The word ‘Entourage’ instantly makes me think of the HBO series based on Mark Walhberg and his mates’ antics, so when Entourage opened on Lower Elgin Street, my thoughts turned to Jeremy Piven, men behaving badly and models draping themselves on the bar counter.
If that gets you all excited then you’ll be disappointed as it was pretty clear from my visit, that that is definitely not the concept behind this new establishment. The actual idea centers on being a part of a clique, a posse, a crew and using Entourage as a group hang-out, which is a good idea, given that most places are only big enough for groups of three or four.
Not that Entourage is massive, but the downstairs lounge bar (opened two months ago), is comfortable and spacious enough for several tables that surround a diamond shaped bar and look towards a DJ booth that pumps out the latest tunes. The upstairs restaurant and low lounge (four months old), is surprisingly commodious with another bar, a small lounge section with high tables and chairs, their own open bakery and a dining area. The layout is altogether quite harmonious despite all the different zones and I felt pretty relaxed.
My host for the brunch was the helpful media lady, Miss T, who informed me that Entourage aims to be the friendly go-to place for casual dining and drinks for large groups of friends. For this reason, they have the Chef’s table (12 seater) and several tables to accomodate 6-8 people.
The chef, Gregory Arbib is French, but the menu leans towards a more Mediterranean feel. For groups of 12 or more, a set dinner menu is created. The A la carte dishes are set at friendly prices too- the most expensive being the Black Angus beef tenderloin for $260.
The Sunday and Public holiday brunch menu was created a mere two weeks ago and is comprised of a brunch set menu, changed weekly with four sets on offer, starting at $98 for the ‘I’m Early’ brunch, and ending with the $330 ‘I’m Hungover’ brunch. They also have a brunch A la carte, to be changed on a three-month basis, which has an array of omelettes, eggs, croques and savory and sweet crepes on offer.
I was led to the 12-seater ‘Chef’s table’ for my lunch and had the whole table to spread out all my cutlery, dishes and drinks, so naturally I made a mess. Miss T recommended I try the I’m Hungover brunch, which frankly I could’ve done with the day before, when I was actually nursing a hangover. Oh well, next time, but for those who like a lunchtime tipple, this set can be upgraded to free flow Perrier- Jouёt Champagne.
Any place that has an on-site bakery gets a thumbs-up, who doesn’t adore freshly baked bread? Lunchtime is best to go as the baguettes and croissants are fresh out of the oven and piping hot. Delicious.
The hangover set lunch is hearty and certainly packs in enough carbs and protein to eliminate any lasting vestiges of the night before.
You start with a fresh bread basket of baguette, croissant and chocolate twist, followed by a Bloody Mary (not a huge fan in general, but was tasty), and six oysters which was fresh and juicy.
Next, is a plate of cold cuts, including parma ham, served with a mixed salad, and your choice of eggs- scrambled, (which was well seasoned and fluffy), poached or fried.
If that isn’t enough, you end with a Brittany savory crepe. A cool looking envelope-esque packaged thin pancake with ham, melted cheese and a sunny-side up egg, from which the yolk lovingly dripped and ran into the contents, giving you a mouthful of eggy goodness.
I want to say I ended my meal there, but I also managed to fit in the spring onion, mushroom, ham and cheese omelette from the A la carte brunch menu, which was a decently made creation, nothing to write home about but extremely comforting. I was completely and utterly stuffed to the rafters after that and I was just able to squeeze in a cup of cappuccino to round it off.
Instead of having the champagne, Benoit Benardini, the operations manager, who happens to be mixologist, whipped up his Mexican mojito and Lemon pie cocktails for me to try. Entourage will have a seasonal cocktail menu, and June will be mojito month. The cocktails are all made using fresh herbs, fruits and premium spirits and many of the signature drinks are exclusive to Entourage. Benoit’s scrumptious Mexican Mojito is made from 3 year old Havana club rum, fresh passion fruit, fresh mint & lime, a dash of Patrón XO and topped up with soda water, and his Lemon Pie tasted like a boozed up lemon pie!
With the weekend just round the corner, grab your Entourage and fill your tummies. But if your head hurts too much to nosh on all of that food, just ask for the afternoon tea sets, sit in a corner with your shades on and nibble on a pastry.
Entourage 1-5 Elgin St, Central