The Coffee Club Hornby

The Coffee Club Hornby

On a whim, I dropped into The Coffee Club Hornby knowing that the café chain shares the same menu, and hoping that from experience, the quality of their Eggs Benedict should be fairly high.

Past visits to The Coffee Club have been met with generous servings of food, but the Hornby franchise produced a rather frugal helping.

If you’re going to serve Eggs Benedict on two giant slabs of ciabatta then it pays to have enough food, and especially sauce, for the bread to be eaten with (see here for a comparative Coffee Club comparison). Three rashers of bacon (two on one slice and one on the other) were no doubt suffering from extreme loneliness adrift on these vast bread rafts. The imbalance was enough to send anyone’s OCD into overdrive.

The two poached cage-free eggs were cooked to opposite ends of the spectrum. One was perfectly soft and runny, while the other was so overcooked even the white was crumbly, let alone the yolk. I might suggest due to the couple of minutes it spent sitting unevenly under the heat lamps waiting to be delivered to the table. This didn’t help with the overall dryness of the meal.

The hollandaise was typically tasty, but nowhere near enough to enjoy with every mouthful, especially with the aforementioned ciabatta overload.

There is a hashbrown pictured, which does not come with the meal. Add a ridiculous $3 extra for this. Now imagine what an even more paltry plate of food it would have been without it. For $18.50 – you’d think that including a 20c supermarket hashbrown wouldn’t exactly bankrupt the business.

Overall, sure the Eggs Benedict was somewhat tasty – but the lack of consistency, balance and overall value was really disappointing.

 

Cost:

Eggs Benedict with Bacon $18.50 ($3 for a hashbrown).

 

THE COFFEE CLUB HORNBY

Shop 1, 19 Chalmers Street, Hornby.

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

Dose Diner

Dose Diner

When Google tells me that Lonely Planet describes Dose Diner as having one of the best Eggs Benedicts in Christchurch and the café wins Zest’s 2015 Café of the Year, the it sounds like a place that I need to check out.

Dose Diner can get busy, and when it does there’s little to no parking – as was the case on this particular day. I decided to park at The Warehouse just next door and walk to the café.

Eggs Benedict with pork is gaining some traction around town and Dose Diner has a Pulled Pork version which I simply had to try.

Served on a couple of nicely toasted pieces of sour dough, the plate looked extremely appetising when it arrived. However the two poached eggs had merged into one large one in the pan and hence had a very frugal amount of hollandaise on top.

The ‘eggs’ were perfectly cooked and the hollandaise was pretty standard. Having more sauce would have helped balance out the meals most fatal flaw though, as I’ll explain.

The pulled pork was lovely, with a mild BBQ taste, and went well with Eggs Benedict. I can see why it’s becoming popular, if a tad untraditional. But the taste of the pork, and everything else on the plate was tainted by a sticky sauce drizzled all over the plate.

I thought it may have been a honey/soy concoction so I asked the waiter what it was. He asked the chef and told me the sauce is a “sweetened balsamic reduction”.

It’s really nice, isn’t it?” the waiter said.

No, it ruined the whole meal” I replied, much to his astonishment.

You see there was nothing sweet about this balsamic reduction at all – it was intensely bitter and tainted almost every mouthful. It overpowered the delicate eggs and when it got amongst the pork, it killed that taste too.

The baby spinach under the pork was also strangely bitter and metallic, which didn’t help things either.

Had there been a more generous serving of hollandaise, I believe it could have balanced out some of the bitterness, but alas there was nothing to save this dish from leaving me underwhelmed.

So I left with a bitter taste in my mouth both literally and figuratively, and a firm believer in what many call the “Lonely Planet curse”.

Costs

Eggs Benedict with bacon, salmon or pulled pork

on Sour Dough $19.50

on Two Hashbrowns $21.50

 

DOSE DINER

295 Blenheim Rd, Upper Riccarton, Christchurch 8041

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

The Coffee Club Harewood

The Coffee Club Harewood

I was planning on checking out the Eggs Benedict with bacon at The Coffee Club Harewood, but as I walked up to the door a sign invited me to “Try our Mushroom and Spinach Benedict”.

With mushrooms being one of my all-time favourite foods, so how could I possibly resist. Besides, I’ve only reviewed Eggs Benny with bacon so far, so perhaps it was time for a change.

The menu offered up four variations of Benedict, with bacon, salmon, ham and the vegetarian option available. All reasonably priced with the salmon being the most expensive at $19.00.

Within 2 minutes of sitting down my coffee and OJ had been delivered by the young smiling staff and within 5 minutes my Eggs Benedict had arrived. Sometimes when food arrives too quickly, it can be an ominous sign that too much is precooked and ready to churn out at a moment’s notice. But not in this instance.

The first thing that hit me was the sheer size of the meal – it was a BIG plate of food for only $17.00 and it was presented stacked high but intelligently enough so that it was easy to get a mouthful of everything in each bite.

Two generous pieces of ciabatta (a top and bottom slice) were brushed with olive oil and nicely toasted, although the bottom of the ciabatta took some work to get a knife through. Hardly a deal-breaker though.

The baby spinach was raw, which is fine when it’s the young leaves because they wilted with the heat of the perfectly soft, tender and buttery mushrooms.

The two cage-free poached eggs were large, plump and ever so slightly under-done allowing for the cooking process to continue until they were eaten. The porous ciabatta readily soaked up any yolk and juices, which made even the very last mouthful a combination of every flavour on the plate.

It’s the hollandaise that can make or break the meal, and The Coffee Club’s hollandaise was a good consistency, just runny enough to allow it to get in all the nooks and crannies but thick enough to have a good velvety texture. The colour was on the pale side and it could have had a little more tang to it, but it was still rich enough to complemented the dish perfectly.

The Coffee Club Harewood’s Mushroom and Spinach Benedict is the best I’ve had in a long time and the sheer size and value of the meal meant I walked away full and very happy indeed. I’ll be back another day to try out the bacon and/or salmon version too.

Costs:

With bacon $18.00

With smoked salmon $19.00

With spinach & mushrooms $17.00

With ham $17.00

 

THE COFFEE CLUB HAREWOOD

Spitfire Square, 530 Memorial Ave, Christchurch Airport, Christchurch 8053

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