A brilliant breakfast menu is like a knockout second album by a band you love: different and original enough to leave the critics a little dizzy, but familiar enough to ensure everything that drew you in the first place hasn’t been reprogrammed out of existence.
So, you want eggs, sides, toast and the comfort of ordering all day (to maintain the fantasy that you haven’t really slept in so extravagantly), but, like a fast-bored kid, you want the “surprise me” factor, too. This is an epic ask, but it is also what makes you single out a cafe for extra attention, endless return visits and much deserved “new favourite” status.
And so it is with Baffi & Mo in Redfern, which is now that place we try to brainwash people into visiting ‘cos we love it so. (It seems to be working as we keep bumping into familiar faces there.)
Like a lot of people, we first heard about this cafe through Time Out magazine endorsing its breakfast, especially the potato hash. And the publication’s ode to this starchy dish has to be seconded, because it is truly awesome. You can get the hash as a stand-alone meal (topped with tomato, asparagus, avocado, ham and egg) or as a side; either way, you’ll enjoy its spectrum of flavour – from the crisp, crusty cross-hatched ‘shell’ on the outer edges to the the soft-cooked potato in the middle. Amaze. It fast rocketed up our list of favourite things, ever.
If you like reliable tradition of ordering eggs and building up your meal, DIY-style, with sides, you can get Eggs (Poached or Scrambled) with Country White Sourdough ($9) and include cameos of Boston Beans, Mushrooms, Feta, Roasted Tomato, etc, for just $3 each. Or you can try Baffi & Mo’s various spins on breakfast standards, such as Roast Mushroom with Basil and Ricotta on Wholemeal Spelt ($8.50) or Homemade Bircher with Poached Pear ($11).
Will and I are fans of the French Toast with Passionfruit Curd, Lime, Ricotta, Strawberry ($12), and even though we were overstuffed by our savoury choices, we pressed on with having it as a ‘Bressert‘. Like everything else, it refocuses a recognisable dish in clever ways: the strawberries seem to be soaked in a kaffir lime leaf syrup, giving them a two-flavoured edge, while the passionfruit curd is sweet and punchy, cutting through the wallflowerish taste of ricotta. Really really good.
And similarly, Pea, Corn and Haloumi Fritters with Fresh Avocado and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes ($12), although technically part of the lunch menu, again gives an obvious meal a superhero phone-booth transformation. The vegetables lighten up the punchy haloumi chunks, a many-flavoured alternative to the usual one-note fritter.
Also, there are fun frappes on the menu, such as the Mixed Berry and Pineapple Mint.
As for the “Mo” in the cafe’s name, I’d expected more facial hair in the decor but the moustaches are sparing, with a few Mario-and-Luigi-style graphic touches here and there. (Although I noticed a very cool moustache necklace on one of the employees today, sourced via a lovely friend in London.) Will and I were actually more taken with the dramatic black-and-white wallpaper that spans across one side of the cafe. (I think Will would snap almost anything in front of that backdrop; judging from his camera-work, he has a bit of a crush on it.)
Another nice thing about Baffi & Mo, it is quite easy to get to, without being in such a high-traffic area that you have to wait forever for a table.
It’s our current favourite and we have a feeling that its sway over us will last quite a (moustache-growing) while.
Baffi and Mo, 94 Redfern Street, Redfern NSW (02) 8065 3294, http://twitter.com/baffiandmo.
P.S. You can see all these awesome pictures in their XL-sized glory on Will’s photo blog.