Every week, I try to make it a point to try a different eatery. On the Saturday of my birthday weekend, I suggested we go to The Beaufort Street Merchant after hearing so many people rave about this (actually, I kept seeing this place pop up on my Facebook feed … so there’s got to be a reason for that right?)
I liked the feel of the place. It definitely offers something a little different from the modern, contemporary fittings of the other Perth diners. There’s a mix of rustic charm and luxury to the space.
We were served by an Italian waitress which I am perfectly fine with, having frequented a few authentic Italian restaurants (okay, normally just one: Ciao Italia) … but this time, her accent was so thick, I could barely understand anything she said. Also, I’m actually a little hearing impaired – not medically certified but family and friends-approved, most definitely. So I kinda left the ordering to Iylia. In addition, I also felt that she could’ve talked to us in a nicer manner … she had an almost rude, as-a-matter-of-fact tone in her voice. This is one thing I really don’t understand about people working in the service industry. It really irks me when they treat customers (who have not provoked them in any way, I might add) in an unpleasant manner – if you hate your job so much, quit! Go find something else that allows you to sulk all day. Grr!! And I’m saying this from a perspective of someone who’s been in the service industry for a few years, and still am. Well, anyway back to the food …
I actually don’t really like gnocchi so I don’t know why I picked that out of the menu – oh wait, it’s because I’ve heard it was a great dish! Well, to be fair, I don’t eat gnocchis so I can’t really judge it but according to Iylia, it actually kind of sucked. The hand cut chips were people’s recommendation as well … and honestly, I have tasted better.
I tried to like the place, I really did. I mean, it was my birthday weekend … I wanted things to go smoothly! If it weren’t for this cute boy and his mom sitting next to us dreaming up plans on opening a business (he looks all but 9 but sounded so ridiculously sure of himself that it was endearing!) I bet we would’ve scrambled out of the place faster than you can say “Gnocchi!” Okay, okay. I know. I make it sound horrible. I should be nicer … I really liked that metal sieve thing that comes with the chips!
Next came the bill. I knew the place was a little bit more on the pricey point, but I wasn’t expecting to pay about $60 for brunch and two hot drinks! *Gulps* Also, the manager or whoever the person was at the till barely made eye contact with us. Rude.
So in all, we found this place to be pretentious. I wanted to suggest coming back here for dinner because maybe that’s when it shines but Iylia said that The Beaufort Street Merchant is a definite F&L for us (first & last). Pity. It really did look like a nice venue for dinner.
Speaking of pretentious places …
I actually had a little trouble planning for my birthday brunch place only because my birthday fell on a Monday and God knows most restaurants don’t like being open for business on a Monday! It was tricky, to say the least. Also, because Iylia has very odd sleeping hours so he wakes up at a time where the remaining cafes are about to close for the day. I know! Well in any case, I did think it was a brilliant excuse to just head to Marie Antoinette in Cottesloe for some waffles or crepes since we were going to have a proper dinner afterwards. According to their Facebook page and Urbanspoon (I read Urbanspoon like my life depended on it), they’re open 7 days a week – YIPPEE! So we travelled about 30 mins to get to Cottesloe … only to find out … they were closed! WHAT! No way! You mean I can’t trust Urbanspoon anymore!?
So we thought, Ah heck it. It’s not meant to be! Let’s just go fill up our empty stomachs. Napoleon Street over in Cottesloe is abundant with cafes, so that was a good thing! We walked right up to the end of the street … I saw the monochromatic, French villa-inspired interiors and said to Iylia, “Okay, let’s eat here.” So Vans Cafe it was!
A cafe in an old money suburb … I guess I really should have seen it coming – to be served by a grumpy waitress. She is an American, and boy was she unhappy about something! Sometimes I can’t help but wonder, is it cause we’re Asians? As much as I’d like to think that people are becoming more accepting of racial differences, discrimination actually still holds true. I’ve learnt to accept it, of course, having lived in a Western dominated country for 5 years now … but you know, we’re still customers after all. And I promise you, I’m a really nice one … unless I feel you’ve really crossed the line (like this one time, a ticketing counter girl spoke to my mom in a way that I thought was unacceptable when my mom had been nothing but cooperative, and I actually raised my voice at her! Everyone around me got quiet and probably thought what devil of a creature managed to possess into me…). That said, service-wise, bleh. Though I fully understand that waiters are humans too, and humans have feelings. She might be having a bad day … and had too much on her plate (or vice versa, because you know, she’s a waitress! Ha ha.)
Food was ordinary, nothing special. Iylia had ordered the Stir Fry Asian Greens because on that day he had this idea of experimenting what it’ll be like to turn vegetarian (crazily short-lived, of course) … and he wanted to know what was their interpretation of this dish. It was not too bad, honestly. Pretty good, if I may say so myself – though a dash of chilli would have made it perfect. The onion rings were alll right~ as well. Without trying to sound pompous, again I’ve honestly had better. Maybe it’s because I found it a tad too oily for my liking.
The one thing that reigned champion for me at Vans though was the coffee! Ahh, thank goodness! I order Flat White everywhere I go – with “2 sugar” if it’s a regular cup. Hey! No judging. On this particular visit, I was only given 1 packet of sugar and because the waitress already had her sour face on I didn’t want to irk her any more by asking for an extra packet of sugar. Too menial. So I had just 1 sugar (miracle, by my standards) in my regular cup of Flat White. And you know what, it was still really good! I was amazed!! I shared this with Iylia because he knows how I always have to have (at least, oops) 2 packets of sugar! So yes, all is not loss! The coffee is pretty awesome! I’ll go back just to have my cup of flat white if I’m in that area.
Vans Sidewalk Cafe
1 Napolean Street, Cottesloe WA 6011
Daily, 7am – 10pm
This wraps up my first of 2 posts on the places I went to over my birthday weekend! I know it’s not your typical food review, but I just thought of sharing my experiences with you. Hope you’ve gained something from this, and if you had a similar experience or disagree with anything I’ve said, let me know! I might just be convinced to give it another try (: