In a direct one-eighty to the Choupinette post I put up a while back, I’m embarrassed (well, a little) to admit that yes, I’ve been brunch-ing far more frequently than I would normally and that I will now openly declare that I’m brunching as opposed to just having a late breakfast. It sends a chill up my spine that I realise that I don’t think I can return to that normalcy. I’m afraid, very afraid.
The thrill of finding an awesome brunch place now supercedes the steady thinning of my wallet.
See, the novelty of doing something unconventional (like having brunch dishes at 4pm, brunch-ing on a weekday before class, playing with Google Man to find brunch places..) will never wear out as long as this idea of brunch is still shiny and new to me.
And as long as I keep chancing across gems like Cafe Hacienda, nestled in the lush foliage of Dempsey Hill, all peaceful and warm and blissful and cozy and empty during weekdays and with killer Eggs Benedict…
I’m saying tata to breakfasts and lunches.
All-day breakfast and brunch places are sprouting up all over the island, and while Café Hacienda’s brunch and breakfast spread of waffles, egg dishes and pastries aren’t going to win an award for variety, it is much appreciated and admirable that they make up for the lack by executing the few that they have to offer fantastically. Now that’s reliability – doing one thing right and well each time without fail, namely, their Eggs Benedict.
Eggs Benedict ($13.50)
It’s a holy matrimony of crusty, fragrant English muffin halves topped with slices of smoky black forest ham, twin rashers of crisp bacon, two gorgeously runny poached eggs, a delectable drizzle of hollandaise and rockets tossed in sweet vinaigrette.
Now, perfectly rounded poached eggs will wobble and readily ooze their golden yolks at the slightest pressure of a fork or knife.
These were topping the scales on the Jiggle-O-Meter.
I was so amazed at their fragility that I started prodding repeatedly with my fork, getting morbidly fascinated with how jiggly it was until…
I'm bleeding me...
I couldn’t help it.
Café Hacienda does a marvelous job of them, and at $13.50 for two, it’s comfort food at its most affordable. There wasn’t a single fault that I could find within that plate, except that I wanted more. So much more. Oh the portion’s just perfect, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that they were that good. I could gorge myself silly on their Eggs Ben alone.
And considering that I’ve returned twice after that first fateful brunch and none of the yolks (a total of 10 yolks since my first visit) have ever failed to gush in an almost alarming stream, soaking into the muffins and sending me into a frenzy in trying to contain the spread…’good’ just doesn’t cut it. This is pure, unadulterated food porn.
Try it sometime.
Eggs Royale ($13.50)
Smoked salmon instead of ham and bacon. I very much am eternally devoted to Eggs Ben, but if you prefer this, then hey, whatever floats your boat. But put ham + bacon and smoked salmon on a scale? Mine tips invariably in favour of bacon and ham, drenched in rich hollandaise and egg yolk. Faints.
The café is tucked away at a corner of Dempsey, next to a couple of furniture shops and its sign is barely visible courtesy of the high shrubbery at its front. Enter it on a weekday and you’ll be hoping that no one else finds this place because it is homey and bright and all you would want to do is to order up a steaming cup of Flat White or Mocha (made with 66% Valrhona dark chocolate) as you recline comfortably with a book. Or textbook. Just be sure not to monopolize the sofas and the friendly wait staff will leave you be.
And now that I’ve shared that with you, you must promise not to tell anyone else. I share good stuff, but disturb me during my free weekday when I’m at the cafe and I’ll throw a hissy fit.
I’m joking – about being there every week, not about the hissy fit.
Flat White ($4.80)
Weekends make it tougher to grab a seat among the other reserved tables, especially if you’re bringing the girlfriends. Do inquire as to the pastries available daily, because their array of cupcakes, croissants, scones and cakes will start to beckon if you linger too long. As with all other Dempsey tenants, Café Hacienda is best accessed by car or taxi, yet that really shouldn’t deter you from quality brunch available from 9am to 5pm daily, especially since it is easily one of the most reasonably priced places on Dempsey Hill.
They also serve TWG teas, one of my favourite tea brands and I highly recommend the Creme Caramel and Vanilla Bourbon. They are so incredibly fragrant and sweet smelling you’ll conveniently forget that you’re drinking tea and not having dessert instead.
Cafe Hacienda does serve standard cafe sandwiches, pizzas and pastas, great set lunches and sticky date puddings, and I should give those a try some time or another, in all fairness. But at the rate that I’m raving, I probably won’t need a menu any more, let alone think of any other Dempsey establishments when I do make a trip down.
Because I know exactly what I want.
Dempsey Road #01-07
Tel: 6476 2922
Mon–Thu: 11am – 11pm
Fri–Sun & PH: 9am – 11pm