Sunday, August 13, 2017

CH James, Fairfield by Foghorn Leghorn

Recently I joined a group of food bloggers for brunch at CH James in Fairfield. It’s an airy space with plenty of natural light, and a buzz of activity. When we arrived, the music was blasting at a volume that made conversation impossible, but that was rectified quickly. We slowly settled in to a big table and discussed what we should all order.

CH James, Fairfield, corn and haloumi fritters
Corn and haloumi fritters

The menu has an interesting assortment of both sweet and savoury dishes, so there was quite a bit of discussion. The offering includes all sorts of unusual combinations (like pea panna cotta), but I was in the mood for something simple, so I ordered a brekky burger.

CH James, Fairfield, breakfast burger
This turned out to be a mistake, as the brekky burger is burger-less. It’s an assemblage of things that complement a burger (like bacon, egg and cheese), but the burger itself is missing. Strangely, the accompanying potato cake was also inside the bun, rather than separate. I was left feeling disappointed. I assume that drinking alcohol-free beer generates a similar feeling, but I don’t really know, because I’ve never tried it. Why would you?

CH James, Fairfield, panko crumbed egg and cured salmon

CH James, Fairfield, panko crumbed egg and cured salmon
Looking around, I could see that other dishes looked much more appetising. Mrs Leghorn ordered smashed avocado with panko egg and a side of cured salmon. This was a hit. The panko egg (poached egg coated in breadcrumbs and fried) was done just right, and was a kind of centrepiece. The house-cured salmon was a nice piece of fish, and had a more delicate taste than the smoked salmon you find in shops.

Another hit was the corn and haloumi fritters with poached egg (see first pic). Corn and haloumi is a slightly unusual combination, but the people who ate it were full of praise.

What I should have ordered was the crumbed ham hock with fried egg and other accompaniments. As it was carried past me, the beautiful smoky aroma told me what I was missing. I noticed that it disappeared from the plate without a trace.

Another thing that CH James does well is hash browns. These come as part of some dishes, and can also be ordered separately. They were praised highly by people who tried them. I was sitting opposite a slim girl who looked like she’d limit her food intake, so I hoped I’d get a chance to sample at least half a hash brown. No such luck! As I looked at her plate, I saw the last piece disappear.

CH James, Fairfield, buttermilk pancakes
On the sweet front, the buttermilk hotcakes were also a hit.

CH James, Fairfield, muesli fruit and yoghurt
Before our meals arrived, everyone was served a sampler of muesli with fruits and yoghurt. I haven’t eaten muesli for 20 years, and this reminded me why. It’s just not my sort of thing. It looked good, though, with a great colour arrangement of fruit.

CH James, Fairfield, coffee
Finally, I should note that the whole event kicked off with coffee, which received high praise from all concerned.

CH James, Fairfield

CH James, Fairfield

Verdict

We liked it
We liked it.
Mid value
Mid value.

Overall

The kitchen at CH James produces some interesting and innovative dishes. However, it over-reached with my burger-less burger. Putting a few ingredients inside a sliced bun doesn’t necessarily make it a “burger”. Wikipedia agrees with me on that one: the key ingredient is the ground beef.

There’s an outdoor area that looks very pleasant on a nice day, but we were there on a cold and windy day, so didn’t get to try it out.

The Eat and Be Merry Crew were guests of CH James.

Find it at

CH James
86 Station Street
Fairfield VIC 3078
Phone: (03) 9486 3484

C.H. James Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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