Melbourne

Supernormal

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“Drunk brunch?” I ask my friend Ashley. The answer is affirmative, and I throw out a couple of suggestions before we end up, of all places, at Supernormal. The first thing to hit our table is a plate of pickled vegetables and fungi.

Asian fusion in a pared-down, glass-box restaurant is not what I normally have in mind when I envision getting tipsy before noon, but Ashley and I both have flights in the afternoon, and Supernormal is half a block from her hotel. Plus, Hosier Lane, where she still needs to take photos, is just down the street. We will allow ourselves to be shameless tourists.

Ashley is based in New York, pursuing one of those high-powered careers that make me doubt from time to time whether I will ever amount to anything. Her workweek is long and intense, and on weekends she indulges in all the bourgeois accoutrements of city living. I get that: when I lived in Manhattan and all of my money seemed to be going to rent, the best Sunday mornings would be filled with mimosas and eggs Benedict and fatty pork, affordable or not.

There was an Australian-themed brunch place in Alphabet City, now closed, that was run by some guys from Tasmania. I visited once with a group of friends and we got inebriated enough to flirt with the waitstaff and not feel guilty, to go for more bacon, more screwdrivers, and not feel guilty. Simple fare, and cheap. We are slightly older, somewhat more moneyed today than we were then. Is this what Australian drunk brunch means now? Sliced sea bream and a single umeshu spritz?

Our carb-and-protein fix does come, eventually, in the form of scallion pancakes and slow-cooked lamb. It is so good, and so much. I go in for seconds, thirds, consuming meat to the brink of discomfort. “You don’t have to eat it all,” Ashley insists, but I do anyway. This is what drunk brunches are supposed to consist of: food, company, and the overfilling, fulfilling sensation of glutting on both.

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Andrew McConnell’s beloved restaurant, illuminated by neon cherries, sits on restaurant-heavy Flinders Lane. The interior veers Japanese minimalist, but the menu is more Asian-eclectic: kimchi, sashimi, wontons, and szechuan peppers are all present. Crowd favorites include the New England lobster roll and slow-cooked lamb, but beware of portion sizes; the former is petite, while the latter is substantial.

Address
180 Flinders Ln, Melbourne
Hours
Mon-Thu: 11:00-23:00; Fri-Sat: 11:00-24:00; Sun: 11:00-23:00
Phone
03 9650 8688
Price
Around 70 AUD per person

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