“There are a number of fundamental elements which make up Melbourne’s charm. However, they don’t get any bigger than the beloved tram. Love them or hate them, they are a Melbourne icon and easy transportation for either a few city blocks or urban travelling. Over the years the network has expanded and is said to be the largest tram network in the world. Covering 250km of tracks and 1,763 stops. The largest number of stops belongs to Rout 112, which goes from West Preston to Fitzroy Street, St Kilda via the City. It captures all the fabulous elements that Melbourne has to offer, from the east to the west. What you may not know about this route is that at the final stop on the west side lies a cafe which is pushing all the right buttons to deliver a fine brunch experience – Jackson Dodds.
The cafe space at Jackson Dodds is surprising. There is only one room (I assume this space was once a shop front) which provides seating for brunch goers, a barista station on the left and an open kitchen at the end. If fresh air is more your style, then there is seating outside on the sidewalk which provides the opportunity to embrace the strange but thought-provoking street art. What Jackson Dodds delivers is an edgy and raw cafe without the unnecessary pretentious air. It has certainly cultivated a ‘cool kid’ / ‘indie’ vibe which is nice to discover within the suburb of Preston.
A quick ‘good morning’ from the waitress was quickly followed by our coffee orders. Jumping straight to the point I ordered my AllPress long black [$3.50]. It had a striking, dark taste with a desirable slight bitterness. It was an addictively good coffee. With AllPress being stocked at a number of quality cafes, I was surprised at how well it was brewed. It was possibly the best Allpress long black I’d had in a few months.
It’s a common occurence that Miss SL and myself have the same or similar thought process when selecting our meals. The discussion of what to eat always starts with friendly input, followed by expressions such as ‘ohhhh’ and then ends with food envy. With Miss SL having first dibs on her meal, I then pivoted towards the fritter option and decided on the special – Parsnip & Sweet Corn Fritters with roasted tomatoes, bacon, beetroot relish and poached eggs [$16].
The fritters themselves were perfectly cook – crispy on the outside but soft in the middle. The flavours of the sweet corn and the parsnip were certainly distinguishable, well completed by the beetroot relish which gave the dish a spicy kick. The poached eggs were cooked perfectly and the bacon was nice and juicy, although I would have preferred it to be a little crunchier. What was exciting about this dish was the endless combinations of sides to go with the fritters. It certainly wasn’t the case that the last fritter was eaten by itself. It was the perfect winter meal – hearty and delicious.
Overall, I was quite impressed that a cafe space in Preston delivered such a fabulous brunch experience. It is always good to see cafes away from the urban fringe that can deliver high quality brunch dishes and good coffee. Jackson Dodds is worth the trip and let’s hope Preston gathers traction for more brunch opportunities.”
“Winter is a terrible time of year for most people, as diets go out the window and we all take comfort in warm, hearty meals. Heavy dinners and excessive snacking had led me to drastic actions and my personal trainer put me on a four-week healthy eating plan to re-calibrate my healthy eating senses. We’re by no means fatties – we certainly exercise and keep fairly trim. It was the end of my first week on my new healthy eating plan and I decided that, so long as I didn’t go down the path of desserts or things outside the guidelines of what my trainer had defined, brunch could certainly be managed. I felt like something different and so started perusing online, finally settling on a quaint place known as Jackson Dodds in Preston.
It was a completely miserable day and the long drive to get there left me extremely hungry. We entered into what felt like a very cool, trendy cafe. It was small and the kitchen was open plan – the barista station was in full view from where cafe-goers were sitting. Post-visit I looked up other reviews and it would seem that Jackson Dodds was a place for families. Unfortunately I didn’t get this vibe at all – there were no clog of pushers in the walkways and I felt like I was in a trendy cafe in Brunswick (although I have been recently informed by a work colleagues that families are in and out well and truly before the brunching period begins).
The first thing I noticed upon taking a seat was that the coffee was done by AllPress. Tick. Next up, there was a notice on the chalkboard that they only use organic food to prepare meals. Tick. I could really like this place. When I got the menu, I noticed that gluten-free bread was available for an additional $2 per slice. This was a big tick as I wasn’t allowed any gluten as part of my diet. Hooray! Time for ordering.
I’d ordered an chamomile tea [$4] to start with as I was quite sick and quickly decided on Jacks Breakfast – two poached eggs w/ grilled haloumi , sauteed spinach, avocado, & house made tomato relish, on sourdough [$15] add mushrooms [$2] add gluten-free bread [$2].
My tea had an absolutely beautiful scent and came out a gorgeous gold colour – smooth and delicate like honey. I tried to hail down a waiter to get me some honey to sweeten the brew and sooth my throat but couldn’t catch one despite sitting right near the barista station.
I’d finished my tea pretty quickly and ordered a short black [$3.30] to go with my food (as latte’s were not allowed as part of my healthy eating regime). The AllPress coffee I received had a dark chocolate taste to it – slightly bitter but with nice undertones.
When my meal came out I was immediately impressed with it. I don’t think haloumi would have been considered ‘diet freindly’, but I’m going to be honest – it looked so friggin’ good I didn’t really care. It was the best haloumi I’d had since St Ali - perfectly salty adding excitement to the rest of the dish. The mushrooms were full of natural flavour. The gluten-free toast let the dish down a bit – it was dry and the yellow colour (I can only assume this was because it was made from corn) was a little off-putting. I can only really blame myself with that one, though. The tomato relish and avocado were simply fresh and delicious, living up to the fresh and organic social values they market.
Jackson Dodds was a surprisingly good eat for the journey out to Preston. Their organic food values and fresh produce made it worth the trip out there – and their coffee wasn’t bad either. If you’re on that side of the city and in the area, Jackson Dodds is worth the pop-in.”
Final thought: “Best haloumi since St Ali”