We decided to have breakfast here due to the location in a pretty part of the Maribyrnong River. We didn't realise until afterwards, that the place is part owned by Gary Mehigan of Channel 10's Masterchef fame. It often intrigues me to see whether people in the public eye can live up to the expectations they so easily impose on others.
The river has lots of activities to interest onlookers. People were exercising dogs, there were runners, rowers and a yoga class was taking place on the opposite bank of the river. A good sized kids' playground adjoins the resto, so it's pretty family friendly. The architecture and unpretentious timber furniture suggest a rustic, australiana surf club, utilitarian boathouse feel and sets up a casual, easygoing atmosphere. It seemed pleasant both inside and out, though we opted for an outside table.
After choosing your food, you order at the counter. The staff were friendly, but our waitress, who was delightful and a little kooky, clearly had had little training and didn't know much about the menu, being unable to answer basic questions about the menu items, how to take an order, how to process a credit card and so on. It was obviously her first day on the job. Her colleagues seemed to find it all very funny and gently teased her, rather than actually offering any help. They were all friendly, casual and pleasant, so it didn't really bother us. I couldn't help thinking they were all very young and could have benefitted from a slightly older person being around, though we never saw one while we were there.
Nevetheless, we were ready to enjoy ourselves. Then, the food came. It was disappointing. One of us ordered a breakfast pizza. The toppings were not very generous and looked like a few kitchen scraps tossed on to the base. I wasn't even tempted to ask for a taste. Another of us ordered "The Lot," which had the usual offerings. She found it all very bland. I ordered a dish which offered hock ham, spinach, tomato and a hash brown. It too, was very bland. The ham was tasteless, as was the spinach. The hash brown had the thinnest crisp exterior and a soggy interior, which just tasted like a wet mashed potato mix. The only flavour came from the tomato, which was a bit like a strong chutney. Sadly for me, I don't like chutney. If the food had lived up to expectations, the prices would have been reasonable. And the casual, even cavalier attitude of the staff would have been part of the fun, instead of retrospectively annoying.
All in all, it was a letdown. I wondered what Gary Mehigan would say to the staff if they were on a TV cooking show. I would consider going back, only for the atmosphere and the river view, but would only order toast and eggs, or toast and jam, in the hope that they can't underdeliver on something so simple.
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