Sydney’s inner west suburb of Ashfield is famous for its countless Chinese restaurants along Liverpool road serving all kinds of dumplings and xiao long baos.
But tucked away from the busy restaurant strip in the residential area on Queen street is a favourite cafe among the locals.
A decidedly unusual name for a café, owners James Naylor and Anthony Svilicich wanted Excelsior Jones to reflect its historical street location – formerly Excelsior street, subsequently renamed Jones street before finally settling for its current Queen street.
The food and casual vibe of the café has been whole-heartedly embraced by the locals in Ashfield since they opened early last year.
On the breakfast menu until 12 noon each day include sour cherry raisin toast ($5), house-made granola ($10), bircher muesli ($12) and eggs Benedict ($15) among many other favourites.
Naylor, Svilicich and their team must be doing something right as they were awarded Best New Cafe in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Cafe Guide 2013.
As we are here at 12.30pm, we just miss out on the breakfast menu (until to 12 noon) and I was pining for a simple bacon and eggs with toast.
I spot a wholesome bacon and egg sandwich on the table next to us. Rocket leaves, capsicum relish, streaky bacon and a poached egg is gently sandwiched between two thick slices of sourdough.
It’s too thick to eat as a sandwich and besides, it might get a bit messy with that soft egg yolk.
So it looks like I’m going to get my bacon and eggs on toast after all.
The wobbly egg tells me it is beautifully poached.
Freshly grind black pepper is all I need to give this egg some respect. And respect is indeed earned when a gentle stab of my knife releases that runny egg yolk in all its golden glory.
Garlic aioli spread on one side of the sourdough adds a subtle zing to the sweet capsicum relish.
Apparently one of the hottest item on the menu is a chunky potato hash with an option of either pork hock or house-smoked salmon.
Mysaucepan chooses the latter and it arrives with another beautiful poached egg on top, garnished with some dried herbs, micro leaves and chopped chives.
A stab of the knife reveals yet again another glorious egg yolk.
Looks like we have egg yolk extravaganza today.
The gooey yolk oozing onto chunks of smoked fish, potato hash and crispy fried buckwheat adds a rich and eggy creaminess to the whole dish.
Good as it is, Mysaucepan is having trouble finishing the generous portion of this dish.
As I gladly pick on bits of smoked salmon and potato hash with my fork, I can see why this dish has been such a hit since day one. The dilemma for me is whether I can resist this smoked salmon option in favour of the pork hock the next time we return.
So dear readers, do you prefer a late breakfast or brunch during weekends and what would be a favourite dish?
139a Queen street
Ashfield, New South Wales
Tel: +61 2 9799 3240
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 7.30am – 4pm, Saturday & Sunday 8.00am – 4pm Kitchen closes at 3.00pm