Sunday, August 26, 2007

Gingerlee, Brunswick East

Whatever you do, don't make the mistake of typing "Ginger Lee" into Google during work hours. Or, worse, school hours. Because you may stumble across a clip from "Stuffin Young Muffins 5", which... how do I put this... is not a cooking video. But don't worry. There are no muffins on the breakfast menu at Gingerlee, 117 Lygon Street, Brunswick East, Tel +61 3 9380 4430. You can, however, "check display for daily tarts".


I'm not really a tart man, so I went with poached eggs, shaved ham, roasted tomato, spicy pork and fennel sausage, shallot jam and rocket (lots of rocket). The eggs were very good, and, even better, served on toasted Dench sourdough. But the pork sausage was the star of the show. Worth the $16.50 price tag.

By all accounts, the rest of the menu is equally good. Ange has already raved about the Syrian style French toast with orange blossom syrup, honey labne, stewed rhubarb and pistachios (mmmm... pistachios). The Veggies have raved about the poached eggs with "slow braised" mushrooms, avocado, lemon and persian feta. And I quite liked the sound of the gluten free toasted macadamia muesli with kiwi, banana and honey cinnamon yoghurt.

Gingerlee is also a very stylish venue, with concrete floors, high ceilings, black tables and nice brown bentwood chairs. The syndicate organic free trade coffee was very good, too.

Originally I gave this place the benefit of the doubt and scored it 18/20. But in light of all the comments I'm downgrading to 16/20.

16/20 "food porn"

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

we went to this place a few months ago and walked out after they wouldn't make any changes to the menu(ie changing eggs from poached to fried) not even to do a simple scrambled eggs with bacon(not everyone is into the whole adventurous thing).I think its a bit ridiculous,(as a chef myself),after all,you have to keep all your customers happy.All i can say is, when you are with people who are more simple eaters avoid this place!!!

28/8/07 08:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As a chef yourself" you should understand the time and care that goes into putting a menu together,asking to make complete changes to dishes is just plain boring,if there is a dish you'd like to try but theres something in it your not keen on,tough tits!It is part of the whole package
When you go out you do so to try something that you simply wouldnt or couldnt cook at home,if you want your fried eggs so bad to walk out of a place after you have been seated you should have stayed at home

29/8/07 10:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually i wasnt talking about myself, it was someone we were WITH.
Judging from your comments,you have no idea about hospitality in the true sense of the word, which involves looking after ALL your customers needs.I wasn't talking about chganging THE WHOLE MENU either,just the eggs. I really dont think thats too much to ask of a kitchen or indeed a good chef who cares about their customers (i do it all the time).You sound very defensive, from Gingerlee are you????

29/8/07 15:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have found Gingerlee to be consistently unfriendly. I live locally and have been there often, but they don't get any friendlier. ok food, but dour reception.

2/9/07 09:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With regard to the above comments about making a request to adjust a dish to fit a customer's requirements, I understand that some dishes take a great deal of thought and rely on the perfect composition of elements for the ultimate effect. However, breakfast, like grill work, is usually the domain of Short Order Cooks in hospitality, and lends itself to high turnover and variation in presentation of stock standard basics dishes.

If the venue and the customer are incompatible, the best option is for the customer to leave in order to find an establishment that better suits their saves a lot of grief all round - no?

3/9/07 11:23  
Blogger h said...

Why do we expect to be allowed to alter a breakfast menu to include a little from this dish and a little from that one when if at dinner we would be far more hesitant in asking for the mash (usually served with the cutlets) to accompany the steak (instead of veg) and topped with the sauce that goes on the fish?

i love gingerlee, food and service - and i hate to admit it, but often go back instead of trying some place new because they have a particularly cute waiter there. Complete package you might say!

Just wanted to ask if you have tried Flow on Victoria street across from Virtoria Gardens in Abbotsford? I've been there a few times and always loved it. Slightly unusual menu, fantastic 'others' and who doesn't love buttered soldiers with their eggs? Always wondered about the 'bowl of caffè latte and caramelized sourdough' - hmmm...

