Pearl: about 8 months later

Pearl restaurant + bar

631-633 Church Street

Richmond 3121

Ph: 9421 4599

This post has become one of those ones that sit in your draft folder for months and months and months, never being completed for some reason, sitting there watching as other, newer posts are put up before it. As it has been such a long time since I first went to Pearl and took these photos my descriptions of each dish may not be in a lot of depth; however what I do remember distinctly is being blown away by the tastes, the thought and the care that went into each dish. I’ve been back twice since that first visit in May 2010 and I would have to say that Pearl is right up there in my list of favourite places.

Coddled egg toasty with Hervey Bay scallops and Yarra Valley salmon caviar, snipped chives and whole egg mayonnaise (approx $20)

One of Pearl’s ‘famous’ menu items; a beautiful, creamy dish with complex flavours; almost like a tasting plate of different textures and tastes.

‘My tartare’ of Hopkins river beef, beetroot shoots and quail egg yolk, soldiers (22.5)

Not one person on our table of six had tried steak tartare, and we decided this would be a good place to try it. I’m so glad we did, and that my first tartare experience was an excellent one, with the freshest meat, balanced flavours and great texture when combined with the toast soldiers.

Wagyu minute steak, buttered spinach and Portobello mushrooms, spicy tomato jam and onion rings (32.5)

Roasted red duck curry, crisped fried egg, shallots, mint, sweet fish sauce and coconut rice (38.5)

An incredibly impressive dish not only in terms of the flavour and the presentation, but the thought that has gone into it and the way it is presented to you. Our waiter placed an empty bowl in front of me and explained how to tackle the dish: combine the rich, coconut-y rice and the red duck in the bowl. It’s then up to you how you want to use your crisped fried egg; I was informed that some patrons like to mash the egg into the dish. I enjoyed it simply sliced and mixed through, so the crispness of the white was still there. Once you’ve assembled your bowl, you can season to taste, with chili, lime, fish sauce, mint and red onion, and if it all gets a bit overwhelming, there’s a stick of wombok to cleanse the palate. I loved the concept; the idea of assembling your own dish gives you a special feeling, a kind of ownership of it, because you get to make it just how you like it. I also love it for the way it is designed to stimulate all your senses: there’s hot and cold; sour, spicy, sweet, bitter; very soft and very crunchy textures, and then there’s that thoughtfulness in including the stick of wombok.

Steamed broccolini with oyster sauce and sesame ($11)

Even the greens here are incredible.

One side seared sashimi grade yellow fin tuna, sweet smoked fish salad with sunflower shoots, galangal and kaffir lime, young coconut and lemon oil (46.5)

Freshly shucked Clair de Lune natural oysters with nam jim of tamarind and lime granita (4.5 each)

Quail san choi bao with lup cheong, water chestnuts and longans, served with crisp iceberg lettuce cups (29.5)

Boned whole garfish, wrapped in rice paper and hot mint, stuffed with spicy pork and sticky rice, mam nem with crushed pineapple and chilli (32.5)

Leaf salad with organic balsamic and Cobram Estate extra virgin olive oil ($11)

Hand cut chips with mushroom and garlic salt ($11)

I’ve sampled a fair percentage of Pearl’s menu and I just want to go back for more. I want to go to Mud Crab Night and I want to spend a lazy Sunday morning having brunch at Pearl Cafe. I’ve enjoyed some beautiful bottles of wine here, and there’s not one dish on the menu that is unpleasant or bland. Service is always spot on; staff are polite and formal, but not stuffy or uptight. They have personalities. And Pearl not only has beautiful, thoughtful food and competent bar staff, the venue itself is part of what makes the experience so good: it’s sexy and dark and, despite the formally dressed, professional wait staff and sleek interior there’s a very relaxed feel.

Larissa Dubeki, in her November 2009 Epicure review, recommended: “Go for the pearl meat and the red duck curry, if you’ve never been before. But go again (and again) for the rest.” I completely agree; there are a selection of dishes you must try if you only have the chance to go once, but the creativity and thought that goes into the flavours, textures and overall experience of the meals will leave you thinking about each dish long after the meal is over.

