Brunch With Uday Huja: An Excuse To Have Oysters Before Midday

The new brunch menu at Nineteen at The Star is a journey through Southern America and along the Australian coastline.

Not quite breakfast and not quite lunch, brunch is one meal that doesn’t follow the rules. Push the first meal of the day back a few hours and suddenly the full food pyramid becomes your playground. Start the day with steak? Why not! Oysters before midday? Sure, and throw in a cocktail for good measure.

This opportunity to explore everything from sweet to savoury, rich to refreshing, is something that Chef Uday Huja has actively channeled into the new brunch menu at Nineteen at The Star. Launching on 18 October, Uday describes the menu as “a good mix of breakfast elements with a substantial number of items that bring the atmosphere of a more formal dining experience”.

For instance, the inclusion of Nineteen at The Star’s premium 45-day dry-aged “on the bone” sirloin steak, which brings the venue’s famous wood-fired grill out of the dinnertime hours. Dry-ageing is the process of ageing uncovered meat in a temperature-controlled environment, which not only achieves a greater depth of flavour, but results in a more tender cut of meat due to enzymes that, over time, break down some of the tougher muscle fibres and connecting tissues.

Uday’s signature cooking style draws heavily from his upbringing in Virginia: think bold flavours, smoky aromas and the inclusion of what the Chef calls “Soul Foods”. The brunch menu will be no different, incorporating dishes that Uday has adapted from this Southern American heritage.

“Biscuits were an obvious choice to feature,” the Chef says. “And no, it’s not a scone! Although similar in method and preparation, it is savoury rather than sweet. They are light and fluffy and we offer them to our guests as a first taste. It is paired with one of my homemade jams, which feature produce that is in season now: peach and vanilla bean, huckleberry, and cinnamon blueberry.”

Another family recipe that will be included on the menu is Grandma’s Breakfast Bread Pudding, a savoury bread pudding baked fresh to order. A true comfort food, it is made with egg cream, bacon and cheddar cheese. According to Uday, “Once you start eating it you cannot stop!”.

As with any restaurant on the Gold Coast, it would be remiss not to feature some of the sensational fresh produce that is synonymous with Australian coastal cuisine. One of them more unusual brunch dishes to feature on the new menu at Nineteen at The Star is the Oyster Journey, a sort of oyster-only degustation that showcases the flavour profiles of oysters from up and down the Australian coast.

“Oysters are greatly affected by the environment in which they grow. From ocean tidal areas to rivers and lakes, the flavours and characteristics can be totally different from oyster to oyster,” Uday explains. “The Oyster Journey is a real opportunity for those oysters to shine.”