Eat & Drink

The Brunch Society

Lovedale’s new casual dining experience, The Brunch Society is a restaurant with a difference.

If you’ve ever lunched in Lovedale before, you’ll have no doubt visited Tatler.  It’s a bit of a staple around these parts.  The kind of you place you can always count on for a delicious meal. 

And now, there’s a new reason to visit.  It’s Brunch!  Following a brief closure for renovations, the restaurant has re-opened as ‘The Brunch Society’.

To find out all about their new menu and what you can expect from this new casual dining experience, we caught up with Owner/Restauranteur Katy Carruthers about her love of the “in-between” meal and why it’s got a home in the Hunter Valley.

So, Katy, why Brunch?  What’s The Brunch Society all about?
The Brunch Society is all about menu freedom.  I always found it so frustrating when I went out to eat and the menu was already decided for me based on the time of day.   

“I wanted to create a place where, if you feel like it, you can have Sticky Date Pudding at 8am. Why not!”

Your original Tapas menu was quite popular, what prompted you to change?
I started the Tapas a long time ago.  When we opened back up (following the renovations) I just didn’t want to do the same thing.  I’ve always really loved the style of the famous brunch restaurant “The Hardware Société” too.  It just resonated. 

So, what’s the menu look like now?

“We don’t have a typical breakfast menu. Really, the new menu has a bit of everything.”

We decided to start with sweet so you can order homemade granolas, banana bread, a Nutella-filled raisin bread toasty, waffles and a delicious sticky date pudding with caramel sauce and ice-cream.

Then there’s the savoury side.  We’ve got around 13 savoury menu items on at the moment with everything from our version of the Bacon and Egg roll which has a very special ‘Deep South’ inspired barbeque sauce, to Zelnik (a Macedonian pastry) served with dips, salmon fish cakes and twice cooked Jarlsberg soufflé. 

“We also serve Devonshire Tea with fresh scones, jam and cream and a Middle-Eastern flavoured cheeseboard, perfect for any time of day grazing.”

So, no Tapas then?
The new menu will be everchanging based on fresh produce, seasonality and mood but I’ll always try and accommodate special requests, including Tapas!

Any signature dishes?
That would be our ‘Croque messieurs-dames’ – a leg ham, cheese and Dijon-bechamel baked sandwich with a poached egg. 

“We also offer ‘Bigoli from Veneto’, a traditional dish served in the Veneto region in Italy. It’s a thick style of Spaghetti served with a rich tomato-chilli sauce of mixed meats.”

How did you come to work at Tatler?
I was actually approached by the Isakidis family who own Tatler about heading up their restaurant when the property was first being built, so we’ve worked together for a really long time – around 20 years! 

“Our families know each other well and we all help each other out in the kitchen and cellar door where needed. There’s a really lovely synergy there.”

What would you say is your point of difference from other restaurants in the Valley?
There are no food rules at The Brunch Society.  As we’re only open on the weekends, we have a whole week to prepare which gives us flexibility.  Visitors can call ahead and discuss the menu with us and their preferences.

“We also encourage diners to order in the ‘shared-plate’ style so they can try everything on the menu.”

Does The Brunch Society offer BYO?
No, we don’t offer BYO, but we’re licenced and serve Tatler wines, plus a few classic cocktails like Aperol, Mimosa’s, Espresso Martini’s and a very tasty Gin & Rhubarb cocktail with Sparkling wine.

When are you open?
We’re open Saturday and Sunday from 8am – 4pm.  We can also accommodate groups with a minimum of 25 guests which is great for those regular catch-ups with your friends or special occasions.

How are bookings working at the moment?
Bookings are definitely preferred but the restaurant’s quite large and we can accommodate walk-ins.  We have a huge lawn at the back that has dining facilities and a fire pit.

A bit about Katy…
Katy is an experienced Chef and Restauranteur.  According to Katy, travelling around Europe was the catalyst for her burgeoning career in food and wine.  As Katy notes, “wanderlust took me to France but a love of food and wine kept me there long enough to become a chef!”  It was there, specifically in Beaune, a town in the wine capital of Burgundy, France, where Katy trained and perfected her craft.

Katy returned to Australian some years later and worked at the Sackville’s Sala de Pranzo in Sydney for some “Italian years” as she calls them and following that, opened her own restaurant ‘Katy’s Kitchen’ at Dick’s Hotel in Balmain which offered modern Australian fare.

After having kids, Katy’s next food adventure was the Tatler Tapas Café, inspired by her years in Europe and her desire to create food from all countries touching the Mediterranean.   She headed the kitchen team at Tatler for 15 years and was heavily involved in setting up the café at the Newcastle Regional Museum in the Honeysuckle precinct.

Fast forward to 2020 and the launch of The Brunch Society at Tatler.  A place that is very much Katy’s home.