Sometimes, despite the overabundance of brunch date options in this town, the question of “where should we meet up to brunch?” can more often than not be met with blank, slightly panicked stares and much hmmm-ing and ahhh-ing. It’s almost as if an overabundance of good places and near-constant openings of new places, makes choice harder rather than easier (mon dieu!). Given that I am often viewed as a walking food directory, it is always relieving when before all indecisive eyes turn to me, someone pipes up with “I know a place!”
I had only vague knowledge of Oscar Cooper when it was suggested by Aimee as being a favourite of hers, so I was keenly anticipatory. Taking up a corner spot on Greville Street and St Edmonds Road, Oscar Cooper is light-filled, slightly industrial while also managing to err more on the side of cosy rather than cool, and manages to perk you up from your early morning fug from pure looks before you even spot the menu.
Determined not to start my Sunday morning with a caffeine jolt, I instead turned to the cold drinks section and ordered a strawberry, watermelon, apple and orange juice. One of several interesting fresh juice options on offer, this was a perfect burst of fruit sweetness to start the day with.
After being temporarily beguiled by both the thought of the Red Hill bircher with autumn poached fruits, and the thyme-buttered mushroom and ricotta jaffle, I ended up ordering the roasted beetroot, asparagus and Meredith goat’s cheese omelette with cherry tomatoes and balsamic glaze. It turned out to be more of an upturned baked eggs rather than an omelette, but no matter, it was still very tasty… were it not for the balsamic glaze, which was more of a sauce, and there was an OCEAN of it. It was sickly sweet, and having been recently schooled in the gloriousness of proper 25 year old aged balsamic vinegar, and how a lot of chefs will apparently try to make their vinegar last longer by cooking it down with a heap of sugar, I couldn’t help but be suspicious of the quality. It’s a shame, because without the vinegar the omelette was actually very nice, all cut through with chunks of sweet vegetables, and really the last thing it needed was yet more sweet.
I feel like I may have just accidentally ordered one of Oscar Cooper’s rare bum dishes, as the rest of the table were raving about how good their choices were. Aimee had the thick cut French brioche toast with grilled banana, maple syrup, chocolate buds, strawberries and cream, which was quite blatantly dessert for breakfast and a move that I wholeheartedly applaud. Kim and Bennett both had the Oscar’s benedict on potato rosti, featuring poached eggs, Berkshire bacon, smashed avocado and hollandaise, which looked gorgeous and they both raved about the dish’s fresh and crispy goodness. Aimee also pointed out a lot of other dishes that she’s enjoyed on previous visits – I really should have gone with one of her suggestions, clearly!
So here I find myself in the funny position of sort-of recommending Oscar Cooper, with the caveat that I suggest you don’t order the dish I did. There’s certainly plenty to choose from, it’s a very wide-ranging menu. The menu also made a particular mention of the fact that Oscar Cooper strives to be coeliac friendly, and that the chefs are happy to accommodate for any gluten issues you may have, which is always nice to see. The staff are friendly and the space exudes a surprising amount of warmth, which is often an element sorely lacking in Prahran eateries. This may be one I’ll have to revisit in the future in order to reassess whether this visit was a true representation of the cafe’s capabilities, but for now Oscar Cooper is a cautious ‘give it a go.’
160 Greville Street, Prahran
Ph: 9529 5670