Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Coode Street Café

Coode Street Café
24 Coode Street
(08) 9371 9900

1. Comfort and surroundings

Alexander: Sorry about the delay, folks, things have been a bit crazy in the lives of these breakfast bloggers! But with Lola's imminent departure on a European holiday, we knew we had to squeeze in a breakfast review! Coode Street Café was actually not our first choice on this particular occasion, but our first choice was inexplicably closed. Not to worry though, Coode Street Café was just a hop, skip and a jump (and a short car ride) away. Nestled on a leafy street in Maylands, you can tell that Coode Street Café has a good reputation by the number of cars parked within a 100m radius! After finding a carpark and securing a table outside, we settled in for breakfast. The café has a bustling, informal vibe, with an assortment of groupings (from friends to couples to families to singles) partaking in their morning meals. It's pleasant, if a little suburban for my taste, so I'll give it a 3.

Lola: I love the leafy streets and the homely feel to this high Mt Lawley / Maylands border area. Locals flock to this property which retains a corner store vibe. After breakfast you can pick up your milk, a newspaper and other morning staples. It might be bustling and it might be suburban, but I like the sense of community that those things create. And although it's busy, the vast space means there's little crowding. I'll have to say a 4.

2. Service

Alexander: Our waiter was very friendly, breezing across to our table after giving us a couple of minutes to peruse the menu. After securing our coffee orders, our waiter gave us the special of the day (a little bit of a novelty at breakfast!) and then left us for just about the perfect amount of time to make our decision. The food came out fast for such a busy place, so you know they are experienced at catering for a lot of people at the same time. Points for that. Payment at the counter afterwards was a pretty easy affair, too. A 3.5 from me.

Lola: There isn't much more to say in the service department. The system works well with waiters seating you and taking your orders, with counter payment at the end. This gives you a chance to pick up a pie to take home for lunch after! Pretty good with another 4 from this side.

3. Tastiness

Alexander: I couldn't go past the special on this occasion - corn cakes serviced with an avocado salsa, plus bacon on the side! If I could dream up my perfect breakfast, this would definitely be on the menu. It all worked well together, even if the plating was a little rustic. I devoured my breakfast and was left satisfied without being stuffed. A very happy 4!

Lola: Ohh that special nearly had me too! In the end I settled for the grilled peaches and ricotta on fig toast. This was just delightful and warrants a 4.5! The ricotta cut the sweetness of the peaches perfectly, and the bread was jam packed full of figs. Though I don't felt like I overindulged, it kept me full for hours with all its goodness. Yum!

4. Drinks

Alexander: Today I was back in long black territory, so I won't mince words. Good coffee, not the best I've had, definitely not the worst. Above average coffee = a score of 3.

Lola: My flat white could have been a little more robust, but it served the caffeine fix purpose and warmed me from the inside. A 3 seems apt for my beverage, also.

5. Fiscal matters

Alexander: Prices are on par with similar establishments in the location, with breakfast for 2 including drinks coming to a little under $40. When you can get away without parting with more than a $20 note each, things are pretty good... by Perth standards, anyway! 3.5 from me.

Lola: I couldn't have said it better myself. That $20 is a bit of a line for me. Spend over and, although it's common, I feel slightly peeved. But if I can come home with only having bust an orange, I feel like I've done not too bad at all. I second that 3.5.

The verdict...
Comfort and surroundings: 7/10
Service: 7.5/10
Tastiness: 8.5/10
Drinks: 6/10
Fiscal matters: 7/10

TOTAL: 36/50

Coode St Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Atomic Espresso

Atomic Espresso
15/21 Mends St
South Perth
(08) 9368 0990

1. Comfort & surroundings

Alexander: Atomic Espresso is a bustling little cafe on leafy Mends Street. Only a short walk to the South Perth foreshore, it's a lovely location to have breakfast. And it's not surprising to see a lot of people who've been out and about, doing exercise, stop in for some food and drinks - with a very short wait time for food, it's perfect for people who've built up an appetite. Inside the cafe, things have a bit of a frenetic feel to them, with generally a long line of people waiting to order and wait staff dashing about with plates of food or empty dishes. Still, once you find a seat and discover that your food has arrived 35 seconds after ordering it, there's nothing to stop you enjoying a leisurely morning with the newspaper or good conversation. 3 from me.

Lola: There are staff bustling around everywhere here, but I guess for the establishment to be that efficient on a busy morning, they are being put to good use. Mind you they do blend in well - I thought one girl who was rearranging furniture was actually a patron being a little inappropriate by interrupting others' breakfasts. Considering it is busy and somewhat crowded in the counter area, the tables are well spread out. We were sitting next to the ordering queue yet I did not feel like there were people breathing down my neck. They've done well with what they've got, and made the most of the leafy trees out front, but it's nothing fantabulous. A 3.5 here.

