Mr Hendricks, Balwyn

12/23/2015 , 0 Comments

Mr. Hendricks is a small cafe that's recently opened up in Balwyn, near the shopping strip on Whitehorse Road just past Balwyn Road. I decided to visit this cafe after seeing several photos of its popular dishes on Instagram, and was really happy with my experience here. Mr. Hendricks is opened Tuesdays to Sundays for breakfast and lunch, and the cafe is easily accessible by tram 109, with plenty of parking on the side streets as well.

We went on a Sunday at about 12:15pm and it was extremely busy, but luckily we got a table for three facing outside. The cafe had a really lively atmosphere with the music playing in the background, together with the sounds of people's chatter, coffee being made and the bell chiming every now and then indicating a dish was ready. There's a French theme to the decorations and dishes at Mr. Hendricks, with simple black and white photos on the walls. The whole cafe is really bright with the large windows at the front allowing natural light to enter, as well as all the light bulbs dangling from the ceiling. The service was pretty good considering how busy it was; the staff were still prompt to take our orders, and our dishes came really quickly as well - within ten minutes of us ordering.

The breakfast menu is all day at Mr. Hendricks, and there's also a lunch menu which starts at 11:30am. The dishes we ordered were all from the breakfast menu- the Seafood Scramble ($19.50), Crispy Eggs ($19) and the Breakfast Cassolet ($19). We also ordered a drink each; a cappuccino ($3.50), orange juice ($5) and the apple, guava, blackcurrant, strawberry and blueberry Noah's Creative Juice ($4). The coffee was good; what you'd normally expect in a cafe, but the orange juice was really great. It came in a really cute jar, and was full of flavour and had pulp in it. It was a little more sour/acidic than usual orange juices but I find that I actually like it this way as it makes it more refreshing and gives it that tangy flavour.

The Seafood Scramble came with salted rockling, salmon, shrimp and clams on house made dark rye bread. The dark rye bread was lovely and soft, as was the salmon that was in the scrambled eggs. This was quite a unique dish as most cafes only serve salmon scrambled eggs, not with all these other seafood ingredients. As a result, the dish had a lot more texture to it withe the chewiness of the clams and shrimp, and the radish and parsley garnish gave it a slight crunch that was also refreshing at the same time. The scrambled eggs themselves were nice and fluffy with a good consistency.

The Crispy Eggs is probably the most famous dish at Mr. Hendricks, and consists of two deep fried eggs with smoked ham hock, sweet potato puree, fennel, radish and walnuts on sourdough toast. The eggs were covered in a light golden brown batter that tasted similar to tempura, and was thin and crispy. The simple use of salt and pepper for seasoning made it more flavoursome, and contrasted nicely with the smooth sweet potato puree. The eggs themselves were perfectly cooked, with the yolk oozing out completely when cut open, yet the egg white managed to be completely cooked and not runny, which was really great. The walnuts added good texture and appeared to have been honey glazed as there was a slight sweetness to them, and the smoked ham hock added salty flavours to the salad and really complimented it. The whole dish was really enjoyable with all the different flavours and texture in it, and I would definitely recommend ordering this dish when you visit.

The Breakfast Casolette is a take on the traditional French dish cassoulet, which consists of sausage, pork skin and white beans. Mr. Hendricks made this into a breakfast dish with the additional of the fried eggs and buttered bread, to go with the confit duck, Toulouse sausage, and persillade (a type of French sauce made from parsley and seasoning such as garlic, vinegar and other herbs). The confit duck was cooked perfectly, falling off the bone as soon as you broke it slightly with your fork - you didn't even need to use a knife as it was that soft. It was a little on the salty side, though this was balanced well with the other elements of the dish such as the beans, fried eggs and bread. The Toulouse sausage (named after a city in France) was also a quite salty with a bit of a tough skin, but again this was nicely complimented by the other ingredients. This was a very hearty dish that is perfect for the cold weather, and was a very generous portion for the price, to the point where I had trouble finishing it! I personally think the orange juice went really well with this dish as it is quite heavy and having something more refreshing helps to cleanse your palette.

I really enjoyed my experience at Mr. Hendricks, and am already looking forward to going back again to try some of their other dishes. Definitely recommended to try if you're in the area!

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