Jack & Daisy
152b Cumberland Road Pascoe Vale
It was a grey day, unlike the glimmers of beautiful Spring we’d recently been privy to experiencing. I was running late, and was VERY hungry when I got to Jack & Daisy one Thursday LATE morning in September.
Melbourne weather can really put a dampener on your mood.
I waited outside the café for maybe five minutes, pulling silly faces at baby girl in pram, thinking my friend had not yet arrived, when in fact she was waiting in the back room the whole time. I hadn’t gone to venture inside because of the ‘step.’
You see, when one arrives with a pram, and sees a decent step up into an establishment, one does not feel confident. Back when I had gone into the bustling The Red Corner Store, even that place had been confronting, and that was due to the busy-ness of the Saturday morning rather than its front step, which was so minor compared to this one.
Upon learning of her already being in there (“how the hell did she get her pram in there?”) I backed into the store, and thank God a kind soul of a man sitting near the entrance with his kids held the door open for me as I hoisted baby girl in.
When I saw where the back room was, I had to brace myself: accessible, but only via more stairs. After manoeuvring amongst tables, more prams and high chairs, I pulled the pram up with some difficulty, quietly willing the little girl taking her time on the stairs to move the hell out of my way.
Then another little girl appeared, and I smiled sweetly at her, pretending patience, as the waitress coaxed her away and I wondered where in the hell her Mother was.
By the time I got to my friend and her baby girl, I was kind of puffed. The back room we were in was as expected, at the back of the restaurant, and I think the sole purpose of this room is for Mums and their Bubs, as there were plenty of high chairs about. Two long tables spanned the room, and my friend and I with our prams in one corner, easily took up the whole table with our gamut of baby food, accessories and bags. On the other table behind us there were also two women with their kids.
You can take it in one of two ways: either the room is designed to give Mums and Bubs their own space, and a little privacy away from the rest of the diners; or they’re keeping the demanding and space-clustering customers away, and I don’t mean the ones without kids.
Having said that, the Mums and their Bubs were everywhere. As I mentioned, I was practically climbing over prams and high chairs (and annoying kids that wouldn’t move) to get to the back room. If I didn’t know better I would have thought the café catered specially for this breed I’m now part of. Which is great. Kind of. I can kind of only handle my own, plus only three more, maximum, at any one time. So conflicted thoughts there.
I was pretty hungry by the time the food came. I haven’t been out to eat brekkie with baby girl in tow for a while, so I hadn’t realised how HARD it was going to be, with her now super-mobile and all. She was in the high chair, and I tried to entertain her by my giving her my mobile phone to chew on, as I tried to eat:
Daisy’s favourite poached free range eggs, smoked salmon, herbed fetta, avocado salsa & toasted multigrain
Now that’s the description taken from a photo someone posted on urbanspoon, but my meal came a little different. Firstly I had replaced the avocado salsa with mushrooms, because the last time I had avocado I actually thought I was going to vomit all my insides out (true story). I used to love avocado, but alas, avocado does no longer love me. Going by my photo, everything seemed to match the urbanspoon description bar the addition of the relish, which had a tangy sweet flavour to it. And weirdly, I still had green on my plate, so I’m assuming it WAS the avocado that they just forgot to omit. I didn’t try it, because of that whole fear of vomiting my insides. Hmmm. Chef probably should keep to the orders given, wouldn’t you say?
Even though I ate my brekkie over a 45 minute interval (or at least that’s how long it felt), the time taken to eat isn’t a determining factor in my review: what I’m trying to say is, if it’s yum, it’s yum, lukewarm or not. And if it’s weird, well it’s weird… fresh from the kitchen or siting at the table for 45 minutes.
It was like an ‘everything-on-a-plate’ thing. The poached eggs were perfect, and the bread they were on was amazing, but trying to cut it with my knife was almost impossible, despite the crunchy homely-style flavour they possessed. But then there was that green part of the bread I was unsure about that I had to cut out, which I’m just hoping against hope it was some fresh seedy bit that wasn’t toasted in the bread-baking process. I’m not sure. The mushrooms were good, the relish was nice, and the fetta was VERY citrusy – a bit too much for my liking, for cheese. I prefer my cheese creamy. I know that I ordered mushrooms, but even without them, I don’t know how citrusy fetta, avocado salsa and sweet relish goes together. I considered mashing the relish and fetta together, but decided against it because on their own the flavours were SOOO strong.
The smoked salmon was as expected, and perfect with the bread and eggs. Individually everything was good, some things were great; but together, I don’t think it worked.
Coffee came just after my meal. Again I had it a bit too late (the story of my life) but I still enjoyed it. It had a lot of lovely chocolate sprinkling on the froth which I love, and the way freaking cappuccinos should be you tight-arsed barristas elsewhere. My friend’s takeaway coffee came with the number ‘1’ on her cup when she asked for no sugar, and they happily replaced it with another. I know that may be easy to say and kind of expected (uh, pleasing the customer?) but seriously if I told you about my ‘glasshouse’ experience in Docklands when I felt I had to apologise for ordering a weak cappuccino – “is that ok?” – trust me, customer service isn’t HIGH on everyone’s list, as much as it seems a given to the person forking out the $.
Food: 6.5/10. Components were great individually… maybe I should have ordered something of a specific nature, rather than an ‘everything on your plate’ dish that the Daisy’s favourite meal suggests at.
Coffee: 8/10. Choc sprinkles to my liking, thank you.
Ambience: Cosy, relaxed, yet very constant for a grey Spring morning mid-week.
Staff: Attentive and friendly. They were all over us in the back room when we were getting the prams up, and then helping us bring them down over the stairs when we were all done. Which is what you’d expect since they seem to designate Mums in the back room, a back room albeit with stairs… you kind of expect that help, but still it’s very much appreciated when it comes and you don’t have to face the stairs alone.
Hey, here’s an idea… turn the stairs into a ramp. Back room is still accessible, and Mums don’t break into a sweat wondering how in the hell they’ll get in there if no staff are present to help.
Although it took a little while for our menus to arrive, once they were there our lovely waitress was all over it. Sugar wasn’t on our table when the coffee arrived, but fortunately our on-the-mark waitress was and promptly brought some over to me. And it was raw sugar, so I was extra pleased.
People: Mums and Bubs, Mums and Bubs….. um, Mums and Bubs. No, seriously, there was also Mums and Bubs there. And toddlers. Ok enough kidding, when we left I actually noticed there were less Ms & Bs, and quite a few groups of the non-young parent variety (shock horror!), as well as some business-looking folk. The unofficial Mums and Bubs session must have been ending… we were on our way out after all 😉
Price: Mine was $23, I think fair and reasonable for the locality, restaurant reputation and for what I got.
Advice: If you’re a Mum, with a Bub, going with a pram – book ahead, and by God make sure you’re not going into the back room. You don’t need that worry, please, trust me!
Just generally it might be worth booking, seeing as it was fairly busy when I went and it wasn’t even a peak time of day/week.
And get a meal that’s like, just eggs, or just pancakes, or just toast. Don’t get all complicated with your decision.
In a nutshell: I would like to try their other dishes, and try their cappuccino hot next time (my bad not theirs)… but only if it’s a sunny day.
Why you ask? So I don’t have to ‘step’ inside and deal with any stairs.