Adam Pruckner has lived and worked in Brunswick most of his life. So when the Code Black chef decided to strike out on his own, opening on Sydney Road was a foregone conclusion.
Small Axe was founded with the help of his partner, seasoned event manager Kirsty Tait, and old mate Jas Singh. It’s a homey cafe with open-air seating and reassuring, cosy corners alike.
Pruckner drafted Zwei – the interior architects behind Code Black’s distinctive look – to refit the 100-year-old building. The steel-and-terrazzo look of the venue, with its glassed-in espresso bar, street-side dining and internal laneways is modern industrial.
The breakfast pasta is simple – maccaruni topped with cured pork cheek, peas, mint, salted ricotta and a slow-cooked egg. Like the pasta, the grilled brioche comes directly from Pruckner’s visits to Sicily. It is accompanied by blood-orange jelly, coffee mouse and almond praline.
There’s a range of Italian and Australian wines and a gluten-free Peroni (it’s Brunswick, after all). Coffee is a seasonal blend from Code Black.