I expected home.made’s revival of its Sunday brunch to be the reflection of yet another minimalist, all-lowercase-name, lifeless restaurant. I was met with a delightful surprise that the chef and owner, Mimi Maumus, offers a pleasant hodgepodge of menu items that contain elements of Southern culinary style blended with their carefully tailored spin on tradition.
The Baxter Street eatery’s appearance is a stark difference from my cynical expectations. The interior and exterior walls are a dark gray color, and the decor appears as if they had deconstructed an old Southern home and put it on display. The walls host an eclectic mix of mismatched window shutters, local pottery and small mirrors. We are seated next to the inside of a piano mounted on the wall.
Soon our chipper and pink-haired waitress takes our drink orders. The coffee is served in a bright blue mug adorned with the restaurant’s logo. It is enjoyable, but not extraordinary, and provides caffeine that is much needed on a Sunday afternoon.
Donut holes catch our attention as we browse the one-page menu for appetizers. Our waitress, with an almost sales-pitch-like voice, tells us that the pastry chef, Emily Shaw, had been perfecting the recipe for weeks and it is new to the menu.
They arrive neatly organized in a pyramid, dusted in a fine coat of cinnamon sugar and drizzled in a banana caramel sauce. I was concerned that the mixture would be sickeningly sweet or that the banana flavor would overpower the rest, but upon biting into the perfectly light yet doughy pastry, those fears vanish.
The swanee bites are not over the top but exactly what they promise to be: pimento cheese sandwiched in oval cheese straws and rolled in pecans. The two cheeses have a pungent flavor that could have been overwhelming had they not been subsided by the nuts. This simple finger food is something I would pile on my plate at a backyard potluck.
The okra fries take a detour from traditional stewed or fried okra you might find at a Southern cookout. Each crispy sliver of the vegetable has a slight crunch and is lightly salted. If served by itself, this dish would be bland, but it is paired with falafel-marinated chickpeas and cayenne, which gives it an earthiness and a refreshing, tangy kick that leaves me going for another bite before I can even finish my first.
A browned, buttery biscuit is filled with tender and juicy fried chicken, bacon, lettuce, pepper jelly, pimento cheese and remoulade. This item, called “The Mayberry,” is without a doubt on the savory side, and goes a tad overboard on that, especially with the sheer amount of pimento cheese. The spicy pepper jelly helps balance this out.
Another sandwich, the croque madame, is made with griddled bread that could have been cooked a few minutes less. The layers of prosciutto, creole mustard and orange marmalade provide a cohesive sweet and savory meal. It is topped with an over easy egg, goat cheese and a hardened sharp cheddar that provides a punch. The side of grits, from Georgia-based DaySpring Farms, prove to be buttery but have little else to offer.
The fromage blanc pancakes are topped with fresh peaches and meringue crispies. Instead of syrup, it comes with a fig leaf crème anglaise. Aside from that mouthful of words, the dish is sweet but rather forgettable.
The breakfast hash’s roasted potatoes and onions are drowned out in the fermented salsa, avocado and cilantro, but we ordered it with the house ham that is both sweet and succulent.
The menu toggles between tradition and experimentation with home.made’s Southern-inspired dishes — and charm — being their strong suit.
Julianne Akers is a fourth-year journalism major.
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