Buckling the trend.
First review of the establishment. Please see the far more chirpy review number 2!
The way I see it, I have 30 really good eating years left. That translates to roughly 10,000 breakfasts, 10,000 lunches and 10,000 dinners. This seems like a lot, but my weak stomach is not always going to part-taking of a crumble somewhere fancy 3 times a day. Occasionally, I have to make do with an oatcake and a banana for a meal, and go on my merry way. So the 30,000 eating opportunities becomes only realistically 5,000 – 10,000. And when you consider there are millions of eateries in the world, even 10,00 eating opportunities start to seem like not very much at all.
And I don’t intend on wasting my denture-free years on places that fall below par. Even when they appear to have 94% approval rating on the hallowed Urban Spoon.
Environs is a very pretty establishment in Hobart’s historic and quaint Battery Point. It is set in a lovely and light atmosphere with a gorgeous courtyard out back. It has an interesting lunch and breakfast menu, and contains exotic items such as ‘cottage green’, which apparently should involve an almond crusted sardine.
Unfortunately, this is where the fun stops. Having wandered into there and settled with a (acceptably recent) copy of Australian Vogue and high expectations, I ordered a tall Cappuccino (after being advised that they did not have my favourite : the lovely and cream Vitasoy cafe milk) and the lovingly named Cottage Green: poached egg on rocket and almond crusted sardines with hash.
Having read the Kate Winsley interview and perved at couture gowns, this arrived on my table outside:
Looks promising at first… a little low on the creative chocolate sprinkle, perhaps. But here’s the dirty truth: it was just a bad coffee. Weak. Watery. Lukewarm. With sloppy sprinkles. I could feel the barista’s boredom and weariness in every sip. If food takes on the energy of its creator, the poor sod making this concoction was tired, blaze and just feeling at odds with everything. Including the frother.
Hoping to be uplifted by the very exciting promise of almond crusted sardines, I settled back into my fashionable pursuit and gowns’ research, gently salivating.
The magical door of the cafe squeaked open once again and once more I am all sweet anticipation…. only to find this:
What happened here? Where are the almonds? Where is the piece de la resistence of the entire composition? There is not a nut in sight on this whole crime scene. And what’s with the yellow stripe across? Did the chef go “Hmm, I think what this whole disaster needs is a snail trail of bearnaise sauce”. It looks terrible.
And then the unspeakable happened. I sliced through the magical egg, awaiting the sexy ooze to flow onto the tender, anticipating rocket and mingle lovingly with the hash and the piece of sardine meat I managed to liberate from underneath its fried blanket. And what happened?
My knife hit the inside of an egg as hard as the soul of the chef that made it. It was the unspeakable crime. An overcooked poached egg!
Reeling from shock and disappointment, I did not even have the time to capture this in a photo. I ran fast as the wind back inside the cafe and told them the terrible news. The waiter did not meet my eye and did not even acknowledge what I have just told him, clearly immune to my distress. Poking his head back out of the kitchen he told me with a smirk that they would bring me another one.
When they promptly carried my second victim back out onto the courtyard (this time nicely poached) I took the opportunity to ask what was the deal with the almonds. The answer? “That what you see there is the almonds”. – “What – this?” I asked, pointing to the fried batter I had removed from my fishy. “Yes. That’s almond meal”.
Right. What was this? Some kind of Glasgow interpretation of almond crust? The kind where they smother it in oil and flour and deep fry the living wits out of it?
I picked on my rocket and bits of sardine and gulped down chunky potato that was the hash, washing it all down with my milky weak cap.
Inside, the place seemed quite busy as middle-aged Battery Point folk tucked into pasta and veggie pumpkin tasty looking wellingtons. I started to wonder if I merely made the wrong choice and should have stuck with tried and tasted favourites.
But then why leave your home kitchen?
$17.80 lighter of pocket for the privilege of rude service and a hard egg yolk with some fried fish, I made my way to Jackman & McRoss bakeries across the road and delighted in my ‘$6.80 takeaway and delicious beautiful freshly baked baguette with smoked trout, fluffy cream cheese, with red onion relish and went for a wonder down Nanny Goat lane to Sandy Bay, where I bought some candles.
Score: 6/10. Fix up your eggs, coffee and attitude, and please don’t mislead customers on the menu.