The call for best Eggs Benedict was a popular one. We had a lot of input for a wealth of Canberra brunch joints. Two gathered multiple nominations. ONA in Fyshwick and Me & Mrs Jones in Kingston. I headed to ONA first with high hopes after their domination of the egg and bacon roll debate. I arrived ready for Eggs Benny with a mug of their frankly fabulous coffee but was met with a menu showing no such thing as Eggs Benedict. They do however do a ‘build your own breakfast’ option with hollandaise as a condiment choice so I went into the ultra trendy (??) world of all things deconstructed and ordered two poached eggs with bacon, spinach and hollandaise and put that sucker together myself.
It came out as expected, all in pieces, ready for me to put together as desired. A small pot of hollandaise sat in it’s own little bowl on the plate, thick and creamy with a herby flavor (maybe tarragon?). The eggs were perfectly cooked so that runny orange gooiness oozed all over the toast and bacon (mmmmm). The toast was sourdough which seems to absorb the runny egg and hollandaise whilst retaining its structural integrity long enough to get it from plate to mouth.
The second stop (a few days later) was Me & Mrs Jones in Kingston. This place was raved about in the nominations so I had high hopes. Eggs Benedict comes with the option of smoked salmon, bacon, ham or spinach. I went with bacon as that’s what I had in ONA – to allow for a direct comparison. What first struck me when this came out was the hollandaise. It was thinner than the usual (my usual restaurant experience of hollandaise that is) with bubbles still in parts of it as if straight from whisking to plate. This had the same gorgeous runny eggs and dense toast, but the hollandaise was the real kicker in this. There was a slight sharp edge of lemon. It was quite frankly the best hollandaise I have sampled. Ever.
That’s what struck me. In a place like Canberra, where we are loaded with excellent cafés, I would expect the eggs and side of choice to be perfectly cooked every time. It’s the hollandaise that makes an Eggs Benedict truly great. When I think about the Eggs Benedict I have sampled in recent years, the majority of the hollandaise has been thick and creamy and more of a ‘dollop’ on the egg than a sauce. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not a bad thing. But a perfect hollandaise makes all the difference.
In this case, Me & Mrs Jones has the hollandaise down to an art. My compliments to the chef!