Tucked away in a little corner of Suburban Sydney is a little café which was once a secret to those in the area. As winner of 2013 Best New Café by SMH Good Café Guide , the secret was out and it was a matter of time before the queues would start forming.
I had been to Excelsior Jones late last year and it instantly found itself on my “Places to Brunch” list. I fell in all kinds of love with its Eggs Benedict and was really digging the laid-back vibe. Though it’s a bit of a distance from me (about 45 mins drive), I am always willing to make the drive there.
On this occasion, when we arrived we were advised that there would be a 20-25 minute wait (the queues have started!), and as it would take us that long to get anywhere decent, we decided to wait it out, but after about 10 minutes were shown to our table.
It pains to me say that I was a little disappointed with the service this time. We finished our coffees and the food had not yet arrived. When we asked where our food was we were given a bit of a brush-off so had little choice but to sit patiently and wait. The food did take about 30 minutes from order to arrival, which in my opinion, is a little too long.
Pork Hash w/ Fried Buckwheat, Eschalots, Poached Egg and Fresh Herbs (also available with House Smoked Salmon) – $16
This is the dish that always keeps me going back to Excelsior Jones. I’ve never actually ordered this dish as it is almost guaranteed that someone will and I just “taste” some of theirs. Taste as in eat half of it. The pork is sweet and tender, beautifully crisp in the right places. The potatoes are cooked perfectly al dente, soft with enough bite for it to not be mushy. And if pork and potatoes weren’t enough to please your palate a beautifully poached egg sits on top, ready for the yolk to be broken to allow it to be used as a sauce to bring all the flavours together.
Cheeseburger w/ Grass Fed Angus Beef, Gruyere, Tomato Relish Aioli; Fried Spuds – $16
The thick patty is sandwiched between a brioche-like bun. The bun has a slight sweetness to it, which when combined with the Tomato Relish Aioli creates a balance of flavours which is quite enjoyable. The melted gruyere enhances the flavour of the patty, mingling with the aioli to elevate the flavour of the burger. The crisp fried spuds are an excellent accompaniment to the burger as the crispy potatoes add crunch and texture to the dish.
Ricotta Hotcakes w/ Spiced Fruits, Yoghurt and Pistachio Praline – $14
The ricotta hotcakes were very well received as it was a good combination of flavours and textures. The fluffy pancakes weren’t overly sweet so when combined with the praline the overall sweetness didn’t overwhelm. The yoghurt was refreshing and the spiced fruits added an element of punchiness to the dish – without it the dish may be one-dimensional and flat. All in all, a good dish should you want something light.
I have also had the Eggs Benedict here on another occasion and I would recommend it to any Eggs Benedict fan. The not-so-great service we received this time, I am going to mark as a one-off (other times they have been fantastic) and will still be making the 45 minute drive there whenever the pork hash is calling for me.
Excelsior Jones is located at 139A Queen St Ashfield.
Open: Monday to Friday: 7:30am – 4pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8am – 4pm
Kitchen closes at 3pm!