3/9/07 13:54  
Blogger hiltonheadpopcorn said...

Love the sausage? Excellent! Can't go wrong with a good pork and fennel. And enough about the menu changes. If they don't want to change it, they don't have to. You don't want to eat there, you don't have to.

Hilton Head Popcorn Co.

4/9/07 12:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd have to advise against the Syrian style french toast. My 'toast' was a baguette, and I found myself eating more crust than french-toasty goodness. Also, the 'labna' had a remarkable resemblance to King Island Honey and Cinnammon Yoghurt, which I saw carted past me minutes before my breakfast was delivered. Yeah, I know labna is drained yoghurt, but still...Otherwise, pleasant enough place. My companion gave thumbs up to his sausage.

8/9/07 15:19  
Blogger Ms Chops said...

I think 18/20 is off the mark. I went there this morning and we tried the Morroccan bean tagine, which was ok but not exceptional. The shaksouka (Israeli egg dish)was much better but everything was served lukewarm, and the service was slow and unfriendly. I am also of the opinion that minor changes to breakfast dishes should be accomodated where possible - it is not that tricky to swap from fried eggs to poached. I'd give Gingerlee more like 15/20.

9/9/07 15:53  
Blogger Hannah said...

Such dissent!

When can I go?! ;D

9/9/07 22:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep,just another try-hard place with the food sounding amazing on paper but pretty sad on the plate. Mutton dressed as lamb perhaps?????
A few fancy foreign words on the menu a good dish does not make!!
I also think the scores sometimes are a bit off the mark.............

10/9/07 08:57  
Blogger Hannah said...

It's not a democracy. You're a visitor at a blog, reading somebody else's reviews of places he's eaten. He can score however he likes and according to his tastes! Such is the prerogative of the critic =D

11/9/07 12:15  
Blogger Jamie Wodetzki said...

When a cafe shares its name with a porn star it's bound to generate a bit of heat ;-)

Re the score, I am the first to admit that one man's experience (ie, my own) is bound to have a margin of error of about 2. In this case, I am inclined to drop the service down to 1 point (on the basis of the "no changes to the menu" rule). So that would bring them back to 17/20.

The only other place I could ping them a point is "other food", for which I was guided by other bloggers' rave reviews (eg, Ange's comments on the french toast).

So... at worst, this place is a 16/20, and worth going back to IMHO.

11/9/07 13:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Been to Gingerlee twice. Once as a couple, second time with friends. Didn't find the service to be unfriendly on the first occasion, but found them quite 'humorless' on the second. I agree that changing eggs from poached to fried should not be a big deal for an establishment. I'm not changing the menu, I'm not asking for anything extra, just want my eggs fried instead of poached. The waitress told us we could subtract from, but not add to the dishes on the menu. I would call this hostility, not hospitality! For this reason, we won't and haven't been back.

12/9/07 14:14  
Blogger Ciavarella said...

Definitely love the food, have no major problem with the no changes to the menu - if you are cooking and have a routine, its your choice to allow customers to change it or not- it is good thing they are upfront about it.

BUT the staff were definitely shite -couldn't give two shits about us, no acknowledgment entering or leaving, no wipedown of table, banged down the coffees, abrupt, coffees spilling into the saucer, - I'm sure we have all had this at places we like but from all the negative feedback it seems to be the culture there ALREADY!

You can't be too cool for school when you are the new kid on the block, go to Rays or Minor Place if you want Brunswick-laidback without being rude.

15/9/07 00:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think theres absolutely no excuse for rude/bad service. Theres nothing worse (except perhaps bad food). The two go hand in hand, and i can't believe how many good places are let down by it. People like that shouldn't be in the hospitality industry in the first place, its downright insulting!

18/9/07 13:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it's a dish made with poached eggs, why would you ask them to fry the eggs instead?? You wouldn't walk into an restaurant and demand your steak tartare be served as a grilled rib eye fillet, if the dish only works with poached eggs, then why would the chef send it out with fried eggs? Jamie - I have to disagree with you on this point. I don't see why a cook can't present a dish as they want it, poached or not.

