Rainey Street is a hub for nightlife. Flush with music, late-night food trucks, and a beer garden, it has all of the fun and (sometimes) less of the Sixth Street crowds. But recently, I had the privilege of experiencing Rainey in a different light: at 10 a.m. on a Saturday during brunch at Anthem.
Can’t Get Enough of Anthem’s Brunch Menu
September 2019 marked Anthem’s one-year anniversary. For the past year, this eatery has been serving both locals and tourists in droves, creating unique culinary and environmental experiences for customers.
What makes Anthem so unique? For one, it takes classic American dishes and infuses them with the complex, savory layers of Asian and Latin faire. I’ve experienced a similar Mexican-Asian fusion at other restaurants, but Anthem takes this concept to the next level and beyond with strong attention to the flavor nuances of different cultures.
More on that later. For now, I want to shout from the rooftops that Anthem has brunch!
For many Anthem-goers, this is a “Finally!” moment. I, for one, love bold and savory flavors with my morning coffee, and regularly eat kimchi with my eggs for breakfast. So this brunch menu is right up my alley.
What to Order for Brunch
Before Anthem had an official brunch menu, many patrons would order the chicken and waffles, and they could add an egg to make it more brunch-like. As the one-year anniversary of the restaurant approached, though, the team at Anthem decided it was time to scale up their offerings, and dial in brunch and cocktails.
Keep in mind that brunch is only served Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. I still totally recommend the chicken and waffles at any hour of the day. The dish is made with Hong Kong waffles, or bubble waffles, which have fluffy soft “bubbles” and are crispy around the thin parts. And talk about unique: the waffles have a hint of green tea flavor. Such an interesting spin on this classic sweet-and-savory combo!
The Korean bao buns come with eggs, kimchi, and bacon. The chicken and biscuits have a fried egg, bacon, white shoyu gravy, and togarashi (a flavored chili pepper). The avocado toast is seasoned with furikake and served three ways: with bacon, basil-and-tomato, and with a soft-boiled egg. And last but not least, a Texas favorite: brisket breakfast tacos, except this brisket is Asian-barbecue style.
All brunch items come with a choice of curry breakfast fries with Sriracha ketchup, or Thai pineapple salad.
The more I learn about restaurant culture, the more I understand that a restaurant is much more than a place to simply eat food and then go home.
I liken the sights, smells, tastes, and social aspects of dining to being in a museum of sorts, where you can have a vastly different experience each time the exhibit changes (trying something different on the menu, or going with a different friend or group of friends, for example).
The kind of social experience you have at Anthem is entirely up to you, but the stage is certainly set for it to be memorable. There are distinct dining sections, such as a patio where you can watch the city go by, a front lounge area with green velvet booths, and a sort of large party room in the back.
One of the first things that struck me when I first walked in was the ample art on the wall. Much of it was Polynesian-themed and reminiscent of Paul Gauguin’s Tahitian paintings, which I love. There were a few Texan accents to the decor, which matched unexpectedly.
When you sit down to eat, you receive a key for all the terms, if you’re not familiar with the ingredients. Not sure what yuzu is? (It’s a citrus fruit.) What about dashi? (It’s a cooking stock made from fish and seaweed.) Perhaps by your second or third visit, you’ll have the terms memorized and won’t need the key anymore!
Serving Travelers From Far and Wide
Just as Anthem’s menu has a theme of borderlessness, so does the restaurant’s doorstep, where visitors enter from all over the world. The location on Rainey Street, close to a variety of hotels and lodgings, makes this an ideal place for wandering travelers to find themselves.
Some of the sweetest touches Anthem adds to the experience are the Hawaiian-themed postcards. Knowing how many travelers come through, the restaurant provides postcards for anyone who wants to write a message to loved ones back home. Anthem will mail your postcard anywhere in the world! Even if you’re local, you can still write to someone you care about and tell them how crazy delicious bubble waffles really are.
91 Rainey St. #120 — Website
@theAustinot wants to know:
Have you tried the brunch at Anthem yet?