Sunday, September 18, 2005

Batch Espresso, Balaclava

To some they're Polski Ogorki. I call them gherkins. And the frogs call them cornichons. Great with pork rillettes. But who eats 'em for breakfast? Anyone who orders the spinach and potato hash at Batch Espresso, 320 Carlisle Street, Balaclava, Tel +61 3 9530 3550. That's who.

I'd heard the hash was good. But I hadn't realised a stunted pickle would be the star of the show. For once I find myself in complete agreement with the Cheap Eats crew. This dish is a stroke of brunch genius. A must-try if you're a fan of the spud.

As you'd hope from a place that won barista of the year (OK, the owner won the gong, but you know what I mean), the coffee was very good. Not sure if it's better than some of the Genovese around town, but the kiwi-sourced Coffee Supreme was up there.

Other popular menu items include savoury french toast with baked beans (sold out), lemon and blueberry pancakes (looked good), and porridge with brown sugar and cream. The porridge had an optional side of blended apricot and orange, which was another creative touch.

It's lucky the food was so good, because when we first walked in the door, we felt about as welcome as a fart in a space-suit. We were temporarily seated at a table for four, on the proviso that we'd be moved to a two-seater shortly. Then, some 15 minutes later, I asked when we might be moving to our real table, and was told that we could have the four-seater after all. OK, I guess I can take my jacket off now. Thanks.

My other gripe relates to "special" orders... you know, for minor things like illness, allergies, risk of anaphylactic shock, hospital visits, etc. Despite the menu announcing that on weekends "we do not offer variations or changes outside of dietary requirements", what they mean is "we do not offer variations or changes AT ALL." Apparently it was nothing personal. But when the menu implies that variations are possible (ie, where it's a "dietary requirement") and the waitress says "no" (despite telling her you have "dietary requirements") it starts to feel a little personal. Having said all that, the service was otherwise efficient, and it would be going too far to say that the staff were unfriendly.

14/20 "mmm... cornichons"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, here's someone who's covered melbourne breakie more than me! anyway, as for the batch, i think u should give bit higher rating than that. have u tried their omelette? it's pretty good with simply herbs (some mint for a change) or leek with fetta was pretty good, too. they also have kedgeree, if u want something different. and their boiled eggs with soldiers are simple but good, too. i recommend u to go back in early am before 11pm.

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