Pearl on Urbanspoon


A misleading first impression at Bendigo Street Milk Bar

Bendigo Street Milk Bar 

37 Bendigo Street 

Richmond 3121 

Ph: 03 9428 4196 





I love discovering cafes in little suburban streets, especially when they’re only a few blocks away from my little suburban street, so it was with great happiness that I stumbled across this “Milk Bar” on the way home from a walk around the Yarra. Sweaty and wearing trackies and runners, I thought I’d come back on the weekend for a relaxing breakfast instead. 




By the time Bf and I got organised to leave the house breakfast had turned into lunch, so we strolled over in the sunshine and opted to sit in air-conditioned comfort inside. Bendigo Street has a small section out the front for outdoor dining, and a few tables for two or four inside, but the focus is on big, communal tables. It was dead inside; Bf and I were the only patrons for our whole visit, apart from a few workers from the Channel 9 studios across the road who came  for a coffee fix. 




First impressions were great. The room is gorgeous; a mix of gourmet products, small shelves stocked with household basics, and a display cabinet at the counter filled with delicious, fresh-looking wraps and rolls. Even cuter is the little bowl of diced lemon slice by the cash register; Bf and I snacked on this while we waited for our meals and it is fantastic. The cashier/barista was very pleasant, and as we sat at our table facing a beautiful open view of Bendigo Street, I was so excited at the prospect of having found a gorgeous little cafe so close to home. 




Please excuse the reflection! 




Bf and I both ordered big strawberry milk shakes. I thought they were fine but Bf thought they were incredibly weak; then again he does like his milkshakes stronger than most.






Club sandwich with chips and salad, $13.90 


After I had talked up club sandwiches to Bf, we were both very disappointed with what arrived. First of all, where was the good old regular bread? I love a turkish, panini style roll but a sandwich was what I was after. Secondly, where were the three layers of bread, one of the key, deliciously high carb features I had told Bf about? I am a traditionalist; I like my club sandwiches stacked three layers high and cut into quarters. Instead of good old mayo, the tough bit of chicken was smothered in sweet chili sauce. It was absolutely drenched and I removed it from the sandwich. I realised, I was now left with some lettuce and bacon, and a bit of tomato. It wasn’t a club sandwich; it was a dodgy BLT. Where was the cheese? More importantly, where was the salad that was advertised as an accompaniment? When I questioned the waitress and pointed out the menu claimed it came with “chips and salad”, she mumbled “oh… it’s like… it’s in the sandwich”. If I knew from the beginning it was a club with chips that would have been fine, but I can’t stand misleading advertisements. 


What a shame. Such promise at first; the food and the waitress just let it down. I haven’t totally given up on this little cafe – although Bf has – I think I’ll be back to try the breakfast menu. It’s basic – all the usuals like eggs Benedict and bircher muesli – but I can’t quite give up on this little local just yet.

An update on Demitri’s Feast

Demitri’s Feast
141 Swan Street
Richmond 3121
Ph: (03) 9428 8659
Reading through the very extensive coverage of Richmond on Eat (Almost) Anything at Least Once, I stumbled across a review of Demitri’s Feast, a cafe whose reviews I am always interested to read as I had such a strange, inconsistent experience there. This is post is a comparison, just for interest’s sake, of two examples of the same dish. Check out Haalo’s experience of Demitri’s, and contrast it with what I was served when I ordered the same item:

The dish that Bf received: apparently the same dish, but presented in an appalling manner, unlike the neat, clean stack Haalo was served, and we assume the kitchen ran out of the lokaniko sausage as there were a few pieces but most of the meat served was bacon. (This was not explained to us at all when the waitress delivered the meal).


Finding Haalo’s post was very interesting for me as I had already observed that Demitri’s delivered a few great dishes, but failed to keep up that same high standard. It’s just incredible to me that the same dish can be served to two customers so differently – one presented quite nicely in a stack and the other, an unappealing mess – within the space of less than a month.

Inconsistent Demitri

Demitri’s Feast
141 Swan Street
Richmond 3121
Ph: 03 9428 8659

“We found out that we won Best Breakfast and we ran, and ran, and ran”.

When mum and I visited Demitri’s Feast on a Thursday morning, we found our waitress’s description of her reaction to the award a little strange, but we liked her nonetheless. It had been two days since Epicure had announced that the Cheap Eats 2010 award for Best Breakfast had been given to this graffitied Greek cafe in Swan Street, and we were indeed enjoying our breakfasts.

