K. had a 12:15pm haircut appointment at Euphoria on Abbott Kinney (good place for inexpensive ~$30 men's haircuts) so I tagged along with him so that we could have brunch together afterwards. Gjelina was just a couple of doors down, so I put our name down as he was getting his hair cut and before I went to browse the neighboring shops. Perfect timing, as when I got back, they had a table ready for us, even as the line for lunch was getting increasingly long. I'd never had brunch at Gjelina, only lunch (last month with S.) and dinner a couple of times, so I ordered a brunch item: the maitake mushrooms with poached eggs, roasted asparagus and parmesan crumbles and K. ordered the lamb sausage pizza with confit tomato, asiago and rapini (and a tecate).
I loved the soft runny eggs over the meaty yet delicate mushrooms and roasted asparagus, with a little salty nutty crunch from the parmesan breadcrumbs and freshness from basil. Every bite was just bursting with flavor; definitely a very rich dish with plentiful olive oil, I savored every bite. My only complaint (and general complaint overall about Gjelina) is just that the portion sizes are small; I was definitely still quite hungry afterwards (hence the takoyaki afternoon snack and frozen yogurt) and I even had a slice of K.'s pizza. I know that the dishes are basically a la carte and that ordering side dishes is encouraged, but for breakfast, I expect a $12 dish to be relatively satisfying. K.'s pizza was good; the lamb sausage was tasty and I like the little side plate of chili flakes, dried thyme (I think) and parmesan that they serve with all their pizzas; it's just a nice touch and I always use it. I just find their crust a little too papery thin and sometimes doesn't stand up to the toppings enough. All in all though, still a good, dependable meal and an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon on Abbot Kinney.
Gjelina 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd Venice, CA 90291 (310) 450-1429