Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dench Bakers - 109 Scotchmer St, North Fitzroy

Dench was actually a lot smaller and less polished than I imagined. Perhaps because of its reputation in the food review/critique community, or maybe it is credited to their highly professional web page. Nevertheless, it was a nice, clean, bright, airy cafe, with an equal amount of dine-in and take-away patrons.

We were greeted warmly by a young lad from Canada (judging by the accent), who amicably agreed on our self-selected seating, and asked what coffee I would like. Such a good man.

It might have been his first day, as he seemed a little uncertain when I asked for the breakfast menu; after quickly scanning the cafe, he settled on retrieving a menu from the table behind us.

They don't serve Chai latte, so I settled for my fall back - latte, of the skim variety, and Chai tea, which they do serve. My coffee came perfectly presented, almost too pretty to drink. We ordered the poached egg, w smoked salmon, potato rosti with dill mayo and rocket ($15.50), and the breakfast special - corn and zuchinni fritters, w herbed scrambled eggs, avocado salsa, bacon, and spinach.

Our much anticipated meals arrived after a brief wait, and the result was mixed. The poached eggs were runny, although when our order was taken we were given the option of specifying how we'd like our eggs poached, which we forewent. The salmon as a little rubbery, however the potato rosti was excellent. The scrambled eggs were 10/10 - perfect texture, perfect flavour, perfect consistency...just perfect. Avocado salsa was nice but may have suited better with the smoked salmon, fritters were a little disappointing, spinach was boiled and not sauteed, and the bacon - overcooked.

The owner (one of) was nice and engaged in light conversation when we asked for payment preferences, of which we were advised "cash is king". Pastries, cakes, and bread were under popular demand, as with the hot breakfasts.

Food: May stick with its signature treats next time - 7.5/10
Coffee: Upgraded for presentation - 7/10
Service: Prompt, professional & friendly; a true distnction from the likes of babka - 9/10
Value: our meals + drinks came to just over $36 - 7/10
Ambiance: casual and relaxed - 7.5/10

Overall: 38/50
Encore: I hear croissants calling...

1 comment:

  1. I'm pleased you had a great time at Dench. Not so I. Food was fine, but the service was so appalling that I won't bother darkening its doors again.

    First, there was a long wait in the queue. This I can cope with, it's part and parcel of inner city decent places. The woman behind the counter seemed more intent on serving people who came in after me, who were her favoured customers. Finally, I ordered my small take away (after over 15 minutes in the queue), and the change was deposited directly into the tip jar.

    I live in the area, and chatting with some of the locals, this experience is far from unique.

    Service with a snarl, and that's being nice.