The clientele was really interesting. There was a table of two business people who, it seems, the waitress suspected them of visiting in order to steal ideas; there was a young man having a working breakfast by himself; and a grandmother and her three year old granddaughter who, after sitting at the table for a few minutes exclaimed, “Where’s my coffee!?!” The courtyard is tiny, as is the whole cafe, and it’s a really interesting place to (subtly) people-watch.

Poached eggs with ouzo and dill cured salmon and spinach ($15.50)

One of the most amazing serves of salmon I have ever had at a restaurant or cafe; up there with the finest sashimi-grade salmon. It was so fresh, so melt-in-your-mouth, and the dill was the perfect accompaniment. A satisfying, perfectly portioned dish that, unlike many breakfasts, left me feeling full yet light.

Scrambled eggs with goats cheese feta and oregano roasted tomatoes on toast ($13.50)

Normally, I hate scrambled eggs that look like this: folds of egg rather than soft “clouds”, however these eggs were creamy and rich and paired so well with the goat’s feta – a cheese so much more authentically Greek and creamy than anything I’ve ever bought from a supermarket or even a deli.

Our waitress, in clearing our plates, knocked over the vibrant blue glass water bottle that sat on our table, smashing it on the ground and our feet. She managed to recover from that quite well. She was apologetic but confident enough to remain positive and make a joke out of the situation, and as the whole courtyard turned to see what had happened in the corner, the young man packed in tight next to us quipped: “It’s still the Best Breakfast”.

What a difference a weekend can make. I brought Bf to Demitri’s on a Saturday morning. Again, we sat outside in the courtyard (note the little chairs made from old feta tins, above), but this time we waited inside by the coffee machine as staff ignored us and failed to even acknowledge that we were there. When we finally made eye contact with one, we were told “I think there’s a table out the back, go out there”.

To start off with, I was craving a Bloody Mary. When I asked the waitress – the same one who gave such great service to my mum and I on Thursday – if they made them, she barked at me: “No!!”
Alright, I said, fair enough, and she walked off.
A few minutes later, when I decided I wanted an iced coffee, the waitress asked a confusing set of questions about how I wanted my drink prepared. When it came out and I tasted the bitter, almost burnt-tasting coffee I understood why she asked: their iced coffees are prepared in a different way to most cafes and she was concerned that I might not like it. If only she had of actually been clear about her concerns, rather than walking off and saying “Don’t worry about it” when I didn’t understand.

Fried eggs with free range bacon, lokaniko sausage and oven roasted tomatoes ($16)

This was Bf’s dish, and when I told him halfway through his meal that the cafe had won Best Breakfast I think he thought I was joking. His food was just really average, and the presentation was pretty poor.

Omeletta – Greek omelette with lokaniko sausage, potatoes and kefalograviera ($14.50)

My omelette was pretty good – nothing to rave about though. The sausage was quite thick and I think it would have had a more enjoyable texture if it was cut finely.

While we were eating, a young male waiter asked a table to leave the cafe as he had another group waiting to be seated. I understand the importance of table turnover in a busy restaurant – you want to get as many people through as you can. At my work, however, we pre-warn customers of this during busy times – for example, letting customers know that on a packed Friday night, they can only have the table for an hour and a half. If customers know this at the start, they’re usually fine with it. If they find out at the end of the meal, when they’re relaxing for a moment, letting their food settle, and you’re trying to hustle them out the door, it can be an unpleasant end to what might have been an otherwise enjoyable experience.

Bf was absolutely appalled by this place. I left feeling less negative because I had already had a great experience and know what Demitri’s are capable of; it’s just a shame that the floor really can’t cope once it starts to get busy.

All talk?

Rowena Parade Corner Store
44 Rowena Parade
Richmond 3121
Ph: 03 9421 3262

When I think of those tiny little cafes and restaurants one sometimes discovers in Melbourne’s many laneways, those hidden gems treasured by locals, I think of places with happy staff, fabulous food, consistently good coffee. I knew that to some Melbourne foodies, Rowena Parade was one such gem, so when I stumbled across it by accident I was expecting a unique, memorable breakfast experience.


First impressions were good. On a warm morning, the windows were wide open, and tables of what seemed like regular customers almost filled the room. The “cafe/milkbar/continental deli” has a Greek theme, with a huge picture of Santorini on one wall; above the counter, a big sign reads “Mamma’s takeaway”, and cute little messages are found all over the room (above the counter, a blackboard reminding patrons that “For every minute you’re angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness”; beneath a bell, a stern warning to “Under no circumstances ring this bell”).

