Monday, May 24, 2010

Birdie Num Nums

745 Nicholson Street, Carlton North, Vic

Birdie Num Nums has been around for a while now, but I've never actually heard a great deal about it. Now I know why. BNNs is located in Carlton North, just across the road from the Empress Hotel. There's not too many cafe's around the area that I know of, so I expect this joint to be pumping! As you can tell by the photo above, it's definitely not the case. Very strange for an inner city cafe at 10am on a lovely Saturday morning.

The cafe itself, is beautiful. From what I understand it was an old butcher shop, converted into a cafe. There's still lots of old fittings in the room and it's quite a nice setup. I'd be happy with it if it was mine.

It's a pity that the food at BNNs isn't as appealing as the cafe itself. While the menu reads really well and the food sounds appetising, unfortunately, it just doesn't deliver and neither does the below average service.

The disappointment began when we all ordered coffees and they all arrived pretty much cold. I think they either forgot to heat the milk or they had just left them sitting too long before sending them over to our table. Either way, we sent them back and asked for hot coffees. Funnily enough, the coffees we got second time around were just as cold. Hopefully the food to come would be better. We waiting about 30 minutes from the time we ordered for our food to arrive.

I ordered the Baked Beans with Chorizo ($?). These arrived at my table almost stone cold. Considering we were about 4 meters from the kitchen, the food should be piping hot! The actually baked beans were really, really tasty and sweet and my poached egg on top was only slightly overcooked. It's a shame they just couldn't get it out to me hot.

As good as my breakfast was, despite the fact that it was cold - the other 3 people I was with weren't so lucky. Firstly, everybody's poached eggs were solidly cooked to the point where they were powdery. Everybody's food was luke-warm. Everybody's toast was either burnt or had patches of charcoal on it.

The eggs on the Eggs Royale ($14) were cooked solidly.

The eggs in the Egyptian eggs ($15) were also seriously overcooked.

The eggs in the big breakfast ($16) were, guess what? You got it, overcooked!
Also, the roast tomato in the big breakfast, I doubt was even roasted. Roast tomato should be soft and broken down and cooked until it's sweet. These were panfried roast tomatoes. Lazy.
And even more unforgivable than cold meals or overcooked eggs, was the fact that they were serving store bought hash browns! Do people still do that these days? How hard is it to grate some potatoes and make your own?

We called one of the waitresses over to complain about the eggs and the fact that they were overcooked. Her response was "oh....." and then walked off into the kitchen. When she came back, she asked "would you like anything else?"
Was she serious?? You couldn't get eggs right, you couldn't get coffee right, you couldn't get tomatoes or hash browns right and now you want us to order something else? Get real.

Birdie Num Nums is not somewhere I'd be heading back to in a hurry. It's a shame really, because the place has the potential to have people lining up to get in there on the weekends. This could be the perfect local hangout for Carlton North people, but instead, I'm sure they'd rather head up to Brunswick or into Fitzroy North, just down the road for some hot coffee and perfectly cooked eggs.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Mexican is definately not one of my favourite types of food, infact I've eaten it once before at a restaurant that shall remain nameless in Richmond. Which from my understanding was until this year, the best in Mexican food that Melbourne had to offer. When I went to the Richmond Mexican nameless restaurant, we were served, boring, tasteless, overpriced crap, that didn't inspire me to ever eat Mexican again!
That was until I'd heard about a place that had recently opened in Melbourne's CBD, that was apparently going to blow my mind and completely change the way I thought about Mexican food. Introducing Mamasita!

Mamasita is a brand new Mexican restaurant that was opened at the Spring St end of Collins St in February this year. The room is on the first floor and is NOISY!! We arrived and the place was full. They don't take bookings, so first come, first served. We had to wait at the bar for about 15 minutes, but soon after that we got a table. We found it almost impossible to talk between the two of us - even across the little table - that's how loud it is. You are also seated almost shoulder to shoulder with the people at the table next to you, which is kind of annoying and intimate in completely the wrong way. When there are those brief moments of quietness in the room, you can hear everything the people next to you are talking about.
So, Mamasita is going to blow my mind, hey? Let's see how we go.

We took recommendations from our waitress as we knew next to nothing about Mexican food. So we ordered a series of different soft shell tacos, meats and stew type dishes.

We started off with some tacos. The AlPastor. Pulled pork, pineapple, white onion and coriander ($14 for 3). The meat in these was dry! The only saviour was the pineapple, which added some moisture to the dish. The dryness of the soft taco 'shell' didn't help the overall dryness along at all.

Next was de Cordero ($14 for 3). This was lamb with Pulled Lamb with shallots and basically a salsa verde. These ones didn't have much taste on their own and the lamb was very boring, however add the Mexican Salsa Verde and you've got yourself a tasty taco!

Next we tried a Qaesadilla. Basically two soft shell taco fried flat with some filling between. We went with the 'de Pollo' ($14). Again, nothing exciting here. The chicken was infact so lacking in taste or moisture that we seriously considered sending it back. We didn't though. We thought we'd see how our final two dishes were.

Our mains that we ordered were Chicken Mole ($18) - apparently one of the most popular dishes in Mexico, so our waitress tells us. As you can see by the photo, it looks boring and it's about as interesting as it tasted. There was a hint of chilli in there, but that was it.

Finally we ordered the Chipotle Glazed Pork Ribs ($18), with a side of Papas ($7).

I'm not even going to begin to tell you how disappointing this meal was. It did not blow my mind. The only thing that did, was the hot chilli sauce on the table! The meats were dry, the sauces were boring. I seriously don't know what the hype is about. But hey, maybe it's just me. When we were leaving, there was literally a line going all the way down the stairs and out the door. So, maybe this is a case of it being all about the public hype. Or maybe I was just there on a bad night. Or maybe, I really just don't like Mexican food - no matter how good it is.