Chef Shawn Cirkiel has thrown his skilled talent in to Austin’s notable weekend brunch arena at Bullfight, his innovative and modernized spin of España and tapas style cuisine.
Some of Austin’s most well known restaurants and chefs have elevated brunch to an au-current level of progress over the past few years but Bullfight’s Executive Chef Ryan Shields presents Spanish brunch classics in an ambitious and thoughtfully modernized manner with a mélange of great food in central Austin’s already inviting culinary vibe.
Austin’s enthusiastic brunch goers usually range from the eccentric foodie types looking for something new and inventive to savor and/or to post on Instagram (guilty as charged); to the caviler, weekend hangover crowd looking to scarf down cheap mimosas or chicken and waffles just to soak up the previous night’s alcohol binge. Bullfight’s elevated brunch experience is more appropriate for gourmands looking for an elevated savoir-faire and diners will most likely be delighted in their expression of tapas-style service, especially if you’re an aficionado of Spanish cuisine.
Shareable snacks are pretty much one of my favorite ways to eat so we started with a few small items like the Jamón Ibérico which is a 24-month aged, dry-cured Spanish ham thinly sliced with a side of with fresh bread and tomato toast; a small cheese platter; and the Pimientos de padrón which are tiny fresh peppers sourced from northwest Spain in Galencia which was lightly sizzled in olive oil and topped with a sprinkle of sea salt.
The remainder of the menu is a prodigious staging of tapas-style plates, and so much so that I’ll probably be visiting the restaurant more than once over the next couple of months just to eat them all. I’m usually one to eat what’s recommended by the server so I asked for a few of his favorites instead of selecting everything myself. Luckily he has great taste and I loved everything that was delivered to the table. We started with the Peaches Montaditos which is a fresh-made grilled and open-faced sandwich ($10); Smoked Trout Benedict with poached eggs, spinach, peppers and hollandaise ($14); Panqueques (pancakes) with ricotta, honey and blackberries ($8); and Roasted Mushrooms Migas with garlic and jamón cured egg.
Food is easily my favorite part of brunch but every Austin brunch enthusiast knows Sunday-Funday starts once the cocktails arrive. True lovers of España won’t want to miss out on Bullfight’s unforgettable house-made Sangria ($3), a blend of vino, sherry and macerated fresh fruit. Coffee lovers should go for the Caffe del Fuego($3) coffee liqueur or the Café con Leche ($4), a Spanish white coffee similar to a cafe latte.
Other lively brunch libations include their take on the classic Shandy ($7), a blend of Sidre Isastegi, orange and cream sherry; the Corpse Reviver #1 ($7), with brandy, dry vermut and apple liqueur; and of course the Mimosa ($4), made with your choice of orange or grapefruit juice.
Brunch in Austin is now a little more of a fiesta, care of the flavors and libations of Bullfight. For those who prefer to enjoy brunch with a large group of friends and family you’ll remain fast with your fork. Small plates are truly meant for hoarding if you arrive with a large group, so you might want to double up on your favorite plates and guard one of them as if you were in a prison mess hall when hosting a table of four or more. Small plates are meant for sharing so I prefer the pleasures of eating tapas-style with only two people per seating to avoid any distortion of enjoying my favorite small dish before someone from across the table forks the last bite.
4807 Airport, 512/474-2029
Sun.-Thu., 5-10pm; Fri.-Sat., 5-11pm