We found a good selection of basic breakfast and lunch dishes on the menu and specials board, with a few traditional Greek dishes featured.

Kaski, from Neveska in Northern Greece: Roasted red peppers, cooked in tomato reduction, with fresh ricotta, fetta cheese and a hint of chili, served with organic Turkish toast ($8.50)

I considered a BELTAC (bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato, avocado, cheese – Rowena Parade’s super take on the BLT) but decided I was having an “It’s-too-early-for-eggs” morning so instead, my little ramekin of tomato and chili was an excellent start to the day. Yes, the presentation could have been better – the dish was a bit of a mess. But it was creamy and rich with a subtle kick of chili and went well with the Turkish bread.

Two free range eggs on Turkish toast ($7.00) with mushrooms, tomato, avocado ($2.50 each) and bacon ($3.00)

A simple big breakfast, and what a disappointment. Bf, a man who has no chef training and cooks beautiful creamy scrambled eggs at home, is constantly amazed at how often kitchens ruin breakfast. The eggs he was served were a dry, bland, solid lump. The sides consisted of a flavourless half tomato, extremely crisp (in fact, black) bacon (which was cooked to bf’s liking – we both like our bacon very crispy – but we both agreed the kitchen was taking a risk here), the tiniest portion of an average tasting avocado, and some mushrooms which were the only decent thing about the meal. He was also served a warm strawberry milkshake.

Bf was very unsatisfied, and I must say that my expectations of the place were a lot higher. Rowena Parade has so much charm, you would think the service – wait staff had zero personality – and food would match. “Good Things”, reads a heading at the bottom of the menu, above a paragraph explaining that their eggs are free range, their bread is organic, they source local produce wherever possible. But is it all talk? It’s one – very important – thing to source the freshest, best produce you can find. What you do with it is another matter. Rowena Parade is good on paper, but in practice things are very different.

Food court dining

Cafe Krifi
Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre
620 Victoria Street
Ph: 03 9421 6006
Dining in a food court is not something that I find very appealing, but if you work at Vic Gardens or want a bite before you see a movie at Hoyts, Cafe Krifi is probably your best option. It’s one of a few sit down eateries in the shopping centre but is the most “restaurant-like”, with a large open dining room and a spacious outdoor area.

The menu is long, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and everything in between, with gluten free and vegetarian options. There’s pizza, cakes, burgers, salads, and today we came to try out the breakfast menu.

Krifi Big Breakfast ($14.20)

Good crispy hash browns and bacon, and smokey sauteed mushrooms; the bland scrambled eggs, however, were a let down; quite flavourless and boring in texture.

Eggs Florentine with salmon ($16.50)

Krifi’s version of this dish was generous in size and much more filling and satisfying than I thought it would be, and came with a thick stack of fresh salmon and good, rich hollandaise.

Krifi does a great cup of coffee too and Bf enjoyed his huge milkshake. Keep walking past the bain maries and long queues for greasy burgers and chips; the big windows, moody red lights and young, friendly (and good looking) service provides a brief escape from the hordes of Ikea shoppers and gym junkies that dominate the centre.

Cafe Krifi features in the Melbourne Entertainment Book.

Fabulous Fresco service

Fresco Bar and Grill at Amora Hotel Riverwalk
649 Bridge Rd
Richmond 3121
Ph: 03 9246 1200‎
There’s always a risk with hotel restaurants. Sometimes the food is fabulous and the service flawless; other times it seems as though the restaurant was an after thought once the hotel was completed, an extra place within the hotel to make a bit of money rather than providing an excellent hospitality experience. The bf and I decided to check out Fresco, a tiny dining room on the edge of the Yarra whose ambiance loses points with cheap bistro-style chairs and candle holders from the local $2 shop, but whose staff make up for it with almost faultless service.
Grilled bruschetta, pesto, Roma tomato, red onion and cheese ($12)
A fairly small serving size for $12, but nonetheless strong, fresh flavours and great with the accompanying rocket and balsamic.

Turkish bread with a trio of dips – shown clockwise from top is carrot and curry; avocado; and hummus ($12).

