John Street Cafe

April 11, 2010 · 25 comments

I generally like to have a bit of fun with the titles of my posts. They might be a little groan-worthy at times but I figure it’s best to start off how you aim to continue. For this review though, I aimed to spend as much time coming up with a post title as the owners of the restaurant did coming up with their business name.

John Street Cafe is located on John Street, in Cottesloe. It is a cafe.

Although it is not located on the water (it is about 400m up the street from the beach), it certainly has a beachy vibe with the blue exterior, alfresco tables, inside dining that is quite open to the elements, and of course the Norfolk Island Pine Trees which are quintessentially Cottesloe (though perhaps not so much as they are quintessentially Norfolk Island).

Also adding to the beachy vibe are marine themed paintings decorating each table. The table in the below photo was a little difficult to see with the glare coming off it, and I originally thought I was photographing it the right way up. Can’t you see the octopus in the top left, and a funny crab with crazy yellow eyes hanging out in some orange seaweed? Upon realising my error I had a look at Ms Mermaid the right way up, and found her a little mannish for my liking so I’ll show you Messrs Octopus and Crab instead.

The specials are written up on a blackboard inside, and also on the specials menu, and I was quite excited to see that one of them was “corn cakes, smoked salmon, cream cheese, rocket, red onion and avocado” ($21.50). I then perused the usual breakfast menu, which is actually available all day, and upon spying “the vegetarian lot” which consists of “free range eggs, homemade hash brown, mushrooms, tomato, homemade baked beans and organic toast” ($19.50) I found myself torn. I was unable to decide until the waitress came to take our order, and I suddenly found myself eagerly ordering the special. My eagerness was shortlived however, as it turned out that the smoked salmon special was for lunch only. Thwarted!

Luckily for me, I was a little thrown by this so just ordered “the vegetarian lot” without thinking to change anything with it. I say luckily because I’ve just noticed the menu says “please don’t ask for changes, as refusal may offend”.

This reminds me of a breakfast visit to the Blue Duck, also in Cottesloe, a few months ago. I ordered the “smoked salmon benedict” but asked for it to be without the hollandaise (I know, I know) and with the addition of some grilled tomatoes. The waitress said “we don’t do substitutions” then stood staring at me. I then asked if it was possible to get the dish without hollandaise, and was told that was fine, so I followed this up by asking for some additional tomato, which was apparently also fine. Voila, smoked salmon benedict without hollandaise and with grilled tomato! I’m a magician.

The Vegetarian Lot - free range eggs, homemade hash brown, mushrooms, tomato, homemade baked beans and organic toast ($19.50)

Homemade hash brown, as part of The Vegetarian Lot

We didn’t have to wait too long for our meals, and were impressed with how they looked when they arrived. The hash brown and baked beans certainly looked “homemade” and the eggs seemed nicely poached. This tasty appearance however was ultimately the downfall of the dish, as the taste really didn’t live up to expectations. The beans were a little too hard for my liking, and seemed quite under seasoned as they were surprisingly bland. Similarly, the hash brown looked tasty with the wholegrain mustard and parsley running through it, but it didn’t have much taste to it and was a bit stodgy in texture. Luckily the eggs were cooked well with a runny yolk, and the bread was quite nice too. The mushrooms were the saving grace of the meal – a generous serving, packed with flavour, and not overly oily.

We also ordered two long blacks, which came out before our meals. The coffees had a decent taste and temperature, though mine was totally devoid of any crema. We stayed chatting for some time after finishing our meals and ordered one more coffee each, and this time they were quite watery, so I guess overall the coffees were a little hit and miss.

The service throughout our visit was great. Attentive from the moment we arrived, and very friendly, even when delivering bad news about the lack of breakfast corn cakes and salmon. Sadly however the meals and coffees were disappointing, despite spending over $50 for the two meals and four coffees, and I will not be returning in a hurry. A shame really, I’d have liked to see Messrs Octopus and Crab again.

John Street Cafe
Address: 37 John Street, Cottesloe
Phone: 08 9384 3390
Opening Hours: Daily 7:15am – 5:00pm

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