Monday, 2 March 2015

Mrs Jones Cafe, Denmark, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

Regular readers of the Ministry will notice a dearth of breakfast related posts. Arguably the meal of the day that is most tied to convention and thus (for me) the least artistically satisfying, I just don't get very excited about going out to eat breakfast, and with the exception of dim sum, I prefer to wait for real lunchtime rather than by going for brunch. Every now and then however, a breakfast cafe makes it onto our list of places to check out. Over many trips to Denmark, Alissa and I have heard our family in the area rave about the food at Mrs Jones Cafe, and after a failed attempt to have breakfast there last year and a few coffee-only visits, Alissa and I managed to finally check out a cafe that has fast become a Denmark dining institution.

Housed in the historic Old Butter Factory that is also home to the Butter Factory Studios and Gallery as well as the Nebraska Jones concept store, Mrs Jones Cafe is located just off Denmark's main street. With a large al fresco area and well manicured grounds, the family friendly vibe makes it popular with locals and tourists alike.

The interior follows a fairly standard but modern cafe design aesthetic. Being in an important wine region, the cafe also offer a small but decent selection of wines. Being fairly early in the day, we stuck with the dependably good coffee on offer.

Always on the lookout for something other than traditional breakfast choices and being a fan of savoury Asian breakfasts dishes, I decided to order the Spiced Coconut Rice, Coconut Flesh, Fried Eggs, Fresh Spinach and Sweet Soy, with Pork Sausages on the side (an addition the waitress serving me thought was a good choice). Clearly inspired by Nasi Lemak, there was a lot to like about the dish. The Fried Eggs on top were cooked well, with just runny yolks and a nice crispy edge that I always feels add a bit of a texture. The seasoning and flavour of the rice was also very good, with decent spiciness that didn't hold back on the chilli and a nice coconut flavour accentuated by pieces of coconut throughout. With the Spinach and the addition of the Pork Sausage, this could have been a really great breakfast dish, however it was unfortunately let down by rice that was a bit too wet for its own good and a slight graininess to the rice that suggested it needed a bit more time to absorb the liquid. It was still quite tasty, however with a better texture this could have been that much more impressive.

Alissa's choice of French Toast, Rose Scented Berry Compote, Creme Fraiche very much played to her sweet tooth. The beautifully presented stack of French Toast featured bread that was well soaked through for a perfectly sweet egginess, with the syrup of the Rose Scented Berry Compote thoughtfully poured between every stack rather than just on top for an even flavouring. The Rose gave a pleasing floral softness to the dish that contrasted with the tartness of the berries. The only minor criticism Alissa had was that the quenelle of Creme Fraiche on top - which worked to break up the overall sweetness of the dish overall - was an insufficient portion for the amount of French Toast on the plate, and that more could have been spooned between each layer in the same way as the compote to get a better ratio of Creme Fraiche. Compare the Creme Fraiche to the amount of Mascarpone served with the Banana Bread at Friends of Mine in Melbourne to see what I mean.

The Verdict: Very Good
After hearing so much about it from our family and friends, it was good to finally get to try the food at Mrs Jones Cafe. While my Spice Coconut Rice was not perfect I do applaud Mrs Jones for offering interesting choices - something not so common in regional areas. Alissa's French Toast was definitely well made, the coffee was enjoyable, and the venue's relaxed environment made for a good morning in the country. With the other connected stores in the Butter Factory precinct as an additional attraction, Mrs Jones Cafe is worth a visit if you've got a morning in Denmark, and a good place to start the day before heading off for a winery tour down the nearby Scotsdale Rd.

Mrs Jones Cafe on Urbanspoon

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