Sunday, 28 November 2010

Double hotcakes at The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar
656 Smith St, Clifton Hill (map)
9482 7980

One of the benefits of having an awesome best friend like best-friend-K and taking her out to brunch: when you muse upon reviewing the menu that you can't choose between the savoury corn hotcakes or the sweet ricotta hotcakes, she immediately suggests ordering both and each going half-half.

I don't deserve that woman.

I am the walrus

Both types of hotcakes at The Bell Jar are changing specials. When we went, the corn hotcakes were spiced and served with chipotle, crispy bacon, poached eggs, crème fraiche cut with coriander and a bit of rocket ($16). The cakes were fluffy and not at all stodgy.

Like salted caramel, chipotle is one of those ingredients I keep seeing cropping up on Melbourne menus with increasing frequency. And as with salted caramel, I for one am happy to see chipotle becoming so-hot-right-now-because I *love* the smoky stuff - I'm addicted to chipotle tabasco and I heartily recommend getting some for your kitchen.


Our obliging waitress arranged for delivery of the two dishes to be staggered so that we could enjoy savoury before sweet. The ricotta hotcakes of the day were stuffed with pineapple and served with butterscotch ($15). What the chalkboard didn't tell us was that the pineapple-stuffed hotcakes were also topped with fresh banana, chopped medjool dates and fresh mint. All of which added up to one HUGE dish that we couldn't finish.

As impressive as it looked, we both agreed that this was the less successful of the hotcake dishes: the hotcakes were still rather doughy, and the butterscotch sauce was so thick it stuck to the dish like sticky icing, rather than lubricating the other ingredients. Loved the flavours though, especially the lashings of mint.

Ricotta hotcakes

They're using Five Senses blends and they know how to make a good coffee.

Bell JarCoffees

Oh, and the cafe itself? Small, cute, spin 'n span, located up the sleepy northern end of Smith Street in Clifton Hill. The open kitchen is TINY but they manage somehow. The staff were lovely on our visit. Worth a visit if you're in that neck of the woods!

Bell Jar


Anonymous said...

definitely don't mind the salty caramel popping up more =). hmm, i'll definitely go with the savoury one when i visit.

claire said...

Like I said, AAR, both types of hotcakes are changing specials... here's hoping you get a ggod combo when you visit :)

JPblog said...

Someone who suggest to order both and split .. Is definitely a keeper. Too bad I cannot personally review your musing at The Bell Jar. .. Not tomorrow anyway! Great Blog!

Hannah said...

Oooh, there's such a thing as a chipotle version of tabasco? I add tabasco and smoked paprika to pretty much everything (including, erm, peanut butter cookies...) so would make good use of such a bottle ;)

Also, I want that walrus on my wall. :D

greenbeenfood said...

looks great & always seem to have great finds!

Placebogirl said...

Long time reader first time commenter: I have to say I had no idea I was in the presence of greatness that morning at the Bell Jar; your photo of the counter shows my friends paying for breakfast!

anzacdaygirl said...

I grew up in a time when Sunday night tea was often corn or mock whitebait fritters - hotcakes hadn't yet landed on our shores. I am therefore suspicious of these fluffy interlopers but the corn hotcakes sound like they will definitely win me over.

susan said...

how good do those poached eggs look! I always want to try sweet things when I go out for breakfast, but I always end up choosing savoury of some sort, but sharing sweet and savoury sounds like a great idea!

claire said...

Thanks, JPblog and GBF!

Hannah, there is indeed Chipotle Tabasco - it's AMAZING. I get mine through USA Foods (the McIlhenny brand), but some larger supermarkets may also stock it.

Hahaha Placebogirl - I'd hardly describe it as "the presence of greatness". :) Hope you friends don't mind being in the pic!

Hi ADG - another place where I can recommend excellent corn cakes/fritters is Miss Jackson, down in St Kilda. Theirs are delicious.

Sweet AND savoury, Susan: everybody wins! :)

Duffy said...

Oh my, those corn hotcakes look wicked! I'll have to give them a go.