Jackson Dodds – Worthy Title Holder

Jackson Dodds
611 Gilbert Road
Preston  VIC  3072
03 9471 1900
Open: Mon – Fri 7am – 4pm;  Sat – Sun  8am – 4pm
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So people, today I went further afield in search of the perfect pancakes than I have ever done before in the Melbourne metropolitan area!    In fact, so far out that the 112 tram refuses to go any further than just outside this café.  12 kilometres – out to Preston. Not exactly convenient if I have a pancake craving… but maybe Yarra trams is onto something… for I had heard rumours that this café do a pretty special breakfast. Actually, more than rumours – awards – because Jackson Dodds won the 2011 Cheap Eats Breakfast Spot of the Year!  Shiny accolades indeed!

Actually, to be honest, I’m a bit behind the times.  With the new 2012 edition of Cheap Eats due out in less than a couple of months – that means it’s taken me over 10 months to high-tail it out there to check what all the fuss was about!  A little research gave me added impetus, in that I spied they had ricotta pancakes on the menu… no further incentivising necessary…

Thankfully, there is plenty of parking in the side streets of Preston (and can I say, some really lovely houses!). The café is hard to miss, as it’s a canvas for a dramatic and colourful graffiti mural, most recently updated by Unwell Bunny and Mysterious Al in December.

There is a great outdoor seating area (see pic below), and inside the café is light and airy – with some quirky decorations, including little boxed cups and saucers displayed in a pigeon hole arrangement.  Check out the blackboard with the specials of the day, and make sure you search out the blackboard that has the quote of the day, for a little intellectual stimulation…

I put my coffee order in… my usual 3/4 flat white – alas, I’m not sure if the order came back right.

3/4 Flat White…? 

It looks full to me… and it was a bit weak, so I’m suspecting that maybe I got a full version… but the coffee was good.  So, I wasn’t too fussed.

And now to the ricotta pancakes – you’ve got to love a café that gives you two options!
First option: what you might call the standard – crispy bacon and real Canadian maple syrup.
Second option: Caramelised banana, walnut praline and whipped peanut butter.

Oh my goodness.  I know the second option is almost worthy of Elvis showing up… but it was calling to me…

Ricotta pancakes with caramelised banana,
walnut praline and whipped peanut butter

Wow!  Look at those beauties!!  With trepidation I cut into them… I’ve had so many disappointments… I took a mouthful…and paused…. these pancakes were amazing!!  The texture was springy and moist – not too dense, but with a light aeration.  There was even a hint of crunchy crispiness around the edge – which is something I love.

Here’s the money shot – the close up of the pancake interior.  You can see the moistness, the reassuring flecks of ricotta.  All good stuff.

The caramelised banana had a lovely dark golden tinge, and was perfectly cooked – soft, but still holding together.  The walnut praline was crushed and sprinkled across the top, adding a smattering of crystallised crunchiness to the proceedings. And the whipped peanut butter – oh my goodness – what a great foil to the sweetness of the pancakes. It was smooth, with little specks of crunchy peanut – juxtaposing the dish with just the right level of smooth, salty goodness.

Dare I say it… these pancakes could be in the running for the top 5 in Melbourne. Personally, if I lived in the gentrified inner northern suburbs of Melbourne I would be very pleased to have this as my local café.  But don’t take my word for it – jump on the tram, or ride your bike, or hop in your car… check it all out for yourself.   It’s worth the journey…

Outdoor seating area 

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