Enter through the sliding wooden door and you will find a dimly lit, serenely scented establishment that is both a convenience store and fully operational restaurant/bar by the name of Whip In. Touted as a hangout spot with its sprawling patio, house-brewed beer and south-Asian fare with an innovative twist, Whip In features one of the more unique brunch experiences in Austin.
Brunch opens at 10 am, and by 10:15 a slow trickle of bodies had already formed a line at the first bar counter. After taking an order we proceeded to navigate the retail side of the shop for the all-admirable, bottomless self-serve coffee.
In one corner of the dining room resides a wooden stage and projection screen, and if you go on the right day and you might catch a muted Kung Fu flick synced up to some 70's funk or soul jams. The bar, accentuated with sheets of corrugated metal and wooden planks, acts as a divider to a dining room which is otherwise lined with cold beer, wine and snacks. Streams of colorful tapestries mark the walls and drape the ceilings above each booth, together offering both mystique and privacy. Collectively, the furnishings and structural quirks fade forward to construct a decor with ethnic character and comfort while you await the food.
The coffee, an instrumental component to any waiting period, was ripe and rich while remaining well balanced. In a short time, a staff member arrived with two plates; one containing the special, a Goat Chorizo Feta Cheese Omelette and Potato Hash ($13), and the other being a Potato Masala and Gouda Quiche ($12).
Each portion was hefty and induced groans of satisfaction within the first few bites. In disassembling the quiche, I found it's texture to be fluffy and chewy, yet crisp around the edges. Strings of smoked gouda cheese ran over the top, adding a creamy compliment to the creeping spice of a tomato chutney concoction that was also slathered over. A slew of caramelized onions offered a bit of sweetness to balance the slow kick of heat, but mostly contributed to the richness of the dish. A rather uninspiring side salad initially seemed out of place on the plate, but once the flavors of the quiche unfolded it became clear that the greens were included to help tame heat and offer a contrast in texture. Also offered to help cleanse the palate was a side cup of mint fruit salad, which both cut down on heat and offered a twist to the usual fruit companion.
As for the omelette, this dish was pretty straight forward with pronounced flavors from the house-made goat chorizo, which was moderately gamey, and feta cheese. Relatively simple with its selection of ingredients, the omelette delivered salty and savory flavors, yet managed to not go overboard. Perhaps most memorable, though, was the potato hash which brought a richness to the table with its toasted texture and unmistakable element of sweetness.
Our groans of delectation slowed to a halt and the bottom-less coffee seemingly lost its luster as we neared the end. A closer, in the form of espresso and foam, seemed only appropriate (macchiato $3). With an adequate ratio of foam to espresso, this particular version was well executed and added a feeling of completeness to the meal. Versatility among staff is valuable in such a place.
With a level of ambience that matches the layered and eccentricity of satisfying food, Whip In remains near the top of the list for brunch spots worthy of a second or third visit. If nothing else, consider it next time you're on a beer run or a Kung-Fu kick.
(Items ordered - Coffee, Potato Masala and Gouda Quiche, Goat Chorizo Feta Cheese Omelette and Potato Hash, Macchiato)
Rating: 3 eggs (out of Four)
Whip In - 1950 South Interstate Highway 35, Austin, TX 78704