Always keeping all your customers happy is sure way to send your business down the drain. How they make it at home ("I like my coffee scotching hot") is not always the way a chef would want to see it done, for various reasons.

Had the chef come out and explained exactly why he/she wouldn't alter the menu, would you still deduct a point in your book?

Just a curious breakfast-lover's point of view anyway..


5/10/07 03:22  
Blogger Mike Robertson said...

I tried Gingerlee on Sunday 14/10/07 and found it to be really, really good.

I had the same as Jamie and found it to be divine, and the mrs ahd the Israeli Tomato Egg thing that was equally wonderful - I also loved the pork sausage.

The service was great and attentive, the 4 coffees we had went down a treat.

Would reccommend but may not go back as I thought the breakfast menu was a tad limited..

Agree with the rating tho Jamie

15/10/07 14:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Card or EFTPOS and they charge extra for skinny milk in coffee!? Its an average place.

I think they are there to catch the overflow when Small Block is full

18/10/07 22:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not letting you change how the eggs are cooked is unprofessional. I've never been to a restaurant where the chef has said, sorry we only serve our steaks 'well done', and you can't request how it is cooked. Likewise with eggs. Good to know so I can avoid this place.

11/11/07 08:03  
Blogger Unknown said...

If Gingerlee were half as good as they think they are it would be worth putting up with the inconsistent quality of the food and service. Sadly this is not the case and whilst an arrogant confidence in your own food is one aspect of hospitality you must be sure that it deserves it. I have given GL a few tries wanting it to be good (as it is just around the corner for me), however rude staff and overpriced grub mean I won't be giving it another chance.

27/6/08 13:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The chick that works at gingerlee is a cranky cow. I dont know how she hasnt been given the boot.
I will not return to Gingerlee because of her. I have also spoken to a lot of other people who have stopped going to gingerlee because of this grumpy biatch

15/1/09 16:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you guys are crazy

i live around the corner and can say the following

GREAT food
the best coffee in the area
reasonable coffee
good room

hey chef boy - its not as though the SIMPLE eaters cant be served everywhere else

their poached eggs are superb and they even helped me perfect my poaching technique

this place needsto be re-revied

13/4/09 08:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually there were muffins on the blackboard menu today. But the rest (of the menu) is familiar from these accounts over a few years.

For what it's worth, the poached eggs with pork and fennel sausage are still very good. Flying solo I didn't get to check other things (so I'll save any grumbles about the menu describing Shakshouka as an "Israeli" dish for another day).

The coffee was good, service was also fine, and considerably better than my last foray to Ray.

And it looked as though Small Block wasn't quite as busy as Gingerlee. Over and out.

6/6/09 14:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Gingerlee. Consistently brilliant coffee and mad tunes. I've never had bad service and I love the whole rock vibe. Only thing is with the 'no alterations' that leaves two choices for a non egg eater- the baked beans or the syrian toast.

25/6/09 13:20  
Blogger putuguq said...

I prefer to think of Gingerlee as my home away from home, I love their egg and bacon ciabata and their coffee and their friendly staff and the ambience. These guys always look after me and my friends call it their office. Im really happy people are bagging the place cos Im a local and dont want a whole lot of blow ins spoiling my experience

10/11/09 20:04  
Blogger putuguq said...

I prefer to think of Gingerlee as my home away from home, I love their egg and bacon ciabata and their coffee and their friendly staff and the ambience. These guys always look after me and my friends call it their office. Im really happy people are bagging the place cos Im a local and dont want a whole lot of blow ins spoiling my experience

10/11/09 20:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The French toast with honey labne is devine - perfect when one requires a major sugar hit. The coffee is great, the tea is great. I quite like the style of service - it's not overly friendly or in-your-face.

26/3/11 20:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to visit this place regularly for its excellent coffee. Sadly the repeated unwelcoming and surly manner made me look elsewhere along Lygon Street. I don't need pretentious behaviour served with my latte.

26/11/11 22:06  
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