I went to bed excited last Thursday night. Why? Because the next day I was planning on following up my usual 6am gym session with breakfast at the Country Road Cafe in the city. Since discovering this place last year I’ve been spreading the word (so many people don’t know about it. I mean, who thinks to look for a cafe in the middle of Country Road? Does anyone actually shop in Country Road?) and been there for quite a few tasty, well-priced lunches. I’ve never had a chance to try their breakfast menu though, and was pretty pumped for it (especially after the gym, ho ho). These plans were changed however when we decided to head into Subi instead, as my breakfast buddy had a meeting to get to and we really didn’t want to feel rushed during our anticipated Country Road Cafe experience. So, off to the Subi Hotel we went!
Our last breakfast experience in Subiaco was at The Walk Cafe, and it was so horribly mediocre I am sure I declared I would never eat there again. I had eaten breakfast at the Subi only once before, celebrating Canada Day with a group of friends last year (in the weeks leading up to my departure to Maple Land). In fact, the reason why we ended up at the Subi last year was because our plans to eat at Tiamo Cafe were dashed at the last minute when we discovered that Tiamo was closed due to a kitchen fire. I wonder how the kitchen fire started… perhaps someone tried to bake some ham and the oven rebelled in confusion.
Upon arrival at the Subi we found a table amongst the blackberried and suited fellow diners and sat down to peruse the menu. There are a number of more interesting dishes on their breakfast menu, and whilst I knew full well I wasn’t going anywhere near the “eggs in the middle with grilled black pudding, tomato relish”, I found it difficult to choose between the “toasted New Norcia organic sourdough with smoked salmon en cocotte” and the “spinach couscous with parmesan, poached egg, hollandaise sauce”. When I asked the waitress what the smoked salmon en cocotte was made of, she seemed a little unsure, and it required a minimum of 20 minutes preparation so I went with the couscous. Actually, the menu called it “cous cous”, which drew derision from my Moroccan breakfast buddy (which I nodded knowingly to, making a mental note to not make this rookie mistake myself). He chose the “farmhouse: scrambled egg, bacon, tomato, chipolatas, hash brown & toast” with a side order of mushrooms and changing the eggs to poached. He did try to get multigrain toast but seemed to only have the option of changing it to sourdough. I also ordered some smoked salmon on the side, and asked for the hollandaise to be left off my dish.
The food arrived in good time, following leisurely conversation and a few sips of our long blacks, and was good on the eye (although not so great on my camera, apparently):
The couscous had a great texture and was full of flavour – quite salty but in a lovely parmesany way. The egg was poached to perfection and oozed beautifully into the couscous when broken into. I wasn’t entirely sure about the addition of crostini with my dish, and was really glad to have ordered the side of smoked salmon as the protein:carb ratio of the base dish seemed a little low for my liking. In any case, I really enjoyed the breakfast and would happily eat it again.
The “farmhouse” was declared the best full-breakfast-type dish of all of the places we’ve been to over the past few months of breakfast dining. All components were full of flavour and well cooked, and my generally non-sausage eating friend even got stuck into the chipolatas. I was allowed to share in the side order of mushrooms, and had to hold myself back from doing the old “what’s that over there?” trick.
The service was good. Friendly, yet efficient and unobtrusive. We were never left waiting yet neither did we feel rushed.
After paying I resisted the urge to take a mint, as I recalled what happened the last time I was there… I popped a mint into my mouth, thinking perhaps it would be a good thing to do given that I was about to be farewelling my dining companions for a number of months and didn’t want their last memory of me to be of having stinky coffee breath as I hugged them goodbye. As luck would have it, the mints they have there are those ones with the gooey blue stuff in the middle, which I discovered is quite sticky as it adhered itself to my tongue piercing and made it somewhat difficult to speak without looking and sounding a bit odd. I discretely tried to free it whilst making riveting non-verbal conversation and think I actually ended up having to hang back from the group to reach into my mouth and dislodge it manually. Yeah, lovely.
EDIT: Went back again recently (25 February 2010) and the food was mediocre and service was terrible. We actually heard them scoffing about our audacity to request a different type of bread than the thin, hard disks they served as their standard toast. So, not really willing to recommend this place anymore. Shame!