Jackson Dodds – Worthy Title Holder
611 Gilbert Road
Preston VIC 3072
03 9471 1900
Open: Mon – Fri 7am – 4pm; Sat – Sun 8am – 4pm
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.
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…
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…