A few years ago these tables in Salamanca Place in Hobart wouldn't have seen the light of day until much later in the day, perhaps at lunchtime or even closer to dinner time for some cafes and restaurants. In recent years however a new phenomenon has reached Australia - going out in the morning or mid-morning to enjoy what has become known as brunch.
As an avid lover of dining out for brunch for a few years now I was surprised to read some criticisms this week in the media about this. Questions about why people would bother going out when they can easily cook up some toast or bacon and eggs at home or put the kettle on and have a cuppa without the bother or expense of going out.
I read these statements quietly thinking to myself that this person hasn't really seen what brunch now looks like across Australia. Sure, some places serve up toast and jam or bacon and eggs but most places now have a much wider variety of breakfast dishes. In fact many of the dishes aren't really typical breakfast items at all. They probably closer resemble what we would have previously regarded as lunch or even dinner in some cases. I'm sure if you had one of those bigger meals you really wouldn't want lunch anyway.Or be able to fit it in! And I haven't even mentioned coffee yet. Speaking from my own experience, Melbournians in particular seem to need their coffee fix in the morning, so building in some food to go with it makes good sense.
The article did acknowledge that brunch probably started to gain in popularity a few years ago when people wanted to go out for a meal, to enjoy the company of others, to feel that nurturing feeling that only comes from others cooking a meal for you, but dining out for dinner was becoming unaffordable. So a cheaper option which served a similar purpose became the idea of brunch. People's busy lifestyles also meant that brunch provided an alternative to being out at night time. Who knows, the heavy promotion of the importance of a healthy breakfast might even have played a role in building its popularity.
So there's some very good reasons why brunch evolved as this new phenomenon. It has clearly taken off since then though. It seems to be gaining in popularity now with some cafes having all day breakfast menus. Some cafes open from 6 am to meet the needs of very early risers. Some cafes seem to pride themselves on their brunch menu and that becomes their specialty. Who would have thought that would happen?
It's an interesting reflection on our society and us as people just how we evolve and new ideas pick up and take off. A decade ago we might have thought that this basic meal was simply something you do before you rush out the door in the morning, one of those necessary things you do without thinking about it too much perhaps lingering a bit longer on weekends as you read the papers. Over time we adapt and new ways of living, new ways of engaging with each other, new ways of spending our time evolve to meet our needs at that particular point in our existence.
So if you're new to the phenomenon of brunch or you haven't really seen it take off in your area, seek it out. Have a look and experience it to see what you think. You might just find it's not a bad way to start the day.