Friday, 25 February 2011

BrimCC Organic Soup and Japanese Cafe

601 Little Collins St
Melbourne, 3000

My head is swimming, my throat hurts, I am sneezing uncontrollably. It is time to bring on the healing properties of a good soup! And a search for ‘soup places’ in the CBD on Urbanspoon directed me to BrimCC Organic Soup and Japanese Cafe. To be entirely honest, I was a little apprehensive about a soup place that doubled as a Japanese Cafe seeing as, as far as I know, the only thing those two have in common is miso soup. But Chris was hungry, so we ended up eating there anyway.

 Between the two of us, we ordered the Curry and Soup Lunch Set ($12.50), which gave us a half serve of curry, and the soup of the day. For the curries, there was a choice between chicken tomato, beef, and vegetable, and we went for the chicken tomato curry. There was a creamy pumpkin soup available that day which looked really good, but I only had eyes for the Hungarian goulash with gnocchi, which looked promisingly chunky.

Chicken and Tomato Curry (half serve, part of $12.50 set)
If that is a half serve, how one person can finish a full serve of curry is beyond me. And there was so much curry sauce that I could only see the rice from a tiny corner (do bowls have corners?). There were generous chunks of chicken and carrots swimming in the sauce, which was very mild, and quite different from most of the Japanese curries in town. The taste is a lot lighter, as opposed to full and creamy like most other places. I found out later that this was due to the fact that they use a vegetable stock, as well as the secret ingredient of apples, which lends acidity to the curry. This curry, whilst fairly nice tasting and warming, left me craving for just a little extra oomph – maybe a slightly heavier hand with the spices would have done the trick?

And this is my soup. Looks pretty unassuming, right?

Hungarian Goulash with Gnocchi (part of $12.50 set)
But a couple of sips of soup later, a treasure trove is revealed – I think the question isn’t what’s in this soup, but what’s NOT in this soup. There is capsicum, onion, tomato, and celery abound, and big hearty chunks of beef and gnocchi, all soft and flavoursome from soaking up the soup, and all tasting very fresh. Every aspect of the soup is delicious but the gnocchi deserves a special mention. I never thought I would say that the best gnocchi I’ve ever had comes from a tiny little Japanese cafe but this is without a doubt, the best I’ve ever had. It’s so soft and fluffy that I had a hard time believing that I wasn’t biting into a ball of the creamiest mashed potato, and it soaked up the hearty, tomato-y soup brilliantly. It was absolutely fantastic.

Cafe Interior
Clearly, I’m not the only one who’s discovered this little gem of a place. And with only 14 seats inside and another handful outside, you’re going to have a hard time getting a place during the lunch hour. Despite being small and busy though, this place has an almost zen-like charm to it. The space is bright, airy and minimalistic, and there is a definite sense of contentment as everyone around you digs into hearty, home-made meals. The staff here are so polite, friendly and helpful that you almost feel as if you’re eating in the kitchen of a very hospitable neighbour. The food is cheap, homely and generous, and the soups is especially nourishing. And what do you know? I feel a lot better already! I’ll be back to try the curry and salad combo soon.

Rating: 14/20 – Soup for the Soul

BrimCC Organic Soup and Japanese cafe on Urbanspoon

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