What did Reservoir do right to have a place like Jackson Dodds in the neighbourhood? This small but extremely-lauded cafe was awarded Best Brunch Spot of the Year by the Age, and I’ve yet to see a negative review on it. The only downside is that it’s ridiculously far from my end of town, but thankfully it’s just up the road from Chris' place, so I can easily head back there for a nap afterwards.
Jackson Dodds may be small, but it’s extremely hard to miss thanks to the loud graffiti art emblazoned on the facade. If you can tear your eyes away from the eccentric characters on the wall, you’ll also notice several equally colourful tables and umbrellas outside the entrance tipping you off that this is in fact, a cafe.
|Interior/Kiddie Corner/Tricycle on the Ceiling|
The interior is equally quirky and bright, but unlike most other hipster cafes, it doesn’t seem contrived at all. It’s almost as if you’re eating in the kitchen of the owners, whose tastes in interior decoration just so happens to hit that perfect note of cosy-cool that Melbournians love so much. And yes that is a tricycle on the ceiling.
|No Slavery Here!|
The menu starts off fairly standard, with your breakfast staples of eggs and toast and bircher, but it quickly deviates into delightful options that made order-envy inevitable. There’s also a low wooden table piled with sweets near the entrance, should you find ricotta pancakes with bacon and maple syrup not indulgent enough.
Steering Chris away from steak sandwich, I managed to convince him to try a much more exotic option – the Kedgeree ($14), an Indian-styled breakfast consisting of curried rice and smoked trout, topped off with a boiled egg and some house-made mango chutney, served with some excellent sourdough on the side. The flavours of this dish were mellow yet bold, with the smoky flakes of trout offsetting the sweet mango relish against the backdrop of the slightly curried rice.
|Pea and Haloumi Fritters ($14)|
I had eyes for nothing but the Pea and Haloumi Fritters ($14), which were served with a generous side of bacon, house-made tomato relish, and beetroot leaves lightly dressed with olive oil and balsamic. After the disastrous corn fritters at St Ali, I was a little hesitant as I ordered this, but my leap of faith paid off. The peas were practically bursting out of the hot, crispy fritter, and they would have too, if they weren’t held back by generous pockets of haloumi. To be honest I couldn’t taste much of the haloumi, but it was good to see that it was there all the same. The chunky tomato relish was zesty and added a great punch to the creamy fritters and salty bacon. If I really had to say something bad about this dish... I don’t think I would be able to.
|Pea and Haloumi Goodness|
If you don’t mind a bit of a trip, then Jackson Dodds has my highest recommendations as a brunch spot. It runs at a much less hectic pace than most other cafes (probably due to the location), so it’s the perfect place to linger over a coffee or two. And if you have kids? No problems! Mr Dodds even has that covered with a little corner for the kids to play in. Now there’s no excuse not to visit.
Rating: 16.5/20 – impressively good brunch