Posts Tagged ‘cafe’

Review – Corner Cafe (International Hotel) – Port Pirie (South Australia)

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Bright yellow on the main drag - you can't miss it!

Based in the bright yellow International Hotel on Port Pirie’s main drag it wasn’t my first choice to have dinner, but trying to eat after 8pm on a Monday night my choices were the Corner Cafe or McDonalds. However, there seemed to be a lot of people inside and well, as I said, there wasn’t really an alternative.

It turned out that a 50th Wedding Anniversary party was underway and as such the kitchen was still open (not to mention that the guests had brought in their own instruments and sound system and played golden oldies for us!). The menu was basic pub fare, schnitzels, steaks etc and all meals came with unlimited access to their salad and vegetable bar. I ended up going for a Beef Schnitzel – I liked that they didn’t pretend it was Veal. I got a huge (ie they had to fold it to fit it on the plate) with mushroom sauce for a massive price of $12,90. My dinner companion (who is a vegetarian) didn’t have much variety, and settled on Vegetable Noodle StirFry. No bowl of noodles, it was a normal dinner plate covered (and I do mean covered and heaped high) of Udon noodles, some sort of brown but yummy sauce and miles of fresh veges (including peas still in their pods which I guess was their equivalent to Snow Peas.

The bain marie was a whole other thing. You could have eaten a meal just from that. Lots of fresh lettuce (not just iceberg but a solid cafe mix), tomato, tinned beetroot, tinned pineapple, cucumber, carrot, sliced bread (just a white supermarket loaf), potato salad, apple salad, pasta salad, two different kinds of coleslaw and then we had the veges! Potato bake, roast carrot and pumpkin, greens (peas and beans), and good lord I can’t remember the rest. There were 8(!!!) trays on each side each brimming with good old fashioned food.

My schnitchzel was the same as a $20 one I would buy at a pub back home proporting to be veal, however the crumbs weren’t fine, suggesting they probably made their own bread crumbs but oh so yummy – cooked to a perfect golden brown. The mushroom sauce was just gravy with some mushrooms in it but it was great! My companion’s stirfry was way too much to eat and she couldn’t even finish it with picking out the veges, though she did say it was just an average one – nothing like you get in China Town or a real restaurant, but it was like making it at home. From memory I think her meal was about $14. With two drinks (softdrinks) our bill was in the low $30’s.

Pluses:
Huge servings and everything (excepted the tinned items) was incredibly fresh.
Very friendly staff.
Ridiculously cheap.
Incredibly yummy in a home-cooked kind of way.
Super central – being bright yellow it is hard to miss.
Order at the bar but food came out fast.
Clean – very, very clean.

Minuses:
Not a lot of variety.
The decor was a bit bland.

This place isn’t a restaurant, it is a pub that sells food and calls itself a cafe (I did see a cappachino machine but as I don’t drink coffee I can’t comment on its quality). For the price and quality the Corner Cafe is great value for money. We both ate much more than we had intended, trying to fit everything in. If you find yourself in historic Port Pirie there are a few things to remember. Don’t drink the water (seriously as it is a health risk, especially for young children) and stop off at Corner Cafe.
(I stayed at the John Pirie Motor Inn just on the edge of the CBD (chortle) and it was clean, safe and they do a fine cooked breakfast.

#threesatisfiedpandas

Corner Cafe (International Hotel) on Urbanspoon

Caffeine Espresso – Teneriffe

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

Gorgeously presented, but the tea itself was nothing special.

I see this cafe all the time – my second favourite riding route takes me straight past it. I often see a lot of cyclist there early in the morning, then people relaxing at the side walk tables as the morning progresses. An acquaintance recently told me of their amazing $10 Saturday morning breakfast over beers at the QA, so, with the help of some friends, we tried it out.

Hard to pass up this Saturday morning only special.

Located on the dog leg on Commercial Drive where it meets Florence St (conveniently across the road from a CityCycle station),  Caffeine Espresso offers standard breakfast fare, such as muesli, toasted sandwiches, as well as some decently priced cookies, muffins and savouries for the snack friendly. I was there for the $10 breakfast though… It was two eggs, scrambled with chives (made with cream I think) on a thick buttered slice of sour dough, with 3 pieces of bacon, a thick slice of tomato and an orange slice. Also included in the price was a coffee, I got a pot of tea instead – opting for Earl Grey.

The food itself was very good for the price. The bacon and tomato were pan fried, but not oily at all. The bacon was also of the premium cut variety, so not the thin fatty part. The scrambled eggs (my breakfast of choice) was so rich and creamy and not over cooked. They were a deep yellow colour as well, so not watered down with milk. Three friends ordered the same, and like me, ate everything on the plate. Another ordered mango yogurt and muesli, and finally one had toasted cheese and ham sandwich.

The coffee got mixed reviews. One friend said it was really good, another said it was a little burnt. Another had a chai latte and had no complaints, though my tea was just average. The brand of tea wasn’t the best – though it was gorgeously presented. However for $10 for a breakfast that left me full till after 3pm with a big pot of tea – you can’t really complain.

