on offer, finally opted for the eggplant parmagiana served with tossed garden salad [$19.50]. This was quite a surprising dish that somewhat resembled a lasagne, with thin slices of eggplant between layers of tasty Parmesan cheese and rich tomato sauce. It was not what we had expected from our previous forays into the eggplant parmagiana world. The ample serving and glorious texture of the eggplant, as well as the density of the cheese were perfectly offset by the freshness of the salad on the side.
Deciding to go all-out veggo, we also had the vegetarian pastie with broccoli salad and relish[$18.50]. This pastie was an absolute delight with its flaky, buttery pastry and soft, lightly curried filling. The relish was zesty, providing a flavourful boost to the overall dish. We found the broccoli to be tender, beautifully seasoned and boasting a certain savouriness that left us longing for more.
Other distinctive lunch offers include the Hungarian beef goulash served with brown rice [$18.50] and the beautifully presented chicken, mushroom and leek crepe served with salad [$17.00]. Meanwhile, an extensive range of gourmet take-home food – think sausage rolls, pies and quiche as well as a splendid selection of sandwiches and salads – keeps the time-poor coming back for more. If you’re feeling naughty, then you may fancy taking away a pastry or two from the many sweets on display. We tried the chocolate, caramel and macadamia slice, which was condensed and divine.
There are even mini cupcakes for the littlies, topped with glitter and red jellies.
A selection of T2 teas provide the perfect accompaniment to any sweet, otherwise coffee and chai is also served. However, you simply can’t go past the fantastic dairy free smoothies and freshly squeezed juices to kick-start your day. Our favourite was definitely The Hulk [$8.50] – a vibrant, light and refreshing juice with celery, apple, pear, spinach, cucumber and a squeeze of lime. This juice cleansed the palate and left us feeling energised for the day ahead.
With its relaxed ambiance, friendly service and extensive menu of remarkably tempting food, Bossy Boots is the kind of place where you can settle in for the afternoon – rain or shine – to indulge in people-watching, read a book or share in banter with family and friends. Offering home-cooked goodness to locals, visitors and professionals alike, it is no wonder that this café and food store is so popular amongst return visitors. Whether you’re after a lazy brunch, scrumptious sweets or something moreish to take away, Bossy Boots has you covered and you will surely be keen to head back for more.
Address: 106 Bay Street, Brighton VIC
Contact: (03) 9596 6825
Hours: Mon-Fri, 7am-6pm; Sat 7:30am-4pm; Sun 8am-3pm; Closed public holidays.
Photos by Serena Ho for the AU Review