Bungalo is the cafe king of the Eggs Benedict.
The perfect Eggs Benedict is a bit of an art form. To know the Eggs Benedict, one must understand the Eggs Benedict, and where this culinary masterpiece came from. One may be mistaken for thinking the breakfast dish of the century was named after the catholic pope, but in fact it was originally 'invented' in 1894 by Lemuel Benedict. The retired American Wall Street stock broker had wandered into the Waldorf Hotel, and in hopes of curing his morning hangover, ordered "buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon, and a hooker of Hollandaise." The hotel's maître d' was so inspired by the dish that he put it on the Waldorf breakfast menu, substituting ham for bacon and a toasted English muffin for the toast. Thus, the Eggs Benedict was born.
Since that inspired day in 1894, Eggs Benedicts, and their various variations, have dominated the breakfast menus of the world. Auckland itself doesn't lack its share of the Eggs Benedict. Walk into any waspy or even tacky cafe in this town and you're almost guaranteed to find the regal Benedict on offer. The problem with the century-long Benedict boom is that there really should be a license to cook the Benedict. Too many eggs have been unnecessarily boiled into spidery, overcooked and sloppy messes sloshed on top of inundated sponge-like English muffins finished off with the chargrilled black remains of what can almost not be recognised as bacon. Think of the children, people.
Which brings me to Bungalo. The elusive cafe hidden away on Mokoia Road (which also has a stunning view of the harbour), receives a flood of hungover patrons on any given Saturday or Sunday morning, ordering a flurry of dishes from its delectable menu. I was lucky enough to suspend my cynicism for an hour or two and order myself the easy-to-fuck-up Eggs Benedict, vegetarian style ($16.50). What I was greeted with were two firm and perfectly shaped poached eggs, lightly resting on a handful of portobello mushrooms, on top of a bed of perfectly wilted spinach leaves, all held together by the secure foundations of two toasted, crisp and warm English muffins. And generously, but not too generously, covered with homemade Hollandaise sauce. I picked up my knife and made the first incision into this delectable culinary bundle, watching the poached eggs ever-so-gently erupt, oozing golden egg yolk over the mushrooms and spinach. The rest, as they say, is history.
What Bungalo serves, ladies and gentleman, is the perfect Eggs Benedict. Come on over, all hungover and disenchanted souls.
Image credit: B is for bear