Set in an old cottage, just off Brunswick’s Sydney Road, Rogue District is probably one of the cutest cafes you’ll see. It’s full of laid-back laughter and great fresh food, giving you options of cosy seating inside, a bright and lively seating area out front, and a smaller more intimate courtyard through the back.
We arrived mid-morning on a Saturday (a little later and sweatier than planned – thanks for that PTV and Metro trains), and the place was bustling. Fortunately, we were still seated almost straight away as I was desperate for a coffee after my terrible morning. Tables were being cleared promptly to accommodate new customers however, chatting to the owner, their reputation is growing and this once hidden gem is now having queues for tables at peak times. This isn’t really a surprise, before you even try the food you can tell this cafe has a great feel. You’re warmly welcomed, and it lacks much of the pretension of your typical hipster Brunswick hang out.
Service was friendly, if initially a little slow; however, staff were attentive and the food came in good time. I was definitely happy with the service. It struck me more as staff being slightly overwhelmed with the level of customers than lack of organisation or training, and like any cafe that sees its popularity growing, this will be something I’m confident the owners will iron out over time.
The coffee is great, a good balance between strength and flavour and certainly perked me up for the morning. The food is even better. I spent a long time deliberating over the menu as they had some great specials and lunch options. I eventually decided on the leek and Gruyere croquettes, as I wanted to stick to something fairly breakfast oriented and savoury. My friend chose the smashed avo; however, the tim tam pancakes, the burgers from the lunch menu and the BimBim Waffles from the specials board all looked like great options. The variety of the menu is a real plus and there is something to please everyone, from sweet to savoury, simple to sophisticated.
Every element of my dish was so fresh. I was surprised how much colour it had and the sweet potato crisps, mushroom and salad allowed the rich croquette to shine on the plate, while still giving me lots of interesting textures. They made the dish feel healthy and light too. The smashed avo was one of those really great ones, that is bursting with colour and flavour. Again, the seeded bread and accompaniments made the dish have a fresh, healthy feel. Both dishes were the perfect balance between substantial and nutritious that I always strive for when I want a healthy brunch day. The pancakes, however, would be top of my list when I’ve got those cheat day vibes.
Overall, a really pleasurable experience. I left feeling well fed and relaxed. I’ve eaten in several local cafes in this area and I have to say the quality of food at Rogue District is a step up from the rest. No gimmicks here, just good coffee and great food. It’s not a place to tick off a list, but somewhere you’ll want to make your new Brunswick Brunch home. Thanks for having us!