In Matt Preston’s new book, Cravat-A-Licious (Random House), Preston warns against ordering “a trio of” anything, in particular the trio of dips, suggesting that “their presence can be a sign that the role of the chef in that establishment has been reduced to peeling the foil off tubs and waiting for the microwave to go ‘ping’.” Indeed, the dips were nice enough but the carrot and curry tasted and looked more like eggplant, and the avocado reminded me of those pale, bland processed dips from the supermarket.

Katsu king prawns with sesame salad and sweet chili ($15.50).

Bf asked if this entree dish could be ordered in a main size; the waitress told us it could. When it arrived we thought it was a rather small main – “Imagine how small the entree must be”, quipped Bf. When the bill came and we saw we’d only been charged for the entree size we were informed that the other waitress was new, and didn’t yet know that the size of the dishes could not be changed. To apologise for the mistake, we were given the more expensive meal for free when we presented our entertainment card.

“Fresco char-grill” – choose from sirloin or eye fillet beef, chicken breast or salmon fillet. All char-grills are served with crushed chat potato, spring onion and parmesan cake, and a choice of wild mushroom ragu and porchini powder, or peppercorn cream sauce with rock salted roasted Roma tomato.

Shown here is the black Angus sirloin of beef with peppercorn cream sauce ($31.95)

The sirloin was nice, but a little more medium than medium rare – it seems to be the case that at a lot of restaurants you have to ask for your meat to be more rare than you actually want it. The tomatoes were fine but hardly rock salted, and reminded me of the kind of tomatoes you’d quickly whip up in the fry pan for breakfast. Probably the highlight was the potato, spring onion and parmesan cake: light and fluffy with a slightly crispy outer, great for soaking up the rich jus from the sirloin.
The value here is good, but not great – what makes it worth visiting is the service. On the night, there were about four waitresses on the floor, but it was one young girl in particular who was exceptional and was clearly holding the whole team up. She was attentive but never annoying, and when she saw my camera she asked if she could take a photo of Bf and I with it. We left the restaurant feeling happy and relaxed and a lot of that came down to this waitress who was bubbly and always smiling, and for her, nothing was too much trouble.

You won’t be blown away by your meal, but if you’re looking for a contemporary restaurant that’s reasonably priced – especially if you have an Entertainment card – expect to enjoy good food and near flawless service.

Holy Shuck!

Royal Oak Hotel
527 Bridge Road
Ph: 03 9428 4200

Walking along to work the other day, my jaw literally dropped when I saw this sign. $1 oysters for the whole month! I was so excited; one of my favourite foods for only a dollar at the local. Then I remembered that I was standing outside the Royal Oak, a TAB pub whose largest space is taken up by pokies and a sports area; a place I had never eaten at before and probably wouldn’t have tried if it weren’t for the oyster special.

Natural oysters, $1 each. Kilpatrick, $1.50 each.

A fresh, salty natural oyster normally overwhelms my palate with its refreshing brine and soft, smooth texture. A perfect oyster leaves me delaying eating anything else for as long as possible to savour that amazing taste. Last night, I left with a pleasant taste in my mouth, but that’s all it was; the oysters were just “nice”. The taste was more fishy than fresh and salty, and presentation could have been better; rather than the usual rock salt or ice, the oysters came out on a bed of browning iceberg lettuce.

I’ve often walked past this pub and looked in at the rows of elderly people sitting at the slot machines, and it seemed like little else was going on in there. Indeed, when J and I went, the only people in the bistro were ourselves and a family of four. “We have our nights”, said the waitress, especially when the footy’s on. For anyone who has spent an afternoon or evening at the MCG I can understand the appeal of this pub; cheap beer and the constantly changing specials, including steak nights and parma nights, make the Royal Oak seem like a good option for a quick, cheap feed. Service is surprisingly young and friendly, too.

These oysters are a bargain but they’re not worth crossing town for. If you’re a local, stick to the kilpatrick variety; the rich, tangy sauce and crispy bacon helps to distract from the mediocre quality of the oyster.

Famous, authentic and "palate tingling" food

Gurkha’s Cafe
Bridge Road
Richmond 3121
Ph: 03 9425 9007

At 8pm on a Monday night, J and I walked into the Bridge Road outlet of the Gurkha’s chain to find it buzzing with conversation and laughter from tables full of young diners. On a cold, rainy evening when many of the other restaurants along Bridge Road were packing up for the night, the food and atmosphere at Gurkha’s was the perfect refuge.

