Sunday, July 09, 2006

Babble on Babylon, Elwood

Fancy some saltfish with your fried plantain and Johnny cakes? Head for Babble on Babylon, 85 Brighton Road, Elwood, Tel +61 3 9531 4211. And don't be put off by the funny names. A Johnny cake is not something fished from the prime ministerial toilet. It's some kind of fried bread bun thing. Toast, Jamaican style.

jamaican eggs

I wasn't really in the mood for hard poached eggs with Ackee and saltfish, so I ordered Jamaican scrambled eggs on toast with bacon, beans and avocado. It was very enjoyable but quite hot, with a decent hit of curry powder and chili. The bacon was well-fried and the beans were tasty and slightly sweet.

The fussy one wasn't quite so happy. Indeed, she created something of a crisis in the Babble kitchen by asking for scrambled eggs with butter but no milk or cream. First the waitress, then her boss, attempted to negotiate this special order, with several rounds of shuttle diplomacy between our table and the kitchen. But a deal was not to be done. The outcome? One serve of fried eggs, and one disgruntled diner.

I must say I was impressed by the efforts of the front-of-house staff to broker a peace deal. But the refusal to scramble two eggs in some butter is the kind of precious behaviour that gives a chef a bad name.

The Babble menu is anything but boring. Apart from all the Jamaican stuff, there's French toast, American pancakes, Indian river bread, and a Moroccon breakfast of yoghurt with figs, orange and almonds. The porridge and poached Winter fruits were both good, and the "Provencale" sounded good (scrambled eggs with goat's cheese, oven-dried tomatoes and basil on toast). On weekends, you can also get Benedict and his cousins (Florentine and Royale), although I can't comment on the quality of the hollandaise.

The Illy coffee was excellent.

15/20 "Johnny cakes"



Anonymous brunsw12 said...

I've got to say that your blog is brilliant, and that I have had some highly memorable breakfasts thanks to your 'inside knowledge' - thankyou. If only Melbourne restaurant reviews could be as democratic.
Just quietly though, I do feel like your partner's unusual request for eggs seems a tad precious and fussy; it's presumably not based on dietary or nutritional reasons (given butter was ok). I do think some chefs are a bit put out by punters telling them how to suck an egg... Though I suspect others will have other opinions :) It's only shades a grey away from people requesting an omelette with soy milk, new zealand sea salt and a drop of truffle oil... It's a fine line between being a gourmand and a narcissist. (actually that last line might be going too far :) )

12/7/06 13:35  
Blogger Jamie Wodetzki said...

Well, I don't call her "my precious" for nothing... But in her defence, I must point out that some of her requests are, indeed, based on lactose intolerance. It is wrong to jump to the conclusion that because you don't understand a dietary requirement, it must therefore be made up. Lactose intolerance is not simply a question of "dairy", it is a question of "lactose". There's lots of lactose in milk and cream, but not very much in butter and some aged yellow cheeses. So the latter are OK, but the former are not.

12/7/06 15:12  
Anonymous Stuart said...

Absolutely outstanding and unique breakfast spot. Wonderful staff, attentive and pleasant. Beautiful homemade Jamaican fruit bread and Johnny cakes were brilliant.

20/7/06 11:09  
Anonymous Rodney said...

Great review, this is one of my favourite haunts. I am suprised by the difficulty with the kitchen, they always seem so on the ball with everything else. Admittedly, I don't order off book. I usually go for the spanish pide (chorizo, goats cheese & sun dried tomatoes), this is too die for. Well done babylon. Also Presse Winebar in that same strip is also a winner, as is curry leaf (indian) and take away wraps from Lezzets. What strip.

25/4/09 05:44  
Anonymous nancy said...

this cafe was a short stroll from my old place and i never realised what a lucky girl i was. i moved 4 suburbs away and still am willing to make the trek back to babble. my rave has to be the eggs provencale, scrammbled eggs, pesto, sundried tomatoes and goats cheese oozing out. WOW. blew my taste buds away, and coffee is always great. the staff are really friendly and great. awesome during summer sitting on the street, soaking up sun and watching the traffic zoom past.

23/7/09 12:24  
Anonymous frank said...

this used to be one of the iconic breakfast/brunch haunts, HOWEVER, it has had a change of owners and the place is now totally different - and overpriced...... only the name is the same.
[try lezzet 2 doors down for brunch - not mondays]

4/4/11 16:29  

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