There's a reason why an hour-long wait arises within the first five minutes of unlocking the doors for weekend brunch at South Congress Café. The food, atmosphere and location are simply top-notch, flawlessly fusing together the trendiness of the restaurant's South Congress block and its classic menu and interior design.
First things first: the carrot cake french toast. If Giada de Laurentiis orders this exact dish during every visit to Austin, it must be nothing short of outstanding. So we ordered the entreé portion (our waiter failed to tell us that a side order option is available...oops) and split it among the three of us. We about died after the first bite. Dipped in a pecan cream cheese syrup, the carrot cake seems to be cooked in a bread pan and grilled french-toast style. It's bread-like but sweet and crumbly at the same time. I would go back just for this; and no, not just because of Giada.
Ashley's smoky pancetta and brie omelette was a menu special. The creamy cheese choice added a richer taste to a beautifully cooked omelette. The potato pancake side was a terrific spin on typical hash browns or breakfast potatoes.
My lemon & goat cheese pancakes with blueberry compote were appetizing yet odd. I thought the goat was a bit too overpowering and sour for a sweet cake; ricotta would've been much more enjoyable. The over-easy eggs and extra crispy bacon were delicious on the side.
Brenna's vegetarian egg-white omelette was the healthiest of our orders, but it was just as satisfying! The spinach, portabellos and artichokes soaked up immense flavor, and the added avocado is always a good move, in my opinion.
Let's be real: you cannot begin your day in SoCo on a better note than at South Congress Cafe. Carrot cake french toast, then antique shopping and some oysters for an afternoon snack on the Perla's patio? Count me in.