Saturday, July 16, 2005

Lever & Kowalyk, Williamstown

Here's a fail-safe formula for getting a bad review: make sure you screw up both the service and the food. This powerful combination worked a treat during today's visit to Lever & Kowalyk, 42 Ferguson Street, Williamstown, Tel +61 3 9397 6798. Lured across town by three stars and an egg cup - Cheap Eats code for a top tier breakfast - I was rewarded once again with disappointment.

Where to begin? Let me get the faint praise out of the way first. The venue has a cosy feel with soft lighting and a winter fire to warm things up. The Genovese coffee was very good and my breakfast of scrambled eggs with beans, snags and spinach was OK. I should also say that the woman in charge did an excellent job of dealing with everything that went wrong. But that doesn't change the fact that things went wrong. Very wrong.

Let me start with the big mistakes. Despite being ready to order within 5 minutes of arrival, we ended up waiting a good 45 minutes before our food eventually showed up. At that point, things took a turn for the worse. The Eggs la Mer were more like Eggs le Merde... badly under-poached eggs with a congealed lump of yellow paste melting on top. Last time I checked, hollandaise was a sauce, not a paste. And in this case, the yellow paste seemed to be transforming itself into melted butter and some other mysterious by-product, rather than anything you'd call hollandaise sauce. They even managed to cock up the hash brown... a thin cake of grated spud that was not so much fried as marinated in oil. Suffice it to say, we sent it all back and waited for a replacement serve of badly under-poached eggs... hold the "hollandaise".

It's possible they were short-staffed on the day we visited, but that doesn't excuse the performance of the air-head who did show up for work. Can we have the corner table? Yes. We head for the corner table... No, you can't sit there... But this is the corner table... OK, I suppose you can sit there. I order a coffee... it never arrives. I ask for some HP sauce... 5 minutes later, no answer. Only when I ask someone else does she reappear with a dismissive "we don't have any" before disappearing with no suggested alternative. Do you have a pepper grinder? She points at the dish and says "There's already pepper on it..." OK, we give up.

If I ever came back (which I doubt), I think I'd keep it simple and try the toasted fruit bread with orange cinnamon butter. It's hard to see how anyone could stuff that up.

10/20 "eggs le merde"


Blogger Unknown said...

Agree, L&K can be very hit and miss. As Willi locals, we choose The Pickle Barrel which is a few doors up from L&K away from the water. Would be interested to read your review of it. Love your site by the way! Keep it up!

16/8/06 22:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just come across this site and thought i mite put my two cents worth in. I was never a massive fan of L&K either however i decided to give it another go recently, due largely to cosy fire inside. It was worth the chance! It is now called LKM and is run with new owners and a yummy new menu. I highly recommend the ricotta hotcakes with caramelised banana or macerated strawberries, they are mag- ni-fi- cent! The service was much improved and there was a really nice atmosphere in the place!

12/8/07 18:08  
Blogger Izabela said...

If you want good coffee and good food then check out 'Pludo' 98 Ferguson street.
Has recently re-opened after nearly a year with new owners and I was very impressed.
It's up there with Melbourne's better cafes

1/10/09 18:42  

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