We were greeted with a smile and a bowl of crunchy pappadums and relish. A bottle of water sat on our table, but glasses weren’t delivered until after our meals had been brought out. Service here is friendly and helpful, but staff are young and their focus is getting the food out to the tables, rather than taking note of what else is happening on the floor – you might have to literally grab them to get their attention.

Dal Bhat Masu – Nepali style platter, rice or bread with your choice of meat curry ($16.90).

I chose to have bread with my meal, and as I was struggling to choose which meat I wanted the waitress informed me I was also allowed to have fish. She couldn’t tell me the name of the sauce my fish was coming in, but described it as a spicy, creamy, almost sweet sauce. This was pretty spot on, the sauce was deliciously rich and tomatoey. The taste of the fish was good but the skin was left on, and I didn’t really enjoy chewing the bumpy, flaky scales.

Dal Bhat – Nepali style platter, rice or bread with lentil and vegetable curry ($15.90).

J had the vegetarian version – the same dish as the one I had with a variation on the curry. The other dishes accompanying the curries were dhal and a stir fry of Asian greens in a salty clear sauce. We both felt that the platter was a good way to sample Nepalese cuisine, allowing us to try a little of everything. Each dish was delicious, the serving of bread was generous, and the meal was great value for money. In fact everything on the menu is reasonably priced, with most mains around $13.

Prince Champagne: Vodka, strawberry liqueur and chilled champagne ($6.90)
The champagne cocktail was nice enough but I could barely taste the liqueur or vodka; it really just tasted like champagne. Still, I look forward to visiting again to sample their good list of cocktails, a bargain at $7.90 each.

Gurkha’s Bridge Road is open for dinner from 5pm-11pm, 7 nights a week. The Gurkha’s chain can also be found in Prahran, Carlton, Brunswick, North Fitzroy and Melbourne city.

Come for the eggs, don’t stay for the service

New York Tomato
2-6 York St (Corner New & York)
Ph: 9429 0505

It was a beautiful Sunday morning today. 10am and sunny. We were in the inner East of the city but tucked away from noise and traffic at a cafe with a cute name. Perfect brunch conditions, and New York Tomato was packed.
Sitting on the corner of New and York streets, the cafe had a few tables free besides the one I had booked for Synonym and myself when I arrived this morning, and I asked if we could sit outside rather than at the table we had been allocated opposite the kitchen. About ten minutes later, after asking a number of times and being forgotten, we were told that we’d have to stay inside. That’s ok. They were busy, and for one of the waitresses it was her first day.

Waiting for S to arrive, I ordered a coffee and grabbed the paper. About ten minutes later, paper read and S sitting across from me, my lukewarm coffee arrived. We ordered our food and another coffee, and about twenty minutes later both arrived.

S’s meal: Open BLT with poached egg and avocado ($15.00)

Scrambled eggs on toasted sourdough with panchetta, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, basil, pinenuts and Parmesan cheese ($16.50).

I have a weird thing about scrambled eggs. I love them, but I never order them. My dad makes delicious breakfasts on the weekends including beautiful, creamy scrambled eggs that he has become famous for amongst friends and family. Too many times I have seen watery, rubbery scrambles being served in restaurants and it’s put me off ordering them, when I know I can get better ones at home. Today I decided to take a chance and the eggs were beautiful. The dish was a wonderful combination of flavours and textures: soft tomato, eggs and panchetta; crispy crunchy pinenuts and asparagus.

The food helped to make up for some of the earlier shortcomings; it was delicious. Eggs are something that are done very well here, and its great that NYT do them in unconventional ways. Rather than the typical eggs benedict, you’ll find baked eggs in napoli sauce with goats cheese, basil and pinenuts; or check the specials board for dishes such as poached eggs on turkish bread with smoked salmon, spanish onion, harissa and grainy mustard hollandaise.

At times, service was a little slow and unsure. At least it was never unpleasant, as I’ve read in other reviews – none of the staff were actually rude. Still, a little more attentiveness would be great; we spent a while waiting to pay at the register, surrounded by staff, before anyone noticed us. Don’t get me wrong, NYT. I’ll be back to give you a second chance. Despite it’s shortcomings, the location, atmosphere, and food at this tiny cafe are enough to convince me to spend a leisurely day in the outdoor courtyard and give the service another go.