2. Service

Alexander: My views of counter service are well known but, to re-iterate, it leads to a loss of points. Atomic Cafe is all about counter service, and I am pretty sure there was an average wait time of about 5 minutes to get the front of the queue the whole time we were there. That being said, the person taking the orders was very efficient, so the line was constantly moving. Other interaction with the staff was equally efficient, if a little on the brusque side... but more on that from Lola. Overall, the service here is more about getting the job done than making you feel like a million bucks. I'm giving it a middle-of-the-road, 2.5.

Lola: I knew I would be on a tight schedule this particular Sunday morning, so I tried to book a table in advance, but unfortunately Atomic do not take bookings. This is no problem! Just a heads up. From our conversation I got the impression that they might have made exceptions for a large party, but since we were 2 they knew we'd get a table no problem. With such a quick turnover, and a fair amount of tables, I'm sure that the wait would never be long even if there was one. Okay so far so good. But to be honest, I was a little put out by a couple of later incidents. The first occurred when I took one of the (not overly large) water jugs and some glasses to our table. Someone turned up shortly afterwards and took the jug away, informing me that personal jugs are not allowed on busy days, only regular days. It all seems a bit hard to judge, to me. I don't mind rules if I am in someone's space, and a cafe is indeed someone else's space, but I did feel a little like a berated child who didn't know any better. Some understanding would have been nice. And larger glasses. Later on, I think they were so keen for a table turnaround that my plate was almost snatched away while I was still eating. Again, not the most welcoming. But look, they weren't rude or nasty, and I have to give them points for efficiency I suppose. A 2.5 from me too.

3. Tastiness

Alexander: My breakfast consisted of the mushroom bruschetta, topped off with goat cheese, and a side serve of poached eggs. Not bad, but not particularly exciting. The bruschetta toast was ciabatta - not one of my favourites - but the mushrooms were tasty and the cheese livened things up a bit. The eggs though! Served on the side of the plate, they just looked a bit sad, like most of the whites had been lost in the water bath. And the yolks were slightly overdone. It was a bit of a shame, because eggs, mushrooms and goats cheese has the potential to be an amazing combination. I can't give this more than 2.5 though.

Lola: I, on the other hand, love some sliced, toasted ciabatta as a base for bruschetta. Atop mine was fresh tomato and avocado, and I also chose to add (equally sad) poached eggs. It was small, but it was enough. The drizzle of olive oil was mostly on the plate and I couldn't help thinking how much nicer it would have been with just a squeeze of lemon on such a fresh dish. I regretted adding the eggs, but the tomato and avocado on toast, while not the perfect specimen, still hit the spot. The menu is really vast, and I'm keen to sample one of their omelettes next time. Based on this day, the dish gets a 3.5.

4. Drinks

Alexander: Iced long black? Sign me up! Given Perth's high temperatures, I'm surprised this doesn't make an appearance on more menus, particularly as it's ideal for people who want a cold caffeinated beverage without the dairy. Atomic Cafe's version was a bit odd though - served with a slice of lemon. It's not iced tea, and I don't think I've ever heard of a coffee/lemon combo before. So I was in disappointment city unfortunately. This one gets a 2.

Lola: It was a hot morning, but I felt like coffee, yet nothing too heavy. An iced cafe latte delivered the middle ground. I'm with Alexander, these varied iced coffee options are a great idea! The coffee itself, while drinkable, was a bit lacking for me, so I'll settle on a score of 3.

5. Fiscal matters

Alexander: Prices at Atomic Cafe are very easy to digest. Given the premium location, you'd probably expect something exorbitant, but my food was only $14 and my drink was $5. A full breakfast for under $20 isn't easy in Perth, so I was pleasantly surprised. This is the top scoring round from me - I'm giving it a 4. (PS it's cash only, so make a trip to the ATM before you come to Atomic.)

Lola: The bruschetta alone was $8.50, and while I mentioned above that it was small, it was definitely enough for a lightish morning feed, and the price is most definitely A OK. $5.50 for an egg addition is reasonable I suppose, and the coffees are heading to the steep side, but overall I was well pleased with what I had to fork out. Plenty of cheaper options, and from memory no dish hitting the $20 mark. I'll say 4.5.

