I recently posted about the best places to have coffee on the Coast, and Elk rated a mention (actually Sime raved about their coffee which is rare). Based on this and some great ratings on urbanspoon, we headed there for brekky… hmm…
We sat down and took in the ambience. Elk has been decorated tastefully, almost like you’re sitting in a cafe in Melbourne. It was actually a suitably Melbournesque day too – cool and grey outside. Although I didn’t have my camera we used Sime’s phone to take some shots using his retro camera app (apologies for the quality of the food pics). You can see attention to detail in the flowers on the tables, and the fab Elk print on the bare wall. It’s an industrial looking space with the industrial lighting that is so popular in cafe and restaurant fit outs lately, with warm looking furniture. They also have a living wall (a wall filled with plants) opposite the barista / counter which looks fabulous.
The menu looks amazing, it’s not often I go for brekky on the GC and feel like I can’t decide so it was nice to have to deliberate for a change. We ordered our coffee and brekky. Coffee arrived within 5-10 minutes, and was good. Sime commented that it wasn’t as good as last time he visited but still up to par. He ordered a long black, and I had my usual latte. My latte was served at a good temperature, had a nice leaf pattern in the milk and a good microfoam consistency.
We seemed to wait quite a long time after our coffee for brekky, but didn’t really care as we were enjoying a leisurely morning together. I ordered the Mashed Peas with Zucchini served on sourdough with prosciutto and lemon dill ricotta ($15). When it arrived I was very sorry to find that the peas were tinned… yes, I said tinned, and not mashed. So they were of that greeny yellow colour and quite soft (but not mushy like mushy peas). Also maybe I got the wrong idea but when it said lemon dill ricotta I expected a mixture of these ingredients. What was served is a side of plain ricotta, topped with dill, with a wedge of lemon on the side. So I created my own lemon dill ricotta (tearing the dill into smaller pieces to sprinkle over the dish). What can I say people, I was really let down by this dish. Even frozen peas have a better colour and consistency than tinned, and surely the cost price is comparable? The pluses – the prosciutto was lovely and crispy and the flavours combined well. However I couldn’t really get over the peas, particularly the flavour of tinned vs fresh or frozen. Overall – not impressed.
Sadly neither was Sime. He ordered Potato has with avocado, rocket, hollandaise, poached eggs and bacon ($16). Firstly to the hollandaise – as someone who buys food from wholesalers Sime could immediately see this was pre-bought. In fact, it even comes in a squirt bottle so you can drizzle the sauce (he scraped it to the side of his plate). Yes we’re fussy but when we think Hollandaise, we think made in the kitchen by the chef or cook. Also, whilst we were aware that they use a poacher or microwave poacher, we had forgotten to keep this in mind. So the poached eggs came out with that strange UFO shape. We know it can be hard to get poached eggs right but also know (from our own cafe) that most chefs and cooks can do it. Overall Sime said the highlights of his brekky were the bacon and avocado (a lovely big half an avo). Again, not impressed.
Overall the brekky started off so well – we were super excited about what we were going to eat based on the menu and ambience (and the multiple positive reviews). Also the service was friendly and efficient. Maybe because we felt we were in Melbourne we expected too much? When we handed over our $38 to pay the bill, we both felt pretty disappointed by the whole experience. Yes, we know that a restaurant is only as good as the staff (including kitchen staff) on the day, and we may try again but I’m really not sure. Sigh.
16 Chelsea Avenue (07) 5592 2888