Breakfast signifies the start of a day.
Which is why whether its the night at 4am, the morning at 7am, or the afternoon at 1pm, I usually run around trying to find a breakfast spot, touted as brunch for better appeal, wishing for a sign that the day has just begun and that everything will be awesome.
Case in point, my slumber in the park in San Francisco, which sent my stomach rumbling in the middle of the afternoon owing to a fun Lookbook session. San Francisco is essentially a second home to me owing to the sunny vibes, culinary connection and general lifestyle affiliation. Possibly more comforting than the wintry wrath of the East.
The gratifying space was called Central Kitchen, un-inventively named but inventive in its brunch offering. Calling itself a thoughtful food joint at the corner of a nightlife staple Trick Dog, I found the open and plantation speckled space instantly inviting. It was located in an eternally art driven and touted to be the upcoming neighborhood is The Mission, with walls sprawling with artwork and individuals roaming with artistic abandon. Plus an easy stone’s throw from Dolores Park, where I had indulged in many Lookbook Legacies with Gastronomypix.
Yawning windows and ceilings meant that we could wear addictive sunglasses indoors too, and indulgence that was rare in San Francisco’s laid back fashion scene, and one which I licked up the opportunity of doing.
Equally sumptuous was the aroma from the kitchens of Thomas McNaughton and Mark Bolton, executive chef and chef de cuisines respectively. Starting out with a herb infused bread, which was warm too. For there is no excuse or substitute for freshly baked bread for brunch.
We started with the three cheese plate, complete with lavosh, fennel preserves and walnuts, the latter two whisking me straight back to my street food exploration in Dubai. For fennel is one of those herbs who’s brief touch can ignite a bomb of hidden spice and warmth in a palette. A growing pastime, this cheese tasting comprised of three cheeses: a tart Gouda, salty and smoky with perfect aging, a velvety gruyere with a sweet rind, and an aptly sour and strong variant of a blue cheese with clementine inserts.
That was probably my order of preference for these, and they melted wonderfully with the accompaniments: spherical mounds of honey, lazy dollops of herbs and fennel, a fennel preserve jam which alone tasted so strong I felt I was in Amsterdam again! The brightness of green on an otherwise honey hued plate was a masterstroke in plating. The whole wheat crackers were a touch too salty owing to visible specks of salt, but offset the sweetness of the preserves well.
I got the soft scrambled eggs on green olive toast, topped with fresh curds and peas. The corstini duet was long, craftily plated to contrast the perfect scramble of protein and provide a base to the mountainous, three dimensional dish. Besides the plating composition, it was the sharp green of the partially pureed peas that were the star of this dish.
With their natural sweetness, the peas had a sharp and almost bubbly texture. The olive oil was a merry accompaniment giving them a smoother feel, especially when blended with a few spices, visible specks of herbs. Rosemary, basil and thyme were in surprising harmony, for one would have thought they would battle the profile. Throwing in a handful of peas into the scrambled eggs made the plate come together beautifully, both visually and tastefully.
Gastronomypix ordered the inventively plated poached eggs, polenta, maitake, duck and carrot, which while I didn’t taste, embodied a handful of caramelized baby carrots that I sneaked a piece of. Earthy and rustic in its plating, its no wonder that the founders of this place called it thoughtful food, reminding me of a gastronomic accomplishment I had recently devoured in Beverly Hills.
It spoke of the healthy, filling and satisfying brunch that we opted for a lazy walk in the park instead of a bowl of dessert.
With the thoughts of inventive food adding a feather in the cap of one of the finest culinary cities: San Francisco.