I recently visited a well known cafe restaurant in Melbourne in the affluent suburb of Brighton, Victoria called the Pantry. I ordered breakfast and a coffee and whilst I enjoyed the experience I walked away with mixed reviews.
Kabir scrambled eggs, chilli, garlic, onion, parsley, side of harissa and toasted roti bread $20. Review. 5 stars
History: I have visited the Pantry on Church St, Brighton a number of times and ordered a latte. But on reflection I cannot remember a time when I thought “Wow that’s a great coffee” like I would expect from an establishment like this. I mean, the Pantry on Church St is probably the best known, upmarket cafe restaurant in Brighton, made popular by local residents and celebrities alike, and the food lives up to its reputation. But their coffee doesn’t reach the lofty standards set by their food, location and reputation.
Wind forward to today and I had just finished my breakfast when a man sat on the table next to me. After a while had passed I noticed his coffee looked a lot better than mine and so I asked, “Is that a latte?” He replied “Yes, but it’s a three quarter latte.” “Oh” replied, “That explains the colour.”
The man asked what type of coffee I had ordered, “A latte”, I said, “but it’s not very good.” And told me he had ordered a latte just the other day (at the Pantry – which obviously means he sometimes or regularly orders a latte) but had to ask for another half a shot and was the reason he had decided to order a three quarter latte instead.
We continued our conversation and he told me how the family owner of the Lavazza coffee company (who was in Australia recently) had visited the Pantry (who he said is Lavazza’s largest customer in Australia) and how they had stayed for nearly four hours before flying back home. And I wondered what they thought of the coffee..
So I told the man how I thought the Pantry food was great but the coffee left a lot to be desired – and said that in my opinion their standard latte wasn’t any better than what you could order at any sandwich shop in the suburbs. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; it’s just that it doesn’t match the location, food standard or reputation of the place – And so after having a nice conversation we parted ways.
And then it hit me – Lazazza coffee is a commercial coffee brand as opposed to being a small, specialty coffee roaster. Which explains everything. But this isn’t the type of coffee I would expect from a place like the Pantry. And there lies the missing piece to the puzzle. It’s the coffee beans!
First class food. Economy coffee. Service good.
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