There are a lot of these coffee-shop-type establishments around these days, in reality really daytime restaurants, offering breakfasts, lunches, light meals, snacks and of course, teas, coffees and cakes. By and large, though, most are tending to have rather a “sameness” about them, and are pretty average. Not that there is anything wrong with “quite good” or “adequate” but very few of these places really shine.
On this fine spring day I wandered in before lunch and had a very relaxed and prolonged repast on the verandah, watching the hustle and bustle of patrons and staff. I pretty much sat myself down and attracted the attention of a waiter… I noticed that many of the diners that followed had to do the same — the service was the main area that I felt let them down. Having rushed around the Avondale shops I was in need of something to cool me down so started at the back of the menu with a fresh fruit smoothie, banana being the one available today. There were all the usual suspects; cool drinks, chilled juices, milk shakes, mineral floats, iced Milo, etc., enough to keep anyone happy. Dishes ranged from the main menu with steaks, chicken, chicken curry and also prawns, to salads, side dishes, toasted sandwiches, burgers, a kiddies menu and various other choices, certainly enough to choose from.
I thought I would try the Portuguese peri-peri chicken with chips. The coating sauce was good but I should have asked for an extra bowl on the side, as I later noticed others had done, because this was one dry chicken; possibly it had been force-marched across the Kalahari to get to the table but it badly needed something to help the last part its journey! Here again the service was tardy as I hadn’t been offered anything since finishing my smoothie some time ago and I eventually had to accost a passing waiter to get a second drink.
Now I was able to sit back and observe everyone’s comings and goings. My table had been cleared but there was no sign that I was going to be asked if I wanted anything else. . . no problem, I wasn’t in a hurry. Considerable table re-arranging was going on nearby as members of a large group arrived a few at a time; more tables needed, where to put them, more chairs, who wanted what, “hey waiter, what about our drinks?, what about our food?, bring the others later!”, on and on as another waiter joined the fray. Quite an exhausting job but the waiters were managing — the trouble was, that I wasn’t getting anywhere fast so had to waylay my waiter to order a slice of black forest cake and a cappuccino. There were various teas and coffees and hot chocolate related drinks on offer, some sounding interesting, but my cappuccino was weak and certainly more a latte and the cake, suffering from a hiatus since the last slice had been cut from it — rather dried out on the outside. If I had only popped in for a coffee and cake I would have been rather disappointed.
Getting the bill took absolutely ages and I think my poor waiter had forgotten about it in dealing with the large table, so I eventually had to grab him in passing to ask again. So, it was only an OK lunch and I’m afraid that Sopranos was not one of the shiners.
Deluxe Coffee Shop
Expect to spend US$6 to US$30 per head
6 Argyle Road, Avondale.