Saturday, March 18, 2006

Dalmatino, Port Melbourne

There's something I've been meaning to rant about for some months now. So here goes... In 2005 (and no doubt in many previous editions), the Good Food Guide had some handy little icons that let you see at a glance if a place was good at something. Good at breakfast? Get an egg cup. Good value? Get a dollar sign. That kind of thing. This year, they decided that was too easy. Far better to bury useful information (like who's good at what) deep in the index, where the punters have to work for it. And so it was, deep in the index, that I discovered a mysterious list called "good breakfast". And on that list was a place called Dalmatino, 280 Bay Street, Port Melbourne, Tel +61 9645 6584. If that's a good breakfast, I'm a Dalmation.

As it happens, the only Dalmation sitting at our table was my Dalmation Breakfast. An over-cooked frisbee omelette with a damp splodge of spinach and some bland beans nested in the middle, and a few shavings of parmesan on top. Match it with under-toasted toast and you have a dish that's equal parts dull and boring. A bit of a dog, really.

We also ordered poached eggs and spinach, with similarly disappointing results. The eggs didn't seem very fresh (they didn't hold their shape), and the toast was soft and soggy.

The service wasn't much better. First, they served eggs and bacon, not eggs and spinach. Then, they took forever to serve the Dalmation Breakfast. Indeed, they had time to replace the bacon with spinach, supply a second piece of toast, and fetch some butter (3 trips to the kitchen) before they managed to deliver my omelette. A problem in kitchen, apparently. No kidding.


About the only good thing is the venue, which is very slick indeed. Dark tables, bentwood chairs, high warehousey ceilings and cool lighting.

Maybe Dalmatino is good for a meaty Croatian-style lunch or dinner (the Good Food Guide certainly thinks so), but breakfast? Perhaps I should have tried the sausages?

10/20 "woof"



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dalmatino consistently gets great reviews from Fairfax writers, but why?

As a Port Melbourne resident, I have given this place a go a number of times, on the urging of friends who have read the reviews. "Wow what a great space!" my friends crow on entry, but at breakfast, at lunch and for dinner, I have received virtually inedible meals on every visit. It leaves a sour taste on everyone's lips by the end of the meal. I can only surmise that they whip the consultant chef out of the freezer when well known food writers appear.

19/3/06 12:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even though i had read Jamie's review earlier, I accidentally ate here last Saturday in the company of a friend just back from NYC. I did try the sausages and they were good. 4 small and juicy sausages. Toast was not warm and the spinach a bit bitter but the tomato sugo (relish to me) was good (altho I had to request it!)

29/3/06 12:49  

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