Having survived a very hot and humid night, I decided to sneak out of the house early and treat myself to a quiet breakfast.
Given the temperature, I figured that heading south would be the way to go so I decided to visit Cafe Moka, located in the Dolphin Quay Marina in Mandurah, some 45 minutes south of Perth. I’d had a few good breakfasts there when I stayed in the lovely Seashells Resort a few years ago.
Cafe Moka’s location is quite stunning – those of you struggling through the northern hemisphere winter can be jealous of the view from my table, right next to the white umbrella in the photo above.
I’d already checked out the breakfast menu online, and had my sights set on The Big Breakfast. I was particularly excited at the prospect of the Cumberland sausages, as in my opinion pork is the only meat that belongs in a sausage and I don’t like surprises (or gristle) at breakfast time.
The first thing I noticed was that the menu was different to the one of the website. The Big Breakfast was $1 more (now $22.50), and a couple of the more “cheffy” items were gone, notably the curious “Paw Paw and lime boat served with a fresh mint & red dragon fruit coulis” and the “homemade baked beans”. I was secretly pleased at the removal of the beans – having been born in England, I have a genetic disposition towards baked beans as nature intended them – from a Heinz can. I understand that chefs want to reinvent and improve things, but to me it’s like ordering a Big Mac – I’m under no illusions about what it is, but I know what I’m going to get within certain limits.
Avoiding the temptation to order an ice coffee, I went with my standard breakfast cappuccino. It arrived quickly and looked pretty but was too watery. Thankfully it didn’t taste burnt like so much coffee in Perth seems to. Like I’ve said before, if you want good coffee go to Epic Espresso in West Perth.
My breakfast also arrived quickly, as advertised – mushrooms, tomato, cumberland sausages, bacon, “homemade” bubble & squeak, eggs (poached) with toasted turkish bread and baked beans added as a optional ($4) extra.
As I moved around the plate I was surprisingly disappointed – my beans were cold in places, the sausages weren’t very tasty, the bacon should have been cooked more, one of my egg yolks had been broken before my plate arrived and I didn’t care for the bubble & squeak, what little of it there was. The foccacia toast was an interesting change, although it soaked up a lot of moisture from the eggs and quickly became a soggy mess. Oh, and the butter was rock hard. Why is it so hard for restaurants to serve butter at a spreadable temperature?
Side note: it’s a personal thing, but I don’t like my baked beans and eggs too close together on the plate. I used to think it was just me, and I remember being relieved when I saw Alan Partridge talking about “egg-bean separation“, and his recommendation that a sausage be used as a breakwater between the egg and beans. I’ll talk about this more in a future post.
The second I put my knife and fork down (and I hadn’t even eaten everything), a waitress appeared and whisked my plate away, as if to dispose of the evidence.
Anybody reading my restaurant reviews must think that I’ m fussy and very hard to please, but that’s really not the case (quite the opposite, actually). When it comes to breakfast I will always compare quality & quantity to what I can get elsewhere, and while my experience at Cafe Moka wasn’t exactly bad, I paid over $30 for breakfast and a coffee that I didn’t really enjoy so I won’t be rushing back.