Smokin’ D – Beards, Wines and Food.
Since we haven’t updated this in a little while i thought I’d add something on here from our recent NSW tour with our new good bearded buddies, The Beards. We played our first show with them up in Newcastle on a Saturday night not too long ago, on a little stage in a little Irish pub called The Northern Star (do go there if you’re passing through – great pub, great staff). I woke up on Sunday morning a little worse for wear after quite a few too many wines the night before and after checking out half an hour late we decided to wander down the street to get some breakfast.
We walked past a few places, looked at a few menus and kept going until we stumbled across one that we all agreed sounded good. A waiter spotted us eyeing off the menu at the entrance and came out to greet us by telling us they didn’t have enough room to seat a group of our size. (All 7 of us?). Thanks Newcastle, you jerks. I was looking forward to seeing if it was really “The Spot” but I guess now we’ll never know.
We moved along to the next cafe and quickly glanced over the menu outside, we reached a unanimous verdict and were approached almost instantly by a waitress who seated us inside on a long table with bench seating. She quickly ran off to grab us menus and returned ready to take coffee orders to get things rolling. It had been a fairly busy breakfast service by the looks of things so I was fairly impressed by how quickly we had been taken care of.
I ordered a chai latte to start with and quickly added a can of coke to my order as I slowly realised how horribly hungover I was becoming. Everybody else ordered assorted tea or coffee and while they were being made the waitress returned to begin taking our breakfast orders. I ordered Two Eggs and Bacon on Toast. Luke ordered himself a nice Vegie Breaky while Kimba ordered an Omlette, Lach and Dean both tried the Big Breakfast on for size and my girlfriend was simply craving roast tomato and mushrooms on toast, which could be arranged.
While we were waiting for our coffees an older couple sitting next to us started receiving their food. It looked good. I began eavesdropping and heard the guy mention that he ordered some mushrooms along with his breakfast and that they weren’t on the plate. The waitress apologised and was about to return to the kitchen to get him some but he insisted not to worry and that it didn’t matter. He was quickly interrupted by his wife as she informed the girl that it did matter and that they had been waiting for their meal for an hour, it still came out wrong and she wanted her husband to have the damn mushrooms. I found this slightly amusing at first but quickly became worried that I was infact as snooty as this woman. Then I remembered I’m Smokin’ D and that that’s OK.
I’m normally quite skeptical about situations where people complain about the amount of time they have waited for a meal, because in my experience 80% of people who complain about the length of time they have waited for a meal are dishonest or genuinely couldn’t tell you how long they have been waiting. As this woman seemed a little worked up I decided not to pay attention to her and assumed she was exaggerating out of frustration.
Back to our table. A different waiter started bringing over some of our coffees. He was remarkably under-dressed compared to the other staff, wearing a daggy blue faded T shirt and jeans with an apron over the top. Here’s a tip for those of you playing at home: If you’re going to get your kitchen-hand to help run food and drinks to tables, make sure they dress appropriately. Actually… Just don’t. He was soon joined by a different waitress who was quite focused on the coffee she was carrying toward us. Closer inspection revealed she had spilled it all over the saucer. “Umm, a long black? I think? … I think it’s a long black anyway. haha”
Lach immediately commented that I was probably thinking “You think, or you KNOW?”
I am definitely as snooty as the mushroom lady.
Luke reluctantly raises his hand and receives the slightly unappetizing long black.
As the only person yet to receive a coffee I begin looking around at everyone else’s. I notice that 3 of us ordered teas. I also noticed that none of them had their milk served in the same type of jug. This is not a big deal by any means considering we are hungover bastards having breakfast in a café, I just like to think that uniformity is something that should be of importance when serving a group of people. If something is good enough for one of them, it should be good enough for all of them, so don’t give someone a shitty jug when someone at their table gets a nice one filled with the same thing.
I know. Snooty.
A couple of minutes later our original waitress returns to inform me that they only had enough chai syrup left for one chai latte and Kim scored that one. Not that she scored much, it was almost entirely milk. I changed my order to a mocha and glanced outside just in time to see mushroom lady leaving. Her meal was untouched while her husband had finished everything on his plate, including the side dish of mushrooms he later received. He was at the counter paying and after catching the look on his face, obviously slightly embarrassed by his wife, I reminded myself again how much of a jerk I can be when eating out, not getting what I am paying for/expect and getting poor service. Speaking of which, where’s my fucking mocha? I’ve been waiting 45 minutes. I’m not even exaggerating! And apparently neither was Mrs Snooty-Mushroom lady. Anyhow, I figured I’d let it slide and drink my coke, feel sorry for myself and wait for my hangover to subside.
Almost an hour after we ordered our meals started to arrive. Things were going well until shaky coffee girl brings us an extra vegie breaky. Luke is already eating his and he is the only one that ordered one. “Oh… hang on” she says looking confused “one of you ordered it” – We insisted that we only ordered the one and Lachlan informs her that it was two of the big breakfasts rather than two of the vegie breakies. Simple mistake, easily fixed. She returns to the kitchen. I started having flashbacks of a visit to a tiny café in Picton when she returned with the plate, docket in hand.
“No, It says here…” – she got that far. That was all I could take as I raised my voice over hers before she told us that we were wrong. Here’s another tip, kids: If there’s a mix up with an order and the customer is sitting there telling you they ordered something different to what was written by the waitress DO NOT tell them they’re wrong. ESPECIALLY IF YOU DIDN’T TAKE THE ORDER YOURSELF.
Obviously we had caused a little bit of a scene because another lady came over and asked what the problem was. The younger girl quickly disappeared and (I’m assuming she was) the manager quickly had things under control. She apologised for the mix up and returned to the kitchen to organise the replacement. She came back and noticed that myself and my girlfriend were still waiting for our meals and asked what it was that we had ordered. I slipped my coffee order back in there and my girlfriend re-ordered her tomatoes and mushrooms on toast which was met with a surprised expression and then “I’ll arrange to get that done for you” – That’s what they said an hour ago? Are you guys growing the mushrooms on site?
Within 2 minutes I had my mocha, my girlfriend had her Tomatoes and Mushrooms and I had my Bacon and Eggs. What the shit happened? All of a sudden someone in charge gets angry and everyone does everything STRAIGHT AWAY?
I wish she took our orders initially. We would have been on our way to Maitland already and I probably would have had a chai latte. My Mocha was outstanding though. The nicest I’ve ever had. So much so I had to ask what type of coffee it was they used; Segafredo. A beautiful Italian blend. I’ve had a cappuccino of since at a different place and it wasn’t anything special, which indicates the manager here looked after her coffee and her coffee machine… and she knew what she was doing.
Similarly, my breakfast was excellent. Nothing was overcooked. Nothing under seasoned. My girlfriends was the same and from what I heard, everyone else was happy: With a little more organisation this would have been an excellent cafe, which I would visit every day given the opportunity, just for their coffee. Unfortunately, Sunday’s seem to be the day uni students waitress while they’re hungover.
My verdict: Get rid of the driftwood and they’re onto a real winner.
6.5/10 – Even though we waited too long for our meals and had a disagreement with staff and certain aspects of our order were incorrect, they recovered well and we were not let down by the food/coffee/manager.
If anyone is interested, I’ll find out what the place was called and let you know. Otherwise, just enjoy reading what a snobby prick thinks of a cafe when he’s hungover.