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

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