Under the Red Verandah

Under the Red Verandah

Having risen from the rubble of its popular predecessor, Under the Red Verandah is an urban oasis which, on any given day, is always a bustling hive of activity.

The atmosphere is a homely one and the staff are more than welcoming. But it’s their Eggs Benedict that came recommended by a fan of the dish and a visitor to Eggs Benediction.

UTRV’s Benedict is a simple one, and simple is good if all the elements are presented at their very best – which they definitely were.

Technically speaking, an English Muffin would have been ideal, but UTRV uses a couple of slices of fried bread. Let’s face it, who doesn’t like fried bread? Had it been just toast then it would have let the dish down, but there was something about this fried bread that seemed to complement the other ingredients nicely.

Six, yes six, small rashers of well cooked bacon sat atop the bread and I had no trouble including a generous piece of bacon with every mouthful. The two large organic, free range poached eggs were easily the best I’ve had so far, cooked to perfection and with a rich coloured yolk – they were an absolute joy to break into. The runny yolk ran down and soaked into the fried bread lifting every fork-load to lip-smacking levels.

The basic hollandaise had just the right amount of tanginess and married the other elements together perfectly. The chopped flat-leaf parsley actually added something to the dish and didn’t overpower anything else.

While the price is a perhaps little on the high side for what it was, if it’s a no-frills Eggs Benedict you’re after, then Under the Red Verandah should be top of your list. I’ll definitely be paying them another visit.

Hat-tip to Paula Rountree for the recommendation!

Costs:

Eggs Benedict with Bacon $20.50

with Smoked Salmon $22.00

 

UNDER THE RED VERANDAH

29 Tancred Street, Linwood, Christchurch 8011

Little Pom’s

Little Pom’s

Little Pom’s is a small café latched onto the side of Pomeroy’s Old Brewery Inn on Kilmore Street. After having it recommended by several friends I decided it was time to check out their much lauded Eggs Benedict.

The description on the menu certainly paints a mouthwatering premise – Little Pom’s Benny, smoked bacon, poached eggs, cheddar buttermilk biscuits, corn, avocado, chipotle lime hollandaise. The drool certainly ebbs from the corner of your mouth when you lay eyes on the subsequent price – at $25, this is likely the most expensive Eggs Benedict in town. It had better walk the talk!

Thankfully, it’s very good, but not everyone’s cup of tea.

Let’s start from the bottom up.

Note to all cafe’s – Eggs Benedict always looks stunning on a black plate, and this was no exception. The “cheddar buttermilk biscuits” were intriguing in that they very much had the texture of a home-made English muffin with a hint of cheddar cheese. I’m not sure what I expected, maybe something cracker-like, but I guess it follows the American way of pretty much calling anything a biscuit (except biscuits – which are of course cookies). Nevertheless, they were perfect.

Sitting on them was a salsa of smashed avocado and corn, not your traditional Eggs Benedict fare, but it works. The creamy texture of the avocado matched the velvety eggs and hollandaise, and the noticeable sweetness of the corn played well against the tangy sauce.

Two perfectly grilled rashers of bacon followed, smoked, but not smoky and sitting on top were a couple of nicely sized, textbook poached eggs.

The hollandaise is amazing, but here is where the dish will polarise some people. The chipotle lime sauce certainly carries a kick with it – nothing serious or anything, but it does build up to be a dominating feature. It compliments the rest of the dish perfectly but if you don’t like a bit of heat in your food then this is going to be an expensive lesson.

I asked the waiter if they offered the option of a standard hollandaise to which I received a resounding “no”. Likewise too with the ability to switch out bacon for salmon – but to be fair, salmon just wouldn’t work in this dish.

So with that in mind – I cannot recommend Little Pom’s Eggs Benny to anyone who can’t handle their spice, but to everyone else it should be high on your list of brunches to check out.

Cost:

Little Pom’s Eggs Benny $25

 

LITTLE POM’S

294 Kilmore St, Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8011

Bean Scene Café

Bean Scene Café

Bean Scene at Cargo Bar in Addington is a busy cafe that attracts a steady flow of custom from the nearby office buildings.

Their pretentiously described Eggs Benedict on the menu perhaps imagines the dish on a slightly higher pedestal than it actually resides.

“Poached eggs, battered spinach, hashbrown and hollandaise served on a toasted french batard”

Battered spinach? I had visions of deep-fried tempura spinach that has no place on, or in the remote vicinity of my Eggs Benny, ever.

But no, battered spinach, it would seem, is just chef talk for wilted spinach that maybe, just maybe has been bashed with something hard before cooking. What that would achieve – I’m not so sure.

The dish was served within 10 minutes, which is always a bonus for breakfast on the go. The first thing that struck me was the vivid yellow of the hollandaise – so thick and the colour of a good free-range egg yolk. It made the whole dish look like a plastic presentation meal they have in the windows of some Asian restaurants.

But it also looked inviting – I knew that sauce was going to be rich and tangy, just the way I like it.

Served with two nicely toasted pieces of batard (baguette), the meal had been stacked to give it some height, which i understand from an aesthetic point of view, but it proved to make this meal a chore to eat.

One piece of bread on the bottom with a generous serving of “battered” spinach, another piece of bread on top with the (adequately cooked and slightly crispy) bacon, both eggs and sauce on top of that one piece of bread.

This meant, if I wanted to get a bit of everything in every mouthful, I had to first dismantle all the elements and reassemble the dish to my liking, i.e. an egg, on bacon, on spinach, on bread times two.

And why go to the effort of presenting a cheffy-looking Eggs Benny when you then go and shove a cheap triangle hashbrown on the side (propped up on the edge of the bread to dress it up a bit). Sure, it tasted fine, but homemade hash isn’t hard or expensive to make, and freezes very well.

There were also a couple of spots of balsamic dripped onto the plate for effect. It was a nice effect, but with that minute amount, it was a visual thing only.

The eggs were ever so slightly overdone, with the outer yolk being firm but the middle still nice and runny. The hollandaise lived up to its promise and provided that perfect contrasting flavour hit to the rest of the elements – most satisfying.

I wasn’t unhappy with the dish – it passed the taste test quite nicely. But a simplified menu description would have saved some overall confusion.

Costs:

Bacon $18.50

Ora King Salmon $19.50

Creamy Mushrooms $16.50

 

BEAN SCENE CAFE

359 Lincoln Rd, Addington, Christchurch 8024

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