The verdict...
Comfort & surroundings: 6.5/10
Service: 5/10
Tastiness: 6/10
Drinks: 5/10
Fiscal matters: 8.5/10
TOTAL: 31/50

Atomic Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


100 St Georges Terrace
(08) 9481 8333

1. Comfort & surroundings

Alexander: For Greenhouse, I think it's necessary to break down "comfort" and "surroundings" and consider each one separately. Starting with the surroundings, you definitely know when you're approaching Greenhouse by the hundreds of potted plants adorning the exterior walls of the building. It definitely makes for a striking garden look given its setting amidst the skyscrapers of St Georges Terrace. The plants are part of Greenhouse's sustainability gimmick, which extends to the recycled materials all throughout the restaurant (including the bathrooms). Pretty cool and it definitely makes for one of the more original and interesting surroundings for Perth breakfast venues. Unfortunately, original and interesting do not a comfortable experience make. The seats here are made of recycled crates and, while I like the concept of being able to use them interchangeably as stools, chairs or low tables, they are heavy and unfinished. Don't get me wrong, it's a small complaint, but I just can't stand the thought of having to remove another splinter... 5 for the surroundings minus 1 for discomfort equals a score of 4.

Lola: I truly appreciate the commitment to sustainability made by Greenhouse, and I think it adds a lot to the surroundings. Unfortunately I am biased against the CBD and generally find it a stressful, unpleasant expedition. This is not Greenhouse's fault, and hopefully with more and more places like it I will begin feeling differently. We were lucky, in my opinion, to be seated on a chair incarnation and not a stool one as I think the former are not too uncomfortable at all. Not the greatest things to lounge around on, but given what they're made of, I'm not too fussed. The restaurant is well lit and open, the tables spacious enough. Despite the city setting, I think I've just talked myself up to a 4.

2. Service

Alexander: My first encounter with the service at Greenhouse occurred when I called to change the reservation that had been made by Lola only minutes earlier. While trying to explain that I wanted to make the reservation for Lola half an hour earlier on a mobile with bad reception, it turned out that Lola's reservation wasn't actually in the book! In fact, there was no reservations for breakfast that particular day. So very strange. Upon arrival, I took a seat under the reservation I had made for two people and was then asked if anyone was joining me. Duuuh. And I would have preferred about an extra 10% friendliness from the staff. But aside from those things, it's table service at Greenhouse, which is a plus. It wasn't busy, so our orders were taken pretty quickly and there was only a short wait for the food. Just a warning, though, look into the kitchen at your own peril: it's full of teenage chefs with tattoos and massive holes in their ears. 3.5 from me.

Lola: Interestingly, the guy who took my original reservation seemed quite jovial (if not a little scatty) and quite pleased to be taking down the information. The mix up didn't cause any trouble, as it turned out, so I certainly can't take marks off for that, though the wait staff did just seem to be going through the motions. A 3.5 with an extra mark for table service, bringing it up to a 4.5. (And let it be said, I very much enjoy a young, heavily tattooed chef; so thanks to Matt Stone and his team.)

3. Tastiness

Alexander: I'm just gonna say it, this was probably my favourite breakfast in Perth for quite a long time. I ordered slow cooked eggs on toast with wild mushrooms, all of which was as close to perfect as you could get in my books. The flour for their bread is handmilled and then baked on-site, so the toast had a delicious earthiness to it - pretty much the opposite of Wonder White. I don't know how exactly the eggs were slow cooked, but they turned out like fantastic gooey poached eggs. And the assorted mushrooms were lightly sauteed in butter to bring out their natural flavour. All of this, served with fresh herbs and nasturtium petals, made for an amazing combination. This is a transcendent breakfast. FIVE OUT OF FIVE.

Lola: Not only was my choice equally delicious, but it has to be the most beautiful breakfast I've ever set my eyes on. Unfortunately I don't think the photo above does it justice, but it really was ecsquisite. A crab and egg tart sat in a ring of fresh herbs, thinly sliced fennel, nasturtiums and pansies - marvelous. The tart itself was a delight, with fluffy eggs and fresh tasting crab sitting within some of the flakiest filo I've had the good fortune to enjoy. Despite these rich flavours, the dish was not an overly heavy one, the fennel and herbs proving a sharp contrast. The serving size was generous without being excessive. Not only was there nothing to fault, but the dish was even more than I could have imagined. It has to be a 5!

4. Drinks

Alexander: The coffee here is top-notch, so even my simple long black was a delight: full bodied with that little touch of crema. Greenhouse will caffeinate you properly, so it gets a 4.

Lola: Not the best flat white I've had, but definitely one that I'd order again and again. A 4 from me too.

5. Fiscal matters

Alexander: My breakfast and coffee came to $20 exactly, which is a pretty average price point in Perth. Beware: don't expect the same if you visit for lunch or dinner, as I have heard that the prices at those times seem pretty inflated. But we're about breakfast on this blog, so that's what I'm judging it on, and I am going to give it a 4 based on the price in combination with the quality of the ingredients.

Lola: I'm going with Alexander again on this one and giving a 4 too. My total was only a few dollars over the twenty mark, and for a faultless, filling breakfast with a good cup of joe, I'd pay that any day of the week.

The verdict...
Comfort & surroundings: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Tastiness: 10/10
Drinks: 8/10
Fiscal matters: 8/10
TOTAL: 42/50

Greenhouse on Urbanspoon