My mother told me if I didn’t have something nice to say I shouldn’t say anything at all but…

WARNING: this article features the ruckus language of the salty old sea dog… a few times.

I am not a fussy fucker when I go out to an eating house of any description but I do have a few expectations.
I expect to get what I paid for. $5 for baked beans on toast dictates it is fine to receive Heinz baked beans on mighty white.
I expect if I am paying $80 for a free-range dodo egg, then that is what I receive.
I expect my order to be what I asked for.
And most of all, I expect all ample bosomed waitresses to be topless. Wait, that’s just at the titty bar right?

Two pretty average experiences from two of my favourite places to eat… Two places that I normally walk away from smiling and chirpy and satiated. But not today.

First it was the Gunshop Cafe in Brisbane’s West End.

A cracking spot for a Saturday morning feeling-a-little-bit-simple-brained (or any other day and mental capacity come to think of it) breakfast. The place has a few different sections (we always opt for the courtyard out back as it gives you a little more leeway when you have two crazy assed hungry country kids tagging along for the ride and a free meal), a great middle-of-the-city-country-chic-shed-bar sorta feel and some very trendy staff. I’m not sure what sort of crowd it is that they go fishing for but it seemed like a little bit of everything was eating breakfast this morning. They even had the mellow country folk represented with the addition of us at “the stockman’s table” (or something like that. A large communal table out back… Or maybe that’s just what they called it when they sat us there…). Didn’t see any carnies though, but also didn’t see any “no carnies allowed,” signs either. New age.

The food and coffees were a bit haphazard from the start. Orders got a little muddled (our waiter chose not to write anything down. Which is uber cool if you are a super waiter but not so cool if you don’t get the order right at the POS machine. Kinda just dumb looking then). But I think I should mention now they did nothing at all to wrong me personally, just every other single person at the table. Three serves of poached eggs came out like painted stones; hard, pointless and not meant for consumption, and one breakfast was forgotten about completely. A coffee mistake here, and another mishap there… I just think these are the things that you have to be on top of (that and your girlfriend) when you are displaying awards and the such stating you are the best breakfast slash cafe in the state for a good few years now, and also voted best breakfast in Australia in 2010. And a breaky chef sending out hard poached eggs. Don’t even get me started on that. If that was me I would be embarrassed. Very embarrassed. Embarrassed like the teenage boy who got caught in his best friends mother’s knickers drawer… With the mother…

the menu
the menu

The Gunshop Cafe has an effing awesome menu and to their credit no one I know, nor myself, have ever had a bad meal there before today. And shit, the slate is still clean for me, it’s just that there were issues with everyone else’s meal and this just happened to be the time I have my pen and paper (new school model. AKA. The I-Phone) out and ready. Seriously prepared to write some very nice words about some beautifully executed food. But was you see in front of you now is all I got…

mmmm lamb
mmmm lamb

I ordered the clover creek lamb cutlets, which came with bubble and squeak, fried duck egg, kale and tomato jam. It was effing delicious. Honestly, it didn’t stand a chance. It was like throwing a plump rabbit into a cage of hungry tigers. Beautiful.

all good 'cept the eggs...
all good ‘cept the egg…

One of the other dishes that were ordered was the Gunshop classic; Toulouse sausage, sweet potato and caramelised onion hash cake, tomato jam, poached egg and rocket. The description said nothing about hard egg. ‘nuff said.

I would ask you to please try the Gunshop Café despite what has been said here today. Everyone fucks up every now and then…

Write off number two; Fishmongers, Byron Bay.

parsley and sweet potato crisps do NOT equal gourmet
parsley and sweet potato crisps do NOT equal gourmet

Admittedly it has been a while since I’ve been to Fish Mongers… Or old Byron town for that matter. But it’s officially off my list of places I want to go to eat next time I’m in Byron Bay. Honestly, for gourmet fish and chips this was fucking shocking (yes I did say fucking. I’m so worked up about this shit that I may need a second cup of tea). Soggy, hardly battered fish* (hoki. WTF?), less than average squid rings and chips more flaccid then a 94-year-old man’s penis. Well worth the 19 bucks I paid for it.

mmmm olives... I mean errr octopus
mmmm olives… I mean errr octopus

The BBQ octopus look kinda like olives, which is kind of cute (like pink unicorns and old men hanging out a the play ground), and after trying it I kinda wished it was olives. It was chewy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m cool with occy having a bit of mouth feel but this was ridiculous. It was like trying to gnaw an old lady’s callus off. Not that I’ve tried that before. Honestly. 17 bucks well spent right there

That was a shocking “gourmet” fish and chips experience. I’m not sure when the definition of gourmet changed from “fine food and drink” to “horrible shit that a year 8 home economics class wouldn’t serve up”, but I truly wish someone would’ve sent me a memo…

*I’m all for a thin batter but it still has to be there. I mean, I don’t want the cops or DOCS knocking at my door, but battered means battered. This batter was slightly thicker then if the fish had been dusted in flour and then moistened while wiping the sweat from the chef’s brow. And dear good lord it should be crisp, non?

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13 thoughts on “My mother told me if I didn’t have something nice to say I shouldn’t say anything at all but…

  1. Funniest bad review ever… laughed my ass off! What a shame about the Gunshop Cafe… I’ve never had a bad bite there.

  2. You have inspired me to review 2 of my favourite places to eat breakfast – ‘Provisions’ in Williamstown and the 2nd would be ‘my place’ – yup, that’s right, I’m going to review my own breakfast food… 🙂

  3. Mongers has gone downhill fast, I’ve had a few shockers there, grilled snapper was raw one day, not a little opaque in the center kind of raw but waved over a dying candle raw, and they were less than apologetic when returned it, cooky flipped it back onto the hotplate and left the chips and salad next to it, maybe he was trying to keep the chips warm? It didn’t work, they came back flaccid like tho old mans penis you speak of, and the salad was now reminiscent of wilted spinach that poached eggs should sit atop, an the fish, well the fish was a little more warmer, I think cooky found a new candle under the fryer cause it was still fucking raw

  4. I think you should be a food critique, your columns would be a scream to read! And people could clearly trust your honest reviews! Definitely recommend reading Giles Coran’s ‘How to Eat Out’.

  5. That’s the worst when you go to a place you normally like, but the service or quality is off. This post serves them right for setting the bar higher on your expectations and then falling short. Set the bar low. That’s my motto. 😛

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