The pork hash still a winner at this cracking café in Ashfield
It's been nearly four years since we stumbled upon this café in the quiet suburban streets of Ashfield and ordered the pork hash breakfast. That dish was a revelation. Tender strands of pork hock with crisp, caramelised edges tossed with sweet, roasted eschallots, golden potato nuggets, chives and micro herbs. This crisp, crunchy mess wore a wobbly poached egg like a jaunty cap, but the truly genius addition was the crunchy little buckwheat kernels. It was the most exciting thing to happen to café breakfasts that year.
We went back to Excelsior Jones recently to take the temperature of the area, and that breakfast bowl is still the hot ticket item. And the crowds are still packing out this corner café on a weekend. Of course, one dish does not make an excellent café, but the rest of the menu isn’t slacking. Big hearty breakfasts of mushrooms on toast or eggs Benedict are popular orders, and plenty of people are swapping a cowboy’s start to the day for the breakfast salad of kale, black rice, pomegranate berries, seeds, and nuts with a blended avocado and tahinI dressing. It's from somewhere between the Middle East and the California Coast and manages to put flavour ahead of health points.
They’re extracting a toasty espresso here that does exactly what it says on the label, but to really put a spring in your step fly high on sugar after downing a properly malted milkshake in flavours like butterscotch and cherry ripe.
We’ve always liked Excelsior Jones because they had their priorities right. It's a pared-back spot with big windows, wooden floors, white painted chairs and the odd hanging plant - not sparse, just practical. On a Saturday we count ten staff zipping in and out of the big open kitchen and not much in the way of empty seats so there's really no room for statement pieces anyway.
Some places have more good cafés than they can lob a corn fritter at, but in Ashfield there's scant few. Luckily for locals, Excelsior Jones raised the bar for breakfasts and then refused to let the standard drop. No wonder they’re still so popular.
|Venue name:||Excelsior Jones|
139A Queen St
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 7.30am-4pm; Sat-Sun 8am-4pm|