WEEKEND ESCAPE: BRUNCH + SHOP
Our favorite weekend destinations at South Coast Plaza
Weekends are meant to be restorative. Self-care, rest and perhaps some retail therapy are on the menu. Two favorite pastimes—brunching and shopping—are the perfect complement and South Coast Plaza offers the best of both. Here are four favorite brunches that are served Saturday and Sunday.
Tableau Kitchen + Bar
SOUTH COAST PLAZA
WEEKEND BRUNCH SPOTS
The covered terrace, lush with exotic plants and cozy with heaters, has a bustling brunch scene. Regulars and newbies come for chef Ross Pangilinan’s fusion offerings—cuisine based on a French foundation layered in with Filipino flavors.
The top seller is chef’s signature pork cheek adobo & fried egg with hollandaise, an addictive garlic fried rice and finished with chimichurri and crispy shallots.
Another favorite is duck & French toast—a confit duck leg is paired with thick cut, custardy French toast topped with blackberries and warm maple syrup— a taste sensation of savory, crunchy and sweet. Ross takes the same French toast to the islands with tropical fruit, toasted coconut, macadamia nuts and crowned with a picture-perfect scope of ube (purple yam) ice cream.
Chef John Park’s philosophy is straightforward: Brunch should be served daily rather than waiting until the weekend for a little indulgence. Fans agree and avail themselves of his creative brunch offerings served until 3 every day.
A full bar offers a variety of A.M. cocktails but the mimosa flight lands on many a table—four stemless flutes are filled with well-chilled bubbly then topped with juice combos– guava jasmine, kalamansi mandarin, strawberry lemonade and blueberry hokicha.
Popular sweet dishes include jasmine milk tea French toast with brioche, strawberries and candied lemon as well as mixed berry pancakes—blueberry pie compote, graham cracker streusel and farmer’s market berries, finished with whipped chamomile cream.
A signature is the chicken and waffles and trust us, you haven’t seen a delicious interpretation like this: Golden crispy fish-shaped taiyakis are filled with kecap manis custard and paired with garlic soy chicken wings.
Savory options include a luscious mushroom toast with soft scrambled eggs, tomato sofrito, crème fraîche, spinach and shallot vinaigrette. Try the unique salmon chilaquiles rojos—grilled salmon, avocado, black beans, chamomile pickled onions and a sunny egg—the unusual combo of grilled fish (textbook crispy skin) works well with the Mexican breakfast classic.
Rock and roll chef Nick Weber serves up French café classics for weekend brunch, interpreted with his unique touches. You won’t find a more authentic rolled French omelette, rich with creamy brie and a tart crème fraîche drizzle, served with greens dressed with a lively vinaigrette. Bonus: crispy but tender potatoes.
Permission granted –unlike Monday-Friday lunches—for a leisurely start with a brunch cocktail. The ruby-hued sparkling Kir Royal is splendid; the refreshing French Shandy blends lemonade with elderberry and beer.
Weber’s talents include that of baker: he personally makes his own buttermilk biscuits every morning. They’re used as the foundation for his take on strawberry shortcake with sweet cream, macerated berries and strawberry crunch. Chef’s favorite, though, is the eggs Benedict: The fluffy biscuits are topped with Fra’ Mani’s lightly smoked rosemary ham and just-poached eggs. For a Parisian touch, the hollandaise is laced with champagne. Hungry diners will dig into steak and eggs—a perfectly cooked and tender sliced Bavette steak, plated with eggs over easy that’s immensely satisfying.
Outpost Kitchen is the place to be weekends—the patio, dining room and bar are buzzing. Reservations are highly recommended. Mixology is a finely honed art here and a popular morning starter is the Mesa Michelada —India pale ale, bone broth-infused tomato juice with a rooster spice blend rim. A tribute to South Coast Plaza’s affinity for luxury is The Gucci– Luna azul blanco, campari, lime, agave, Italian blood orange soda. Something the Gucci family would agree on—è delizioso!
Australian proprietor and founder Jay Lewis’s attention to detail and vision behind every dish is apparent. Just about everything is made from scratch daily—from the cold pressed juices squeezed fresh to hot sauce; cocktail garnishes are dehaydrated in-house and no expense is spared on raw ingredients. You taste the difference.
The Land Down Under created two brunch staples: flat whites and avocado toast—both not to be missed at Outpost. Fresh avocado slices are fanned over hearty country toast, topped with a tangle of green, house-made red pepper pesto, feta and finished with lemon olive oil. Eggs are optional.
A head turner is the smoked salmon & shrimp Benedict—a towering plate of perfectly cooked seafood atop toast, poached eggs, hollandaise, pickled onion and whole grain mustard. Generous portions allow for sharing. A one-of-a-kind creation is the bangers & smash. It has it all—English pea pancakes, smoked cheddar mash, fried eggs, dolly gravy and BBQ Hungarian sausage—the lime keifer yogurt lends brightness to the indulgent dish.