Brigittes Restaurant & Bar

Brigittes Restaurant & Bar

For 35 years, Brigittes has been a popular hangout in the heart of Merivale. Many establishments have come and gone during that time, but Brigittes has survived with an unspoken air of casual elitism.

With a choice of Eggs Benedict with Bacon or Salmon, I decided (as I often do) to stick with the bacon for this review and headed outside to the lovely courtyard.

Within around four minutes my Eggs Benedict was served to the table – in fact it even beat my coffee it was so fast. Initial thought upon delivery was “where’s the rest of it?”

A single slice of toasted sourdough sat under two rounds of shoulder bacon, yes, shoulder bacon. For a place with the reputation and pedigree of Brigittes, I wouldn’t expect the cheapest cut of bacon to be used. Even mall-level eateries use rasher bacon.

Shoulder bacon is notoriously hard to crisp up evenly, and this proved to be the case with the outsides of the bacon crisp and the middle all pink and soft like boiled shaved ham. It was a major disappointment.

Thankfully two perfectly poached eggs sat on top and they were covered in one of the nicest Hollandaise sauces I’ve tried to date. It was beautifully creamy and thick while being runny enough to get amongst a good forkload.

The balsamic reduction and pesto X drizzled on the plate was a complete waste of time as there wasn’t nearly enough to affect the taste of any more than a couple of mouthfuls.

I walked away feeling hungrier than when I walked in, and having paid an inflated $19 for the experience.

Costs:

Eggs Benedict with bacon or cold-smoked salmon $19

 

BRIGITTES RESTAURANT & BAR

209 Papanui Road, Merivale, Christchurch

Café Kudos

Café Kudos

Due to its industrial/business park location, Café Kudos is always busy with everything from people grabbing coffees on the run to staff meetings and everything in-between.

Café Kudos serves three versions of Eggs Benedict – Bacon, Salmon and Mushroom, but predictably it was the bacon variation I chose to order.

When it arrived I was surprised to see a couple of unexpected elements. Firstly was the wilted spinach on top of the English muffin (which wasn’t in the menu description) and the inclusion of wholegrain mustard in the hollandaise, something I am yet to encounter anywhere else.

Even though the mustard gave the hollandaise an almost unappetising, slightly browny hue, I must admit that it did ad an extra dimension to the hollandaise that worked surprisingly well. However if wholegrain mustard isn’t your thing, then you’re probably not going to like this at all.

The two free range eggs were of a good medium-large size, but had been cooked to death. The yolks were hard to the point of crumbling away when cut into – never a pleasant thing to see in any egg dish. Four rashers of bacon sat beneath the eggs and while not exactly crispy, were cooked to a standard matching most examples around town.

The wilted spinach was more like a sodden drowned spinach as it hadn’t been dumped on the muffin in a tight lump, retaining a lot of water. It hadn’t been drained properly, or had the excess water patted or fried off. The horrible consequence of this was an English muffin which had taken on so much water that it had turned to a stodgy dough. The spinach also had a distinct bitter/metallic taste.

Had it not been for the inclusion of the sopping spinach, Café Kudos’ Eggs Benedict would have been a fine example of an average dish despite the overcooked eggs, but unfortunately it ended up being genuinely unpleasant.

Costs:

Eggs Bene with Bacon $19

with Salmon $21

with Mushrooms $19

 

CAFE KUDOS

235 Annex Rd, Middleton, Christchurch

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

Styx and Stone

Styx and Stone

Northwood is horribly starved for places to sit and eat if you don’t want Subway, Pepe’s or cabinet food.

So I took a gamble on Styx and Stone Bar and Restaurant, and sure enough they had Eggs Benedict on the menu.

They seemed a bit short staffed this particular day and the manager was running around like a chicken with her head cut off, but coping well as it wasn’t very busy.

My Eggs Benedict arrived in around 10 minutes and looked decidedly average on the plate. It wasn’t hard to tell that the taste was going to follow suit.

The supermarket grade English muffin laid a beige platform for some overcooked, but not crispy middle bacon (which was stated as streaky bacon on the menu).

Two perfectly cooked poached “farm fresh” eggs sat atop the bacon and were covered in a rather bland hollandaise, although there was a decent covering to coat every mouthful.

Overall there was nothing offensive about the meal, but nothing to lift it above being your middle of the road, stock standard, garden variety, vanilla, “meh” Eggs Benedict. Probably worth a couple of dollars less than the menu price of $17.50.

Cost:

Eggs Benedict with Streaky Bacon or Mushrooms & Spinach $17.50

 

STYX AND STONE

1 Radcliffe Rd, Belfast, Christchurch 8051

Robert Harris Rolleston

Robert Harris Rolleston

What was formerly Rendezvous, has recently been refitted to become a very classy Robert Harris Café in Rolleston. The place is light, clean and airy, catering for intimate dining, kids and large groups.

Despite being reasonably busy with an early lunch crowd, their RH Eggs Benedict was ordered and delivered within 10 minutes, which was enough time to enjoy the terrific coffee on offer.

The first thing that struck me was the dark plate, which really made the meal stick out with its bright, vivid colours. The baby spinach served on the side was fresh, not wilted and a perfect accompaniment.

RH Eggs Benedict comes served on a toasted parmesan English muffin, which I was hesitant about, but the parmesan only came in as a subtle aftertaste and didn’t affect any other flavours. If I’m to be honest, it was genuinely delicious.

The two free range eggs were generous in size and couldn’t have been poached any better. They sat on two slightly crispy rashers of bacon, which seemed a little frugal, but they were of a decent size and cooked well.

On the menu the hollandaise is described as lemon and dijon – and it had a beautiful citrus tang to it as well as being just runny enough to roll off of the eggs and coat the food below. I found it interesting that they mention the mustard, a common hollandaise ingredient, as very few cafés do.

Overall the RH Eggs Benedict was up there with the best for the price of $17.50 and the smart new setting made it all the more pleasurable.

Costs:

RH Eggs Benedict with bacon $17.50
with salmon $18.50

 

ROBERT HARRIS ROLLESTON

Shop 2, Rolleston Square, Rolleston

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