Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Start spreading the news.....

New York Tomato
Cnr New & York St

Hidden away in the back streets of Richmond this is one of the gems of Melbourne cafe culture.
We've eaten there several times now and have never been let down. The menu has the staples you'd expect, and a number of interesting variants that you wont find many other places.

The decor is great, the food is great, the staff are great. It is great. Great great great great great. Honestly there is not much more to say.

Monday, May 08, 2006


I hate you.

NVS Bar Cafe
141 Swan St

Scenario 1:
Here is a dramatic recreation of what the possible owners of NVS must have said to each other preceding the purchase of the aforementioned cafe:

Him: Gosh honey, this scrambled eggs you've made here is damn scrumptious, you're a great cook.
Her: Thank you honey. You know I've always wanted to own a cafe.
Him: Wow! Great idea. That would be great, we could have our own little business and the yummy food which you make that myself and our friends love will make us a tidy little sum.

Scenario 2:
Another dramatic recreation, this time a new owner has purchased the aforementioned cafe.

New Owner (to staff): So nothing is going to change, just keep doing what you're doing, that's why we bought this place, you're all so wonderful.
(Sound of feet running outside, car door slam and car tearing off as now absentee owner goes to oversee some other part of his/her investment empire)

Why did I make you sit through the above dear reader?
Because I have no other plausible explanation for the agony that is a 'meal' at this place.

We sat, we smiled, we ordered coffee, we ordered breakfast. We were the only patrons there at the time (yes a warning sign that should have been heeded).

Then we waited.
And waited,

and waited.

When the gastronomical delight did come it was beyond a joke; solid poached eggs, tip-top bread.....and cold.

Maybe one other table by this time, and they still brought the meal out half an hour later AND COLD. How is this possible? Refer to the above scenarios or........I don't know.

I sincerely and from the bottom of my heart hope you go broke incredibly soon so that someone who actually cares about what they do can take over your inadequate establishment and possibly turn it into something.
Really, go broke, please. F@#$ers.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Odd...but in a good way

Red Lemon
89 Swan St

Anywhere that has a breakfast called the Gorbachev which includes two shots of Vodka is onto something.

This place looks a little weird, feels a little weird, and serves great meals at a good price. The whole place has a kind of chaotic feel to it not unlike the former USSR. Can't work out if the proprietor is Polish or Russian and man I know how sensitive that topic can be.

The walls are adorned with De Lempika prints, the main coffee table is a refugee from an 80's nightclub, the writing on the window is kind of serial killer, and the quotes on the chalk board are always interesting.

The food is hearty, big servings, and tastes great.
I have had a lot of coffee there, and never a bad one.
I recommend you do the same.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Paradise Lost

Barkly St
St Kilda

This place should be the best cafe in Melbourne, it should be a highlight of breakfasting.
Tucked away location, funky decor, great little courtyard.
Instead it's just ordinary bordering on the downright horrible.

This is not a recent phenomenon. I've always had a love/hate thing with Jerrys. Time was we'd think about going to Jerrys for a feed because the food was so good but we had to weigh up if we could cope with the extraordinarily bad service. Even after an ownership change they managed to instill the same sense of customer non-satisfaction in all of their staff - must have been a hell of a training program.

So, we go there recently braced for bad service and good food and instead got average service and bad food.

Note to all cafe owners out there - is it too much when ordering poached eggs that both are runny, not one hard one soft? And hey, while we're at it, if we ordered two meals can we please have both of them served hot? Today?

In short - don't bother.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Yellow Card

Swan St Richmond

Dear Torch,
This is an official warning. You have nice decor, and the kind of Richmond people who REALLY want to look cool hang around the front of your cafe. Your coffee is ok (note OK, not good or great). Your service has been good (big tick).


You recently received an order for Fruit Toast.
And you served it BURNT!

How the hell do you serve burnt toast?
Why was it even allowed to leave the kitchen?

For this you get a yellow card because not identifying burnt toast in an order of toast suggests that either:
a) the cook (note: not Chef) doesn't give a shit
b) the waitress didn't give a shit
c) the waitress is that shit scared of the cook she did not dare mention it (in which case she should have pretended to faint and drop the offending item on the floor and hope the next one was better)

Whatever the reason it is inexcusable and shows a disdain for the customer that borders on outright assault.

If I had wanted burnt toast I'd have stayed home and done it myself. A lot cheaper.

You have been warned. You get one more chance.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Looks aren't everything. Really.

Cafe 117.
117 Swan St Richmond.

Funnily enough I avoided going into this place for the first few weeks I lived in Richmond because being a bit of a visual snob when it comes to cafes it just didn't look all that inviting. The first time I came close to going in I was fairly certain I could smell burnt milk in the air and was not willling to subject myself to what I thought would be a guaranteed bad coffee. When the revolution comes I will personally line up the ones who don't clean their coffee machines and insist on burning the milk.

It was only after I noticed some regular clientele who would, well, be regularly sitting out front that I thought I had to get over my shallow preconceptions and chance a take away coffee there. I still could not bear the idea of having to sit in there with a crap coffee in front of me sending my blood pressure through the roof. So having ordered my take away and still thinking I could smell burnt milk I went back to my far better half and cleverly made her taste hers first. She said it was fine. She was wrong - it was damn good!

And I needed an olfactory examination.

Having now eaten there on a number of occasions I'd sum it up like this:
The service can be a little patchy on weekends when they are busy (and perhaps understaffed) but one or two trial staff disasters aside the attitude is friendly and fuss free.

Where this place stands out is in consistently serving up good food. It's not exotic, it's not even terribly well presented - but it is always good.
Coffee - great

The verdict: Low key, relaxed, and a great value brekky.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Society needs accountability

And I'm going to deliver it. One Cafe at a time.

I am sick to death of going to cafes and forking over $30 for breakfast for two only to receive mediocre to shitty service, over cooked eggs, and coffee not fit to be dishwater.

On the other hand I will happily part with same $30 in return for a well cooked brekky delivered with professionalism and a smile.

Here I will review Melbournes cafes (and anywhere else I travel to) and give an honest, unbiased punters assessment of their breakfasts. If I am unhappy I will even give the offending establishment another chance (unless it was truly unforgiveable). There will even be pictorial evidence.

If you don't live in Melbourne then you either need to move here, visit here, or send me your reviews.

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