24 Aug Mr. Hendricks Cafe, Balwyn
I generally avoid going to brunch places on weekends because they’re so busy. Today when I visited at 1:45pm it was … busy. Mr Hendricks only opened a few months ago, but its weekend business is certainly booming. It’s situated slightly away from the shopping strip, making parking a bit less of a nightmare. After a short wait I was brought to a table in the middle of the building, next to the kitchen. As well as the tables at the front of the cafe there’s a nice courtyard area accessed around the side.
Mr. Hendricks has a French influenced menu, so there are some items different from the currently typical brunch offerings. By this time the crispy eggs had sold out; instead I tried the breakfast cassoulet, which comprised of confit duck, ham hock, persillade, mixed beans, fried eggs and buttered sourdough toast. Although it took a while to get my order taken, my chosen dish arrived pretty quickly. The piping hot dish was filled with two pieces of each protein and a lot of beans, most of which were hidden underneath the eggs. Bread crumbs were scattered on top and I thought this added a nice textural element. The tasty confit duck and the fall-apart, smokey ham hock were very enjoyable, as was the Toulouse pork sausage (I thought I could taste a bit of fennel in it, but I wasn’t sure). As the dish cooled, most of the sauce had been soaked up and the beans started to go a bit stodgy, but they were of course still tasty. It was a very substantial meal and I struggled to finish towards the end. I ended up leaving some beans behind, and let me tell you, that rarely ever happens.
Mr. Hendricks Cafe
469 Whitehorse Rd
Balwyn, VIC, 3103
(03) 9830 7579