The Publican | Chicago

11 Jul

Porcine pleasure is said to reign at the Publican. Feeling peckish on a Saturday, I decided to try their Saturday brunch. I later found out that they have a renowned Sunday brunch, which is distinct from their Saturday brunch however. I spoke to a couple dining next to me, and they also informed me that their oysters are worth trying out.

******** Saturday brunch

Burton’s maple syrup-braised publican bacon. (4.75/5). Excellent bacon. An actual slab of the real stuff, which was also cured to a delicious (and it must be emphasised, not overly salty) state. The meat was tender, the fat delish.

Oeuf jeannette (baked eggs, Swiss chard, parmesan and tessa) (3.25/5). The bread was nice and crisp, and the eggs were well done. The cheese was a bit overpowering, and what looked like red cabbage was leaching was tasted like tannins into the dish. Average.

2001 vintage oak barrel aged pu-erh (started 4.5/5, rapidly deteriorated to 1.5/5). The pu-erh was surprisingly non-acidic, with a thick soupy consistency. However, that was due to the staff boiling the tea in a single pot, and not bothering to separate the tea leaves after the tea had been made. This allowed tannins from the tea leaves to leach into the tea. As the British would say, “it tasted like piss” afterward. I’m afraid if the tea was as good as it looked on the menu – and the first sip have drained the tea leaves, put the tea in a different pot, and let the tea stand without the leaves.

*********

Kenneth’s 3 rules of tea.
A. After making the tea, put the tea in a different pot. Make sure tea leaves are drained, so less tannins emerge.
B. If you’re using a teabag, don’t leave it in after you make your tea!!! You’re going to get a papery taste otherwise (h/t Daniel Gildenlow)
C. If you can control your temperature, use sub-boiling water (90-95 degrees). I have heard 93 degrees is optimal. (h/t Taiwanese tea shop)

*********

Verdict: The non-porcine items were a bit disappointing here. I might come back for one of their dinners/Sunday brunch – but probably not Saturday brunch.

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