Prince Public Bar has been one of Melbourne’s best-known watering holes for more than a century, but did you know we’re open for breakfast?
A far cry from your typical pub brekky fry-up, in the mornings Prince Public Bar moonlights as your favourite cafe serving St Kilda’s best coffee, fresh juices, smoothies, and an exceptional brunch spread.
As our new breakfast chef Elly Aswin prepares to launch a new menu, we share the low-down on her career to date and where she finds her inspiration.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Do you prefer sweet, or savoury?
I definitely prefer savoury, but when I’m out with my sister or with friends I make sure I order one sweet dish and one savoury so we can share. I’m not really a sweet person but this way I can find out what other places are doing. It’s good research.
There are some exciting new additions popping up on the Public Bar breakfast menu from next week. What can we expect?
For the sweet-lovers – mini jaffa madeleines served with marmalade, dark chocolate ganache, macadamia and freeze dried mandarin.
The savoury waffle is a spinach & chive waffle with sous vide ocean trout, spinach, a poached egg and lemon myrtle hollandaise
We’re also updating one of the current favourites, chilli scrambled eggs, adding crustacean oil and a grilled bug’s tail.
You’ve got an impressive CV and have worked in a variety of venues from cafes to bistros and fine dining. Why did you decide to specialise as a breakfast chef?
Brunch is my favourite meal of the day! Really! And I love waking up in the morning, I’m a morning person.
What I love about breakfast or brunch is you can be really creative. You don’t have to be limited to traditional breakfast ingredients – you can use lunch ingredients as well. And you can do a fine dining plate up, without the fine dining price.
They say Melbourne is the brunch capital of Australia, if not the world. What dishes have you seen on Melbourne menus that have made you go ‘wow’.
The Ricotta Hotcakes at Kettle Black in South Melbourne with seasonal berries and toasted seeds and double cream. The texture is incredible.
At Mr & Mrs Anderson, a take on a Japanese omelette with yuzu mayo, seared scallops sauteed asparagus, wasabiko and croutons. That’s a pretty special dish.
Where do you find your inspiration?
A few years ago I was lucky enough to get a role working at Kettle Black. I was happy to take a step back in terms of my career so I could learn from the best in the brunch business. Every cafe in Melbourne watches to see what they are doing there.
One of the founders of Kettle Black was Jesse McTavish and he has done some amazing things in each of the venues he has worked in during his career. I really admire him.
I also follow hundreds of restaurants on instagram, I spend hours on there every day. And I love Broadsheet.
For my own menu, something I want to do is use indigenous ingredients and use them in breakfast dishes. You see them being used a lot in fine dining, but I haven’t really seen it in breakfast.
Tea or Coffee?
Is avocado on toast really dead?
I think it’s dying. It’s definitely not as popular as it used to be but it’s still a necessary menu item for the people that aren’t ready to let it go.
So what’s the new Melbourne breakfast/brunch go-to?
Melbourne seems a bit stuck in terms of the new cult dish. A lot of cafes are watching each other and replicating each other’s menus. I think we need to see chef’s be bolder, push more boundaries and try new things.
What’s the best meal you’ve had recently (and was it brunch?)
Just before lock down I went to Minamishima for dinner and it was incredible. If you haven’t been you have to go!
The highlight for me was the steamed custard with abalone.
The restaurant itself is quite dark and has a kind of New York style vibe. But then I had a scoop of that steamed custard. It took me straight away to the beach, like I was right here in St Kilda. The smell of the sea in that dish was amazing.
Prince Public Bar is open for breakfast from 7am – 11.30am, seven days a week.
Check out our breakfast menu.
Book your table for breakfast at Prince Public Bar now.