Pluses:
Very conveniently located off the main drag with lots of side streets for parking – though note some are covered by meters.
CityCycle station 65 is just across the road.
Quick service time, food was out in under 10 minutes, and shortly after the drinks.
Iced water available (including ice) by the door.
Doesn’t get the morning sun on the tables, so not ridiculously hot to sit outside.
Friendly service, cafe style.
Excellent value for money.

Minuses:
Not enough sugar pots or salt and pepper shakers for all tables.
Chairs feel a little unstable but seemed fine.
The brand of tea.
Not so comfy you want to linger and linger.
No wifi provided and one friend had patchy 3G coverage while there.

I can’t comment on what Caffeine Espresso is like during the week, but on Saturday morning, forget spending $16.50 on a meal then $4.50 on coffee, and throw down $10 at Caffeine Espresso. You won’t be disappointed.

#threeandahalfegglovingpandas (it would have got 4 pandas if the tea was better quality or if I ordered the yummy chai I imagine)

Caffeine Espresso on Urbanspoon
Howmanypandas Queensland restaurants

Review – New Farm Deli and Cafe

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Merenda + Scrambled Eggs = Disappointed

I arrived bright and early. I had planned to visit a different cafe for breakfast w friends, but circumstances meant that we were  now at this popular New Farm hangout. Given the large numbers of locals I always see congregating there, I thought, incorrectly it turned out, that this would be a good alternative to our original choice.

Let’s start with the  service. There was none. No “hi” as you walk in, no “how are you?” When my food arrived, the girl just dropped it and walked off. I had to call after her for some cracked pepper. Didn’t swing round and ask how it was going. Nothing. It wasn’t like we were in a full restaurant. Three tables. Yes three.

The food was a whole other level of average. I ordered the Merenda + Scrambled Eggs and a Chai latte (I am nothing if not predictable with those scrambled eggs). Merenda is pan fried mushrooms with grilled tomato + some bacon and toast. I really wanted some scrambled eggs so ordered them on the side.  The mushrooms were so salty they were almost inedible. The tomato wasn’t grilled, it was pan fried. The bacon was pan fried and swimming in grease – so much that it went under the rest of the food. The eggs were just woeful. They “looked” good, but the taste was disappointing. They were greasy (even at the top so not just from the bacon) and tasted fake. One friend order the muesli but said Campos was much better. Another friend had the pancake stack and said it was nice but nothing special. Their thoughts on the coffee was “nothing special.”

Pluses:
Conveniently located at Merthyr Village
Has a deli section.

Minuses:
Terrible service.
Average coffee and chai.
Badly prepared food.

I will continue to wonder why all these ppl go to this cafe and I have no idea what they see in the place.

#oneandahalfpandas
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New Farm Deli and Cafe on Urbanspoon
Howmanypandas Queensland restaurants

Review – Cafe Conti – Wilston

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

I cannot begin to tell you just how good this was.

Nestled in Wilston this cafe has been a staple of the Brisbane Cafe Scene for some time – yet surprisingly I had only ever done tea and coffee there – never a meal. From memory I did watch a friend eat there… Anyway – they are supposed to be the bees knees for breakfast – so after a couple of average breakfasts at my friend’s and my usual breakfast hangout, we ventured to Conti.

I am pretty boring when it comes to breakfast. Scrambled eggs makes me a happy panda. You would be surprised just how many places do a terrible scrambled eggs – you would think it impossible to screw up, but oh yes, some manage to destroy scrambled eggs with great skill. Thankfully, Conti is not one of those places.

I chose the Dill and Parsley Scrambled Eggs served withTuscan spiced potatoes and tomato chutney served on olive sour dough. The food was awesome! The eggs were fresh, fluffy and perfectly cooked. The bread was toasted enough to avoid possible sogginess, yet not so hard as to be icky to eat. The potatoes were just enough to round out the meal without picking an extra side and the chutney was super yummy!

My breakfast buddy ordered their legendary French Toast with crispy bacon, maple syrup, and vanilla mascarpone cheese and it was, well, Legendary. I didn’t try the French Toast – but from how it looked to it being completely devoured I can only assume it was just as good tasting as it looked.

As I am still caffeine free (well not drinking Coffee, Coke/Pepsi and consuming herbal or decaf tea as a preference) I went for their Chai Latte (yes I know it is a black tea base and therefore contains some caffeine). What was really great to see was that at Conti it wasn’t made from a Chai powder – but from real Chai tea in warmed milk. The accompanying honey just put the icing on the cake, so to speak.

Pluses:
Real food – nothing processed.
Great service – staff super engaging and happy.
Good menu selection.
Fast service – we were there at 7.30am as a doors opened though so can’t comment on peak times.

Minuses:
Doesn’t open till 7.30am.
Can be hard to jag a park if not there at 7.30am.
No CityCycle station close by (outside the coverage area).

Yes it is a little more expensive than many other breakfast options, but if the quality is outstanding, I am happy to pay $5 more. The difference was worth a lot more than $5 worth in my opinion.

#fourpandas
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