A couple of weeks back my Dad was in town, visiting from his country-who-the-frak-knows-where town, and we decided to go to breakfast at Ricardo’s. The decision to make Ricardo’s – a half hour drive from my house – the breakfast venue of choice was made by my brother…. because he and his boyfriend wanted to be able to roll out of bed and wander to breakfast with the least amount of effort for them.
I must admit, I’d always wanted to try Ricardo’s but the idea of going to Belconnen for breakfast when there’s about 100 decent places closer was ridiculous to me – it’s the same reason I never made it to Morks when they were in Florey (seriously, where the hell is Florey?). I’m such a Canberran that way. So I agreed to A’s choice and we drove out to Jamison centre to meet the boys around 10am on a rainy Saturday morning.
Ricardo’s is located next to an entrance off the main part of the Jamison centre, near Coles. The entrance to the café is inside the plaza, they have a large counter straight ahead and chairs off to the side. The space is small, but there’s a sizeable outdoor area – thankfully cordoned off by plastic covers on this rainy day. The counter area also contains a sizeable display case full of cakes and baked goodies that will make you want to shove your face against the glass and lick like a puppy in love. My precious(es).
At 10am on a rainy Saturday morning Ricardo’s is packed. Paaaaacked. Not a single free seat to be seen. We spotted someone moving in the corner and sent my brother to ATTACK! Thankfully we got a table, but was table for three (there was four of us) in an awkward position, definitely not the most comfortable of spots, but a seat none the less. There’s so many people in there that it’s loud and noisy and feels a little claustrophobic. C tells me that this is a regular weekend breakfast at Ricardo’s – which is awesome that they’re so popular, but it really doesn’t make for a relaxing breakfast. It’s hard to do a leisurely breakfast when people are staring at you, hoping to ATTACK! your table once you’ve lifted your butt off the seat.
Dad and A joined the line to give our orders, while C and I remained guarding the table. Staff ran back and forth delivering plate after plate of delicious looking food and hot coffees, it’s chaotic but efficient. Dad and A are back in no time, the line was long but moved fast. The food came out about 10 minutes later – props to the kitchen staff at Ricardo’s for churning food out so quickly with such a large amount of orders.
I ordered the Croque madame – gruyere cheese, double smoked leg ham, Dijon mustard and sour cream grilled sourdough with a fried egg.
The Croque madame was really warm and comforting on such a rainy morning – carby with meat and cheese, what more do you want really! The bread is crunchy and the ham and cheese are salty and delicious. The egg was cooked beautifully too:
The side salad was a bit unnecessary and as I am allergic to vinegar, it was shoved to the side and forgotten about. But the bread and meat makes this dish filling.
A ordered the Big breakfast – eggs scrambled, poached or fried with bacon, mushrooms, hash browns, roast tomato and toast.
The big breakfast is BIG! A said everything was awesome, but although he enjoyed the focaccia like bread he preferred a crunchy sourdough or something a little less dense.
C ordered the Smoked Salmon Breakfast – smoked salmon, poached eggs, crushed peas & ricotta with lemon cream fraiche and dukkah on sourdough.
Dad got the Ricardo’s Breakfast – eggs scrambled, poached or fried with roast tomatoes and bacon.
The service at Ricardo’s is not exceptional, but this is only due to the nature of the ordering system – order at counter, food bought out, food taken away. The staff were busy, so there was no time for chit chat – but they were friendly and extremely efficient.
Ricardo’s has some awesome food, and the cakes in the window beckon me for a return visit, but I must say that I prefer a more laid back breakfast than what I experienced on this day.