The blogger's guide to breakfast

Lorraine Elliot aka Not Quite Nigella runs one of the country's most popular food blogs
Lorraine Elliot aka Not Quite Nigella runs one of the country's most popular food blogs

Lorraine Elliott is the creative foodie behind the blog ‘Not Quite Nigella’, with her adventures and recipes attracting over a quarter of a million readers a month. As a big brunch fan, Elliott offers some advice on how to present customers with a winning breakfast menu.

Be different
I had a great breakfast in Byron Bay recently and noticed that the food was quite expensive but fantastic. I was at Byron Beach Café, and had a mango and red quinoa salad with a piece of fish served on a hash brown: for breakfast! I loved it.
It was all so simple but it was different to what you normally see in Sydney. Breakfast menus tend to be based on the regulars: you get the jaffles, avocado on toast and baked eggs. But they weren’t just copying what happens in the capital cities. They were doing their own thing, and that really speaks to accommodating your customer.
I went to a café in Sydney, Rustic Café, where they specialised in eggs benedict, serving five types. They even had lobster eggs benedict. It was a menu a lot of people were interested in because it was slightly different.
My advice is that you can either be told what to serve by your customer or lead your customer. Restaurant and cafe owners say, ‘we just give the customers what they want’ but sometimes you can introduce them to things they’ve never tried before.
Play around with breakfast and brunch menus and be as creative with them as you are with your entrees for dinner. Make someone have a reason to go out for breakfast. There’s life beyond avocado on toast.

Eggs Benedict reinvented
Eggs Benedict reinvented

Healthy or indulgent?
Wellbeing is such a big part of the breakfast food theme at the moment. Social media really helps this trend because healthy food is incredibly photogenic, which is great for Instagram. But these days, we are also getting really indulgent breakfast meals as well, like milkshakes and doughnuts.
These two trends are at completely opposite ends of the spectrum but I am seeing both of them in a lot of breakfast menus. Sometimes the two types of meals are on the same menu but generally they are not: the café or restaurant usually specalises in Paleo food and serves acai bowls or they’ll do crazy doughnut shakes or deep-fried French toast for breakfast.

Breakfast at Rustic Pearl in Surry Hills
Breakfast at Rustic Pearl in Surry Hills

Don’t make me wait
I don’t like queues. You know those places where you have to wait for ages and the queues go around the corner? I’m not into that.
In the morning, when I go for breakfast, I don’t want there to be a barrier between me and my food. I’ll wait half an hour – tops. It’s the first meal of the day and I want to know when I’m going to eat and not have an open-ended question about it.

Buy local
Back in the 80s everything was ‘imported’ whereas now it’s all about having food that’s local, even at breakfast.
As the world becomes more industrialised, we have less of an idea where the food we eat comes from. Now people want to know where it comes from and they want to go to eat at a place where they bring in a whole animal, break it down and use every part of it.
Customers are rediscovering that local food is completely delicious and are seeking more of a connection to the food. Knowing more about the food you eat and where it comes from is a good thing

Time warp
There’s a trend towards reviving old menu items; items that people have forgotten about are now the new big thing.
For example, when I was young, I never saw black pudding on a menu but it’s starting to appear on a lot on breakfast menus. Chefs are also starting to do their own jams and pickling. They are using pickled carrots or turnips instead of parsley as a garnish.
Making your own sausages is also on-trend: artisan sausages rather than standard sausages.
I guess it’s all about fashion. Everything that’s old comes around again.

Not Quite Nigella; As told to Yasmin Noone.