Sunday, October 24, 2010

Soto Espresso

Soto Espresso
507 Beaufort St
Highgate
(08) 9227 7686

1. Comfort & surroundings

Lola: Though I regularly pop into Soto for a takeaway beverage before work, I'd never sampled their kitchen offerings before this visit. It's down the Highgate end of the Beaufort Street strip, with scattered tables, a long booth seat down one side of one room, and art for sale which changes every so often. Somewhat surprisingly, you might think, we decided against one of the half booths, but just because of the spaciousness of our chosen table's corner location. The seats aren't conducive to relaxing for a whole morning, but overall it's not a bad place to spend some time, and I did like this art rotation. A 2.5 here.

Alexander: Beaufort Street is probably one of Perth's most popular cafe strips, so breakfast purveyors need to do a decent job to survive amidst all of the competition. Soto has been around for a while, so it must be doing alright! The venue has a casual vibe, although there are plenty of people around to give it a lively atmosphere. As Lola mentioned, you get your choice of seat type, either booths or tables. I am a big fan of the booth, but so were a lot of other people, so we decided to give ourselves some more space at a table. I could have happily sat around people watching for a while, so I will give it a 3.5.

2. Service

Lola:
It's counter service here with self service water too. This, of course, is not a problem, but it does mean that our contact with staff was minimal. So nothing to complain about, but no one seemed particularly happy to be working either. So a 3.

Alexander: Lola's right - counter service and minimal contact make it hard to say much on this front. I thought our server at the counter seemed friendly enough, but the waiter who brought us our food had a more surly attitude. Of course the biggest crime was that my plate was cleared before Lola finished... uh oh, 2.5 from me.

3. Tastiness

Lola:
I had spied the menu while waiting for a takeaway one morning and the interesting sounding options enticed us to give it a crack. I chose the pork belly chorizo omelette with sugar candied bacon over the smoked kipper, which also sounded appealing. It was a close fight for my taste buds! The omelette was ginormous, I reckon there must have been six eggs in it, and it came with a hefty slab of sourdough toast and a handful of rocket. The chorizo was tasty though the bacon was easily overlooked. There was some softened onion throughout the dish which added some much needed sweetness, and the freshness of the rocket was appreciated. I say freshness but the rocket wasn't all that fresh, really, a sizable amount of it being old and yellow. I would have loved some balsamic to help the onion and rocket out. Determined to get through the mountain of food, I left the toast and focused on filling my belly with the good stuff. And while I did manage it quite comfortably I was so full and eggy that I couldn't possibly eat anything until dinner time. Maybe this is a good quality for a meal, but I felt it was a bit heavy for my liking. I'll go with a 2.5.

Alexander: I love eggs so it came as some surprise to me that I was drawn to the grilled mushroom and asparagus with Persian feta. Even more of a surprise, I didn't regret not getting eggs - this was deee-licious! The mushroom/asparagus/feta flavours all worked really well together, and the addition of some rocket and balsamic lifted it to something a bit more special. Plus, there were some carbs under there to help fill me up! Well done Soto, this gets a 4.

4. Drinks

Lola: Soto do a good mocha. My only complaint is that they are a little bit small! This brings my score down to a 4.5.

Alexander: The people at Soto care about their coffee, so I strayed back to long black territory for this breakfast. I was amply impressed without being blown-away. 3.5 from me!

5. Fiscal matters

Lola:
I suppose a dish so large with so many eggs and so much sausage comes close to warranting an $18 price tag. But no one needs to eat that much, really, and I resented having to pay that fee when I probably would have been better off with half that amount and spending $9. The little coffee was $4, I believe, and although it is not uncommon, looking back I feel it was a bit steep. I'll give a 2.5.

Alexander: Prices are pretty average here, not too expensive, not outstandingly cheap. There is probably a small "location premium" built in, but this is balanced out by the fact that there are plenty of other cafes around competing for your business. I was happy to pay under $20 for breakfast and coffee, so I am giving it 3.5.

The verdict...
Comfort & surroundings: 6/10
Service: 5.5/10
Tastiness: 6.5/10
Drinks: 8/10
Fiscal matters: 6/10
TOTAL: 32.50


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