This past holiday season marked my first one as a New Yorker and the most adventurous year yet. Beautiful strolls through Central Park admiring Manhattan’s unique architecture, venturing to see the bright lights of the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, shopping in Herald Square, and of course, I was able to fit in some good comfort brunching.
With my gift shopping complete on the Sunday before Christmas, I asked my girlfriend Seun to meet me in the Upper West Side for a quiet brunch at Burke & Wills, a classic Aussie-inspired bistro.
Upon arriving, we were seated in a perfectly intimate table situated in a quite interesting area of the restaurant. I couldn’t take my eyes off the unique glass ceiling that brought me back to my Southern roots — bright, comforting, and peaceful.
Although this was my first brunch at Burke & Wills, I was elated after finding out that they had just updated their menu with classic brunch favorites like eggs Benedict and French toast, but also with a few savory, hearty dishes. We started off with the winter vegetable hash, a collaboration of celery root, squash, Brussels sprouts, and mushrooms, which turned out to be a perfect medley of flavor goodness.
The new menu also offers an array of classic cocktails and spirits served an a unique fashion, Brunchers have the option to partake in the build your own Bloody Mary bar, which allows you to put your own special touches to this traditional drink. Ultimately, we decided to go with something tangy, yet sweet: a proper English Pimms brunch punch, featuring Pimms No. 1, Fever Tree ginger ale, 7-up, cucumber, and a mint garnish.
After mulling through the menu for our main dishes, I decided to go with non-traditional brunch dish, the housemade gnocchi. This Italian specialty was accompanied with roasted mushrooms, bacon, pecorino, and topped with a fried egg. I enjoyed the complexity of flavors and how each specific ingredient stood out on the plate.
Seun went for a more classic brunch dish, the French toast served with Nutella and syrup. How can you go wrong with Nutella? The French toast was warm and melted in with the hazelnut spread, and we easily finished each bite.
The Bitches say: Five Champagne flutes.. The dishes were thoroughly delicious and embodied a Southern seasonal cuisine with an exclusive design of ingredient choices. Friendly waitstaff, quiet ambiance, and esthetically appealing.
Burke & Wills is open for brunch on Saturday from 11 a.m until 4 p.m. and on Sunday from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m.