Monday, January 09, 2006

When the Big Breakfast goes bad

I knew it was not a good omen when a smiley face stared back at me from my breakfast. Nowhere on the menu did it say you would have a lump of something that may or may not have been a potato in it’s former life, moulded into a generic figure, sprayed with chemicals, fried and frozen, then reheated to leave a lingering taste of rancid fat – as part of the dish.

This was meant to be an item I knew well – 2 poached eggs, spinach, mushroom, tomato and hollandaise on a potato pancake. The latter, a rosti like creation taking up most the plate, was absent only to be replaced by Mr Smiley and two of those awful hash brown ‘bricks’ reminiscent of a mcbreakfast.

Poached eggs are one of those deceptively simple dishes, but done properly are a sign the chef mastered at least the first semester of cooking school. This one sadly hadn’t. Irregularly shaped, roughly textured, rubbery white with barely cooked yolk leaving a soggy imprint of the white sliced toast (another sorry substitution). The spinach from the freezer bulk catering pack, the hollandaise from a big plastic tub and the mushrooms from a can, none bearing any resemblance to a legend in the breakfast world, adored over the years. At least the tomatoes and garnishing herbs were fresh.

This local café had appeared strangely quiet in recent months. It had long since been sold, twice, since the enthusiastic first owners who had created their niche in a tough town of eat streets had moved on. I love my neighbourhood and always give new ventures a go, anything to keep out the creep of the faceless chains, but I won’t be sad when this one closes, as it inevitably will.

Fortunately I didn’t risk the coffee.

All that was missing was a cheery “have a nice day” on the way out, but the waitress, no doubt staring down the barrel of unemployment, looked far too sad for that.

Update: This was a review of "Eat" a cafe in Rathdowne Street, North Carlton. It seems that other locals voted with their feet and eventually the cafe closed. It is now the home of Gerald's breakfast but better service and great tapas.



Blogger Chai said...

hiya, melb girl et al had an idea where we pool all our restaurant experiences. We sort of a have spot ready ie but have no reviews yet.
I'll send you an invite (re being a member) if you'll send me an email address at spamused at
Hope you'll join. Should be fun, for a while anyway.

11:07 am  
Blogger Ed Charles said...

You could at least warn us where this is.

8:52 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

OK you asked for it - "Eat", Rathdowne St, North Carlton. Once good, now very very bad :(

9:32 pm  
Blogger Ed Charles said...

Thanks. Will avoid.

12:33 pm  
Blogger Ange said...

I have to agree - love hash browns (home made) & its not fair when you end up with the frozen imitations! I have to sheepishly admit though that somethimes when I have a really severe hangover only a coupla maccas hash browns will do the trick :)

4:42 pm  

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