Do Italians eat brunch? Not really. Their dedication to a simple breakfast of coffee and toast or pastry could probably be sanctified as a state religion. But if you had a restaurant habit in the 1990s, you probably encountered the vaguely Italian breakfasts at La Brea Bakery, which is to say the a.m. incarnation of the enclosed patio at the front of Campanile. Before noon, later on weekends, it was a wonderland of buns, croissants and oddly expensive toast, as well as Italianesque egg dishes and the occasional bowl of porridge. In the long ago days before Starbucks, it also served one of the few tolerable cappuccinos in town.
Nancy Silverton, the bakery’s auteur, abandoned the breakfast business when she started the various Mozzas, devoting herself instead to the demands of pizza and mozzarella. Her morning customers drifted off to places such as Europane and Proof instead.
But as of a couple of weeks ago, there is now weekend brunch at Pizzeria Mozza: decent cappuccino and things such as oniony bacon pizzas topped with a fried egg; luscious brisket hash, cooked overnight in the embers of the wood oven and topped with a fried egg; soft roasted eggplant with spicy tomatoes — uovo in purgatorio, like a Neapolitan version of shakshuka — topped with a fried egg; a breakfast sandwich topped with a fried egg; and a cheese-dusted endive salad topped with a fried egg.
You may have gathered that fried eggs have a fairly prominent role in this brunch, and you would be right, although there is also an eggy vegetable pie, egg salad with magnificently crunchy anchovy toast, and gravlax pizza, plus bottomless mimosas if you’re into that sort of thing. It’s a cheerful way to begin a Sunday afternoon.
(The standard disclosure applies: Silverton is a family friend.)
Pizzeria Mozza, 641 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 297 0101. Brunch Sat-Sun., noon to 4 p.m.