When I drove past Merchants Guild randomly I got so excited there was a potentially great brunch place on that side of town, which I could call on when needed. I waited in line whilst the café buzzed with customers eating their delicious food and wished they would all hurry up so I could similarly stuff face. I hoped that Merchants Guild would meet my expectations, but instead they impressed like crazy.
The décor inside is comfortable and bright, and despite the storage shelves being in full view, you don’t feel like you’re eating in a grimy warehouse. Personally I feel it’s the greenery that helps lift the atmosphere up.
This actually isn’t the first time I have eaten at Merchants Guild, I think I am up to sitting number three or four and I’m still returning with fervour. That being said, don’t attend during peak time when you’re insanely hungry, their service is quite slow but their friendly, helpful staff definitely balance that out.
I opted for my tried and true Roast potato bubble and squeak, hot smoked trout, horseradish cream, pickled shallots and two poached eggs ($18.0) and the wait was worth it. Served piping hot the perfectly cooked potatoes combines so well with the tasty trout and cream (which isn’t spicy at all, so don’t worry). They nailed the poached eggs, breaking open deliciously when poked. Sexy.
The Chorizo Hot Pot topped with poached eggs and parmesan cream ($20.0) was a lovely warming winter dish but served with a fork instead of a spoon, and not enough bread to mop up the delicious sauce. The overlying taste was rich tomato, though the smoked chorizo and other hearty veg also filled the dish out. On its own, the chorizo became a bit tasteless after a few bites and thus it was a nice dish, but nothing special.
Just FYI, these guys have THE BEST chocolate milkshakes ($6.0) in town. Utilising Mörk chocolate, they are creamy, the perfect amount of chocolatey without being too bitter or sickeningly sweet. Plus the cup they are served in is pretty darn generous.
To finish it off we ordered the Doughnut French toast with vanilla marscapone, peaches, berries and pistachios ($16.5). The soft thick-ass piece of heavily sugared French toast was not as dense as a donut, so I’m not sure why it is called so. I guess it was sweet bread but… I feel the dish definitely needed the marscapone otherwise the toast ended up too dry and plain. The blueberries and peaches were nice and sweet, but a hint of syrup would not have gone astray. The addition of pistachios didn’t do much for me, but were a necessity for the much desired ‘texture’ of a dish these days. I wanted this dish to blow my mind like Top Paddock’s but it didn’t even come close.
TL;DR A great south-side eatery with no competition for miles around. A few hit and miss dishes but overall, brunch fare at a highly satisfactory level.