The El Food Brothers have had a run in with the Feds this week. But don’t worry, this is the good kind who serve you eggs and not the kind that investigate your affairs with the aim of finding your involvement in organised crime.
Federal Cafe is our venue for our legitimate businessman’s meeting, where they serve Brunch whilst we discuss all our above board wheelings and dealings.
The Feds as it will now be know, keeping in our naming tradition started with ‘The Zibs‘, bills itself as a cafe and bar, ‘aiming to bring a bit of antipodean cafe culture to Manchester’s Northern Quarter’. Now if your like me and had to Google the big word there, basically this is Australian / New Zealand style.
Having never been to either place, and getting all my Australian cultural knowledge from watching Neighbours 2 time a day for 3 years, I can not speak with auhority on whether they have nailed the culture or not. As always, The Feds have all the authority and we have none.
What I do know, is that avocado seems to be getting involved in breakfasts more and more nowadays. I’ve seen several places offering the ‘smashed avo’, with it being particularly common to have it on a bacon sarnie, mate. And I think we have the antipodeans to blame for it.
Now even a week a go, I would never had considered eating such a thing, but the El Food Brothers are broadening their culinary horizions, with the motto “I’ll try anything once, yes even that”. In fact it is El Food Two confessing to me that he ate ‘chilli-con-avacado’ that inspires the visit to The Feds, with my mind firmly set on having some smashed avo for the first time. For the un-informed, thats avocado, smashed up. Those things that look like bruised testicles and stay at a perfect ripeness for 0.2 seconds before becoming a horrible brown mess.
We like The Feds before even arriving, as they reply promptly to our Twitter engagement, tempting us in with pictures of the testi-treat. Restaurants take note, don’t just let you socials become a one way street, and if you are looking for a social media manager, the El Food Brothers are available.
Upon arrival ‘brunch’ time, we enter into a building that feels about 3 times too small for the amount of people who want to eat here. We hover around the counter not sure what to do, we don’t want to back out now. But even with the El Food Brothers now being over 3st less, we aren’t sure we fancying squeezing in the only space we can see.
We bite the bullet and agree with a member of staff that we will indeed ‘squeeze in there’. And so the El Food Brothers become nestled between 2 other parties of dinners, and feel like we are invading the personal space of at least 4 too many people. If you count the fact that even the El Food Brothers felt they were too close to each other, thats 6 people feeling a bit awkward now.
We can’t back down now though, that would make it even more awkward, and that is not the British way. Maybe this ‘cosy-ness’ is the antipodean way. Or maybe its the Feds way?
Having just slid ourselves into 2 cosy holding cells, we realise we are going to have to get back up to order. El Food Two is not a fan of this ordering at the till, and I have to agree, especially when I’m constantly having to check behind me before getting up, to ensure I don’t knock over a passing staff member.
But up we get with purpose, and I’m sure I know what I’m having for once. ‘Giv us one Smashed Avo with bacon there mate’. El Food Two is still figuring out the omlette situation at the point of sale. Theres only one option for an omlette officially. On the specials ‘board’, actually a roll of brown paper that seems to be ‘de facto’ standard of the NQ.
The special does not meet his dietary requirements though, so negations are started on a custom egg-white omlette of mushrooms and spinach. Even at this stage, the guy taking the order is saying ‘it will cost you more’ which seems a bit harsh, but also an odd thing for a business to admit. El Food Two ends up paying around 50p more for his than mine, and really gets the thin end of the wedge. In fact he doesn’t even get a wedge, where as I have 2 wedges of sourdough bread.
Back to the prison of our own making, we find our conversation is mostly about how close we are to each other, and our fellow inmates. Or just listening to our peoples conversations, as it was impossible not too. This is not the place to discuss your organised ‘not’ crime thats for sure. Maybe our fellow dinners are actually agents of the Feds?
We both join in a ‘stake-out’ of the food coming from the kitchen, to avoid having to look into each others eyes for too long. We spy a lot of Eggs Benedict during this time, which we are still not sure what it is, before we eventually spot the tell-tale green mush that is my avo coming our way.
This is the first time I start to feel comfortable, as eating always makes everything alright. My plate looks packed with tasty offerings. Lovely bit of avo, 2 perfectly cooked eggs, the forementioned wedges of sourdough, and a hefty does of crispy bacon. I’ve even nabbed the Tabasco from the side before sitting down, I believe hot sauce should be a requirment of all breakfast food, so good on the Feds for that.
El Food Twos in comparison looks a bit disappointing. It was never going to be the greatest, as he’s not even got any meat on his plate. The omelette looks a bit flat, and moving around the toppings reveals a few gaps in the eggy base.
A good few dashes of the Tabasco and I crack on, starting with the egg which splits apart to reveal its runny yolky loveliness. I tuck into the avo, pairing it with egg and bacon as I’m still not sure I’ll like the taste. But its all fine! It works suprisingly well with the otherwise tradtional breakfast fare. I would say it works a damn sight better than the usual dollop of overly juicy beans you get most places. Beans are Bullshit. In fact the whole thing is throughly enjoyable, with only a slight complaint that the bacon was a little too crispy, and I like my bacon crispy.
El Food Two gets along with his fine, but he later admits that he should have gone with what I had. Although totting up the calories after we finish, which has become the norm for us now, its clear that whilst an avacado may be ‘good fats’ its still bloody 300 odd calories for one! Still, it might mean I’m less likely to die of a heart attack. In fact, I enjoyed this breakfast so much, that I recreated it on the weekend, and it is likely to replace the usual ‘fry-up’ style breakfast.
Nicked @FederalCafeBar 's idea + did it back to them What you think #smashedavo #poachedeggs #crispybacon #sodabread pic.twitter.com/Co7dLxDQ8K
— El Food Brothers (@elfoodbrothers) May 22, 2016
Maybe if I keep eating the antipodean way long enough, I’ll eventually look like a handsome, cool, surfer from an Australian soap. Closer each day…
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