April 25, 2010 by doyouwanttostayforbreakfast
Birdman Eating – 238 Gertrude St Fitzroy
Birdman Eating has a great reputation which I am assuming it has earned for good things it did in the past. Because everything at Birdman Eating smacks of a place that built up a great reputation and now expects its customers to feel priviliged for being allowed to eat there.
The last time The Body, Willis and I went out for breakfast it was at Bebida and counts as one of my best breakfast experiences to date. Birdman Eating was one of my worst.
When I got to Birdman Eating it was raining, windy and absolutely freezing outside. It was packed inside and there was a wait for tables so I sat outside and waited for The Body, Willis and a table.
It all started badly when people who had arrived after me started being seated before me. When I finally asked why this was I was told by a very angry waitress that ‘we won’t seat you until all your party is here.’ Three things could have occured to make this a more pleasant interchange:
1. If they had told me this was the system and not leave me sitting there confused
2. If they had asked how long my party was expected to be – the answer to that would have been 5 minutes as one was walking up the street and the other was stuck in traffic
3. The waitress cracking a smile or answering without being patronising, in fact anything to suggest she wasn’t annoyed by my question.
I probably wouldn’t have taken this so badly if it hadn’t been freezing cold and if the rest of our breakfast hadn’t continued along in the same vein.
If you don’t expect good service here you won’t be disappointed. Possibly they were understaffed by we had to go out of our way to flag down a staff member, and then as a bonus you can also receive some additude on the side for free.
To Birdman Eating’s credit the menu is adventurous and you can even try out some black pudding or chilli Kransky if that’s what takes your fancy. Unfortunately the meals that we had won’t have us rushing back for more.
To start my tea, which should be able to be enjoyed throughout the whole breakfast, was very small and came with a thimble sized amount of milk. I had crumpets with Leatherwood Honey which unfortunately were very gluey and were drowned in honey.
The Body had Coconut Quinoa porridge with banana and palm sugar. Whilst it sounds fancy, it misses the mark. The Body found it a little too sweet with not enough texture.
Willis had the Baked Eggs with fennel, tomato and saffron. His take was ‘ambitious but, well, bad.’ Unfortunatley they were undercooked and hadn’t quite brought the mix of flavours together properly.
To give Birdman Eating its due the interior is fantastic, it feels warm even though it’s set out in a traditional cafe style, benches along one side tables down the other. I also enjoyed the birdmen made from wood with feathered wings hanging from the roof alongside vases and beaters with lightglobes inside them. Also using pages from books between bowls and plates was a nice touch.
Unfortunately toward the end they employed my favourite ‘I treat my customers like cattle’ trick by bringing the bill and starting to clear the table before we’d even finished our coffees and teas. And don’t expect to be asked if you’d like another tea or coffee during or at the end of breakfast because we weren’t.
I don’t have an issue with cafes who work on the principle of high turnover if the service is friendly and even though your meal might be quick you can still enjoy it, businesses need to make money. Additionally I don’t mind a bit of attitude from staff if the food, service, atmosphere and everything else is great, who feels like working on a Sunday morning? But Birdman Eating seems to want to have it’s feet both camps, approaching customers with a churn and burn attitude but also serving everything up with a side of attitude and a complete lack of customer service.
It’s a shame because it wouldn’t take much to make Birdman Eating great and deserving of the reputation it has.
And, do we want to stay for breakfast? If you are after a quick in and out meal then Birdman Eating is the place for you. If you are after an ejoyable experience and a chance to catch up with friends then I’d suggest you head down the road to Bebida.
Ratings (out 0f 10):
- Overall 5
- Atmosphere 8
- Service 3
- Food 6
- Coffee 6.5