Austin Restaurant Review: mulberry

21 12 2009

mulberry is one of those swanky downtown eateries that have recently sprung up in Austin along with all of those expensive glass condo towers.  In fact it’s on the ground floor of the new 360 building (also home to Garrido’s, reviewed here).

When you walk by mulberry, the first thing you think is “bar.”  With the built-in shelving full of wine bottles and the beautiful marble topped bar, all designed by Michael Hsu of Uchi fame, it looks built for nighttime.  But it’s also one of the best places in town to get brunch.

This frittata with gruyere and crimini mushrooms drizzled with truffle oil ($11) was classic hunger-busting breakfast fare with a sophisticated gloss.  It’s amazing how just a few drops of that musky, earthy liquid can make anything sexy, even a humble omelet.  The one quibble I had was that the greens had no dressing.

The wife loved the shrimp and polenta with red chili butter wine sauce ($10).  I thought it was a little salty, but as I love both shrimp and all corn-derived products, I can’t criticize it too much.

We were full by now, but we had to try the brioche french toast with fresh berries and cardamom syrup ($11).  The cardamom syrup was delicious and inventive, faintly reminiscent of the syrup poured over my favorite Indian dessert, Gulab Jamun, without all the sugar.  The toast was a little bit too coarse and thick.  I’m not sure if it was really brioche, which should be must softer.  Never mind; the syrup alone was enough to make this dish.

Wash it all down with some mimosas and raspberry-rose prosecco, and you’ve got a serious brunch.

The next time you’re looking for a satsifying brunch after a late night at the bars, take a break from the Kirbys and Magnolias of the world and pull a chair up at mulberry.