It was a mission to find an eggs benedict today! The original place I wanted to go to was closed for some reason and the back-up place I had in mind only serves food on Saturdays.

So I ended up taking a stroll down New Regent Street, praying that one of the cafés down there served eggs benedict.

I got to The Caffeine Laboratory on the corner of Goucester and New Regent and perused the menu in the window. No eggs benedict. For a place that serves a range of breakfasts and brunches, I found this quite odd. So I traversed the length of New Regent St once more and thought, hang on, they have all the components to make eggs benedict on the menu, so I wonder if they would make one anyway?

So I decided to pay them a visit. I asked if they do eggs benedict and the chef looked up and said “Sure, we’ve got everything we need to make it, so why not!” Great news, I was getting hungry by this stage.

Because they don’t officially serve eggs benedict, at least I knew this wasn’t going to be some cookie-cutter, churned out meal, and man was that the case.

This plate of food was a thing of beauty. In fact several people stopped eating their own meals and turned around to check it out.

First thing of note was the hollandaise served separately in a small jug. Why more places don’t do this by default, I do not know. I could add as little or as much as I wanted at any time, and it was a beautifully fresh sauce made by someone who knows how to balance flavours.

Underneath were two fried rounds of crusty bread of which kind I couldn’t quite pick, but it was similar to a large French-stick round. Sitting atop was a healthy layer of perfectly wilted spinach, just softened enough to still hold its shape.

The two eggs, well, they couldn’t have been poached with any more pinpoint accuracy if they tried. Exquisitely cooked and rich with flavour. The same goes for the few rashers of bacon – fried to crispy perfection without being fried to a crisp.

The whole meal was garnished with some baby beet leaves which were a pleasure to eat in themselves. A distinct flavour, but still subtle enough not to overpower any of the other elements.

For a café that doesn’t serve eggs benedict, it seems criminal that what is one of the best examples of the dish in town isn’t readily available on the menu. Perhaps if more people ask for it, they may have to reconsider. I’ll definitely be going back to order it and recommending it to anyone in search of a quality brunch.

Cost:

Eggs Benedict with bacon – $20

 

THE CAFFEINE LABORATORY

1 New Regent Street, Christchurch

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