Brown Dog Cafe
08 8172 1752
143 Goodwood Rd
Goodwood, SA 05034
I don’t remember who recommended Brown Dog Cafe to me anymore. But in my hunt for more good breakfasts around Adelaide, this suggestion popped up from somewhere and never being one to turn down a recommendation, today found me nursing a chilli hot chocolate at Brown Dog Cafe.
The decor of Brown Dog Cafe is really quite homely and enchanting. There’s something about the place that just seem to ooze with ease and gently nudges you to relax into the embrace of Brown Dog Cafe. I noted with amusement the fact that they were licensed and wondered who would be drinking quite that early in the morning. (Then of course, I remembered that I was in Australia.)
There’s not too many tables in the rather small establishment. However, as more and more customers were ushered through their backdoor, I came to the realization that there was outdoor seating outback. “With a real good heater!” came the sales pitch from the staff as I watched them try to sell the idea of an outdoor seating to their customers in the midst of winter. I should point out that they were hugely successful in this pitch as all of the customers disappeared through the backdoor in search of this heater.
There’s been many mixed reviews about the service at Brown Dog Cafe. Mixed reviews make me nervous as it feels like I’m gambling. Will today be my lucky day? As it turns out, it was. The service could not have been better. Attentive staff that snapped to attention even with the slightest wrinkling of the brow, keen to ease out your pretty forehead with the beautiful aromas of coffee.
I went with a Chilli Hot Chocolate and the boy opted for his usual Cappuccino . I’ve never been all that pleased nor impressed with the chilli hot chocolates I’ve tried around the place. It’s never quite enough heat for me, and it feels rather lame to be drinking a hot chocolate that touts itself as having chilil and not being able to taste the chilli nor feel the heat. But I was bent upon my quest to find a good chilli hot chocolate so in went the order, with hopes that this would be a good one.
The verdict? This was one of the best, if not the very best chilli hot chocolate I’ve ever had the fortune to taste. Flavourful, not overly rich, and yet still bursting with heat. The sprinkling of cayenne pepper over the top brought life to the hot chocolate and I smiled contentedly over my hot chocolate over at the boy. Life was good.
The boy ordered the Spanish Dog Breakky – eggs, paprika flavoured baked beans, chorizo sausage, roasted tomato, relish and toast $16.90. He also requested for extra hash browns ($3.50). I suspect that the many elements on his dish was ultimately the fault of our long wait. Tables around us that had ordered after us received their order before ours even made an appearance, which was a little depressing. Still, you couldn’t fault the generosity of the portions on the plate. They were huge!
The hero of the dish for me was definitely the relish. Tasting decidedly homemade and very delicious, I could have eaten the relish on everything. In fact, I ended up buying a takeaway container of the relish to bring home! (I’ll be making burgers with it, yum!) The baked beans were also very tasty, none of that mushy overcooked baked beans stuff you get from cans! I marvelled continually over the skill of cooking they had shown to the hash browns and the chorizo sausage, they were impeccable and so very tasty!
The downfall of the dish, I am sad to say, was the eggs. The boy had requested them poached, and one would normally expect a gush of rich golden yellow yolk as the knife broke open the white. But this was not the case with his poached eggs. Sadly overcooked, the yolk made a pathetic attempt at being runny, but failed short of being anywhere near spectacular. The bread was also nothing remarkable. Pity.
For myself, I had ordered Miss Florentine – poached eggs, baby spinach, smoked salmon, hollandaise & toast – $15.90. I tend to opt for a more delicate breakfast and I couldn’t go past the hollandaise and smoked salmon. If those are on the menu, then they belong in my tummy. In fact, this particular menu item seemed to have been very popular as I saw multiple copies of this dish making their way around the cafe.
As a whole, I think the dish worked together nicely. However, I was disappointed by the hollandaise sauce. While the texture was beautifully silky and smooth, it also didn’t taste of hollandaise. There was no richness, no flavour. I think I am eternally spoilt by the homemade hollandaise sauce Sefie made. Nothing will ever compare.
And similarly, the bread was a bit of a letdown.
The eggs weren’t as overcooked as on the boy’s plate, but they were still more cooked than I’d normally have them. Ah well.
So while this dish had been pretty spectacular visually, and was generally pleasant, there lack any sort of wow factor to it. Still, I finished up my dish and smiled happily as I wiped up the rest of my chilli hot chocolate. Maybe sometimes, you don’t always need a dish to wow. Maybe sometimes, being pleasant and generally yummy was enough.
As I got up to pay, I saw this corkboard filled with pictures of different dogs. I had read on Yelp that this cafe had been named by the owner in reference to his own labrador retriever and such a show of love for our four-legged friends filled me with warm fuzzy feelings.
So while this place hadn’t wow on so many levels, it also fulfilled me in so many corners of my heart that other cafes hadn’t. The beautifully warm atmosphere, the caring environment, that wonderful chilli hot chocolate….
Would I come back? Oh yes, I would. Some things, you can’t buy with money, and this is one of it.