Last month, The Universal Bar opened their doors at 7am for the first time to introduce their new breakfast cafe. Having previously been tipped off by the manager about the upcoming breakfast bar, I was keen to get down to try it out and see if they have a similar "grab a granny" theme in the morning that is common most weekends. I asked along my good friend, Perth Scenester and altogether bloody thoroughly nice chap, Marc, for what we hoped would be, a decent breakfast and a chance to catch up.
If you're not familiar with The Universal Bar, they go for the American Diner look with booth tables, American Beer and soda signs on the wall and a relaxed atmosphere that has given way in recent years, to the upmarket, wine bar theme so common in Perth these days. On arrival, first impressions were that word hadn't got around that they were open for breakfast, other than scooping up the early risers that were passing by on their way to the city or new offices in Northbridge. However, that did allow the bar staff (who just happened to be the 2 managers) to give us their full attention and the service from start to finish was first class. Attentive and particular to the point of asking how I would like my long black. What do I say to that? "Long and black" was the swift reply.
Bonissimo coffee beans are imported from Peru and Mexico and roasted locally in Perth. It was a decent cup of coffee, a nice crema and a smooth texture sitting in an nice cup with an interesting design. Nothing special but drinkable and just around the corner from my office so I would expect to drink more from time to time. Marc had a Long Mach topped up and agreed that it was nice. Not the best he'd tasted but definately not the worst.
"The proof of the pudding is in the eating". Good service, decent coffee, how does the food measure up? Well... it doesn't. I ordered Eggs Benedict and it wasn't great. Italian bread with wilted spinach (no ham or bacon), a poor attempt at hollonndaise sauce that was so thin you could see through it and some garnish dropped on the top with no love. It didn't taste great but the eggs were soft at least and the bread was decent. The most disturbing part, and I am going to say this quickly in the hope that it doesn't ruin their reputation, wasthecockroachclimbingoverthetableasweate. There, I said it. I dropped the 'C-Bomb'. I've fulfilled my civic duty and reported the truth in my review. I don't enjoy bagging restaurants and try not to go too far in getting stuck into them (although keep an eye out for my 399 Bar review). However, if I am to do an honest review of bars and restaurants, then these things must be mentioned. I told the manager who was very apologetic and I guess we all know there's not much you can do about it, but it did ruin an otherwise decent experience.
As a new cafe, there are always going to be some teething problems. Situated in an older, used bar that is not renowned for it's cleanliness, you have to expect "situations". So moving forward, as some constructive feedback, I would offer: Keep up the great service. Coffee is decent. Good atmosphere you're creating. Get the cleaners in and work on your hollondaise sauce. Oh, and slap a piece of ham onto the eggs benny, spinach doesn't cut it.
Scores on the doors:
Final Score 27/50
Would I go again?
Dropped in for a coffee yesterday but can't see me eating there again.