Who are my fellow brunch lovers? I know you’re out there!
My husband and I are huge fans of brunching. So much so, that our entire wedding was a Sunday brunch party, themed “Love is Brewed,” and was complete with breakfast-themed cocktails, chicken & waffle bites on skewers, poached eggs to order, a pre-ceremony coffee and donut bar upon arrival, and so many other goodies that truly brought our favorite ritual to life for all of our friends and family to savor.
So naturally, every time we go out for a brunch date, it feels like we’re celebrating. And last Sunday’s brunch was definitely something to dance about. In fact, I’m pretty sure I did a little car dance on the way home.
where we ate
At the time of this post, Malibu Farm has recently opened a new location on Lido Island, a quaint little dock-side collection of tastemakers, collectors, and curators housed on a little peninsula of the famed Newport Beach, California.
I have been to Malbu Farm once before, at their sister location on the edge of Malibu Pier. To be honest I wasn’t super impressed the first time around. The menu seemed really limited, pricey, and the server recommended nachos when I asked for her suggestions — which turned out to be pretty standard, and I was really hoping for something special.
I left that lunch feeling like I had ordered the wrong thing, paid too much for it, and didn’t get the full experience that locals and visitors alike were all hyping about. So I was really excited for this rematch!
What we ordered
I sipped a hot latte with oat milk and nibbled (more like devoured) the fried egg breakfast sandwich. I was going to ask for no bacon, but then I remembered my poor sweet husband is bacon-deprived in our household, so I ordered the sandwich as-is and handed off the bacon upon arrival. He swears it was life-changing.
Devin, otherwise known around here as “hub,” “bub,” or “Dev,” ordered a big mug of black coffee and the green egg scramble, which came with toast and a variety of house-made spreads, including: berry jam, fresh butter, and an avocado chimichurri. Both of our plates came with a generous side of dressed arugula and roasted potatoes, which were a nice addition.
We also got an acai bowl to share, (why don’t more people order breakfast appetizers?) and towards the end of our meal, Devin asked our server if the bartender could surprise him and whip up a drink of his choice. Alas, this gorgeous, orange-colored cocktail came out a few minutes later in the hands of the bartender with an explanation, a handshake, and a smile. How sweet!!
what we thought
Oat milk latte & coffee — Standard, hot, and delicious. Nothing to complain or rave about here, just a nice compliment to our meal!
Breakfast sandwich — Holy eggs. This sandwich was perfection. The lemon aioli was flavorful, the greens were fresh, crisp, and earthy, the bread was perfect in texture (not too crunchy or too soft, had a great chew to it), and the egg was cooked exactly how I like it, just a touch runny in the center. The potatoes were (albeit the very last thing I ate) also delicious.
Green egg scramble — This was very similar to the breakfast sandwich, but essentially a deconstructed version with broccoli scrambled into the eggs and no lemon aioli. In my opinion, the sandwich was really the star of the table, but Devin said it “totally hit the spot,” so I think this item is better for those who want a lighter breakfast stocked with more protein (bigger portion of eggs, and of course the bread is optional).
Acai bowl — So good! A nice take on the classic version of this breakfast staple. The granola was perfectly crisp and lightly sweet. The bowl wasn’t blended with tons of ice like some, so it tasted genuinely full of fruit — which I love!
To be honest, it isn’t the most creative acai bowl I’ve ever seen, but I’m okay with that. If you’re only going to have 1 option for acai on the menu, its probably the safest bet to have it come with the predictable toppings and do it right, which they did. I would probably not order this as my main meal, but rather as a snack, treat, or to share with friends alongside our entrees. I don’t think it’s filling enough as a standalone entree, but if you’re a light eater or have already eaten, you’d likely be into it! As for me, I favor a big, hearty, soulful breakfast. And that’s exactly what my sandwich delivered.
Cocktail — YESSSSS. Just, yes. Devin and I absolutely love asking for “bartender’s choice” when we can tell that a place has talented mixologists. And luckily, we were completely delighted here. I can’t remember everything from his explanation of this dreamy cordial, but here’s what I can recall: absinthe rinse, buffalo trace whiskey, egg white, fresh orange, and a liqueur of some kind. If I can get my hands on the original details, I’ll insert them here. (Update! —> I was able to locate more specifics: honeybush-infused bourbon, lemon, and agave were also in there!)
Side note —> Anytime you have a chance to get a custom-made drink from a solid bartender, DO IT. Usually (if there’s not a huge line) they’re excited about the opportunity to experiment (aka, show off), and the outcome is always so much better than what you’ll find on the menu (because YOU have elevated taste, and menus are crafted - with love, of course - to please the masses). A few of our favorite places to order custom cocktails include: Craft & Commerce in Little Italy, SD, The Noble Experiment in Downtown SD, Flamingo House in Sacramento, and The Blind Rabbit at The Packing House in Anaheim.
the whole package
This place is BUSY, that’s for sure. During peak time, be prepared for a long wait. It has a well-known name and reputation, and for good reason. So this certainly isn’t your best option if you’re in a hurry. However, if you’re looking to do a little beachside browsing, I recommend popping into Lido Bookstore, and the event space next to Malibu Farm, where they sell interesting home goods. Plus, the sun is almost always shining around these parts, so you can go for a stroll to stretch your legs and soak in a few IU’s of California’s finest vitamin-D while you wait.
The interior has a minimalist, beachy, fresh-air vibe, with an entire wall of open windows looking out onto the dock. It is comfortable, casual, and cozy, but being Newport Beach, you will definitely find an array of guests dressed to impress. Bring a sweater with you if you get chilled easily, the fresh air coming off the water can be cold!
We loved everything about our visit. The manager Cassie was so friendly and came by to check on us frequently, the server was sweet as pie and so accommodating to my constant photo-taking, and we even ran into some friends while putting our name on the wait-list. It sure gives you that small town / friendly neighborhood feel that we love so much!
what we can’t wait to try
The nachos. (not!) Ha, sorry.
Next time, I will definitely be saving room for dessert. Their ice cream flavors are totally drool-worthy, and they also have something called “grilled chocolate cake” — which I just. can’t. even. imagine! Maybe we’ll have to do a second review all about their treats! I could totally get on board with that.
Brunch-wise, there’s not much else that calls to me on the menu. I will probably go for the fried egg sandwich again in a heartbeat the next time we head back, but the rest is pretty standard for those on a plant-based diet (oatmeal, yogurt parfait, and the like). However, those of you with a more diverse palate may be intrigued by the bacon-bit-infused multigrain pancakes, or the chicken-sausage breakfast burrito, but for you veggie heads like me, your choices really consist of the basics.
I hope this has been a helpful review, ya’ll! Please let me know in a comment below if you have any other favorite restaurants around town, thoughts about Malibu Farm, or really anything else you’d like to say!
That’s it for today.
From my plate to yours,