What would Sydney’s best up-and-coming chefs serve for brunch? We can only guess; most top chefs work in restaurants rather than cafes. But during auto.Lab we can see what they’d do. It’s a collaborative brunch pop-up run by Automata’s Clayton Wells.

Despite Wells taking over some prime restaurant real-estate in the former Silvereye spot for this pop-up, auto.Lab will be breakfast and lunch only and open from Friday to Sunday. Between Wells’s ideas of the perfect brunch, his friends Mitch Orr (ACME), Pasi Petanen (formerly of Cafe Pasi), O Tama Carey (formerly of Berta) and other chefs will show off theirs. “Initially we're going to run with our own menu, but in a couple of weeks Mitch Orr will come over and do a couple of days,” says Wells. It won’t just be a few dishes off the regular menu, either, Wells says, but an entirely new menu with each incoming chef.

Wells and This Must Be the Place (which is running a brunch cocktail list with a roasted-pineapple Bellini and kaffir-lime Tom Collins) will be the mainstays. Wells’s opening menu will have a yuzu, berry and grape salad; granola with yoghurt, candied citrus, lemon thyme and black sesame; and an English muffin daintily topped with house-made black pudding, Kurobuta ham and eggs benedict. “We don’t want to reinvent the wheel but we’ll still have the DNA of Automata.”

The breakfast will be an all-day affair but from 11.30am there’ll also be some richer lunch options such as the kingfish crudo with crème fraîche, fresh peaches and wakame oil. And a smoked, slow-roasted chicken with salsa verde and an eschalot and parsley salad. There’s even two rotating brunch desserts, starting with a plum and almond tart and a pavlova. “This is something that I've wanted to do for a while,” says Wells of the brunch.

“Automata wasn't the right spot. Silvereye feels better for the morning, it's a bit more relaxed, brighter and more open,” Wells says, looking out the wrap-around windows. The space itself has had few cosmetic additions; Wells and his team have only added greenery to freshen up the light timber and muted tones.

auto.lab
The Old Clare Hotel, 1 Kensington Street, Chippendale
(02) 8277 8555

Hours:
Fri to Sun 9am–3.30pm, lunch from 11.30

automata.com.au/autolab/