Thursday, July 14, 2011

The finest Eggs Benedict ... in the world !

My global (sporadic and unstructured) quest to find the best Eggs Benedict may be at an end!
I'm a big fan of this classic dish. When a perfectly poached egg (well cooked, dry on the outside and still runny on the inside) is placed upon a properly toasted and (genuine) English muffin, this is a perfect treat. I'm easy on having either ham or bacon between the bread and the egg, so long as the bacon is crisp, and I prefer to have my hollandaise sauce on the side.

Marriot hotels internationally generally provide a very satisfying breakfast, and the Hong Kong Marriot does a fine Benedict, as does the Adlon in Berlin. The Hong Kong Club and Capital Club in Dubai both deserve commendable marks, but there is a small cafe in Phuket (off the beaten track and a 5 minute walk from the JW Marriot) that we frequented during our holiday, and that simple place was holding pole position in my mind till now.

This past weekend we had a few days in Prague, and The Augustine Hotel (a Rocco Forte hotel) may have stolen the prize.

The Augustine is a beautiful property. A converted monastery that opened as a hotel just 18 months ago. Nice rooms and impeccable service, and they serve an Eggs Benedict to die for. I must confess that this somewhat peculiar and random quest of mine has been on hold for the best part of a year since I started my "only fruit for breakfast" diet, but my partner in crime (my daughter Tia) is a big fan and connoisseur of the dish, and having her with me allowed me to continue and expand my global search further.

She ordered the dish on our first day. It came looking divine. The plate and dish were hot (this should not always be taken for granted) and although the sauce was pre-poured in this case, I had to let that go as it was my daughters preference.

The first and “crunch” test was to poke a fork through the yolk, and this revealed a golden flowing yolk inside the firm albumen. Cutting down, there were layers of finely shaved ham sitting atop a lightly crunchy English muffin. Tia and I smiled at each other. We both knew this was looking very promising and as my little girl put a rather large forkful into her mouth, I could see her eyes light up in tune with her taste buds. I watched her relish every bite, and then we reached the final test. The second egg! The first one was done right … to perfection, but was it fluke? Would the second egg have continued cooking in its own heat during the time the first egg was being eaten? In went the fork, and an identical flow of a deep orange liquid yolk dripped out. I couldn't resist. This looked almost perfect and I wouldn't let the opportunity pass, so I indulged myself with a bite, and then another, and then another. OUTSTANDING!

To cap this off, we repeated the order 2 days later and The Augustine proved they can deliver this dish to perfection consistently. Well done!

So for Prague, a beautiful city with castles and bridges, history and culture, fine crystal and good beer, here is another accolade to add ... IMHO, the finest Eggs Benedict in the world!


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