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.


Nola said...

What a shame! Saturday breakfast is my favorite meal of the week, and if it's not a good one, that's very upsetting.

On the upside, that photograph of the empty cafe is gorgeous, a lovely addition to your collection!

Adski said...

Hi Nola, thankyou! Glad you liked the photo.
So, you go to BNN often? What do you order from there? I would like to think they were just having a bad morning, but judging by other reviews on Urbanspoon, etc, it didn't appear so.

Anonymous said...

I had the egyptian eggs, and whilst tasty, the onion/potato mess underneath was dry, and had been in the pan all morning I'm assuming..possibly even the day before?? agree- totally disappointing. I was embarrassed to have suggested it to friends.

Ruth said...

Was actually just musing on this issue: what's the protocol for whinging about overcooked eggs?

I seem to get served poached eggs with hard yolks so often these days, I feel lucky if I actually score a runny yolk. But really, a correctly poached egg should have a runny yolk, right? Is it acceptable to send them back, or is the risk just part of the great busy brunch-time gamble?

Adski said...

Hey Ruth.
Personally, I think one of the best parts about ordering poached eggs is where you put the knife through the egg yolk and all the gooey yellow goodness seeps out of those little white pillows. Nothing is more disappointing than cutting through the egg, only to find that the egg yolk is solidly cooked. I think that runny eggs should be the standard and this should be known across kitchens everywhere. I don't think we should have to mention that we would like our eggs runny when ordering them and I don't think staff should be offended when overcooked eggs are returned to be cooked again properly. I believe that if you want hard cooked eggs, order them that way - like we did at Mixed Business yesterday. Often people want hard boiled eggs for little kids or for pregnant women.

Ruth said...

I guess a big issue is that if it's busy enough for them to cock-up cooking an egg, you've probably been waiting a good deal of time already, and as it's the first meal of the day, most people are just so hungry they eat it anyway.

Baked eggs are even worse: they take so long to cook in the first place, but are so easy to overcook.

MissCheffie said...

Poached eggs HAVE to be runny, only the whites just set.
For the sound of it, they pre-poached the eggs. Those experiences make my heart sink!

Adski said...

We had that exact dilemma. We were waiting ages... so do we send them back and wait another 30 mins for a new plate?

Miss Cheffie: I agree, they have to be runny. We actually learnt how to pre poach eggs when I was at TAFE. We seemed to do it ok... but not sure if that's the 'done' thing.

Christine said...

Ahh that breakfast seemed like a disaster. No excuse when the place is virtually empty! I looked at the menu, it does sound very nice... The reality is a different thing it seems! Being empty on a Sunday morning must ring some alarm bells about their shortcomings surely..?

Jetsetting Joyce (MEL: HOT OR NOT) said...

Oh that's a shame. As soon as I saw you first photo of the place (very beautiful btw) I thought 'hey, this could be a really good place'. Sounds like a NOT. Surely eggs and coffee can't be that difficult?

Jetsetting Joyce

Adski said...

@Joyce: Thanks for the compliment re the photo. The new Canon S90 doesn't do too badly, does it? A little bit of Lightroom doesn't hurt either.
You would think that if someone couldn't do eggs or coffee properly, you probably shouldn't have been hired to work in a breakfast cafe.

Libby said...

Like everyone else, I too was sold upon seeing the photo - the place does look beautiful - so it was a shame to hear that the food wasn't as good :(

Adski said...

Hi Libby, yeh, massive food/coffee fail at BNN's. Glad you like the first photo though! :)

Adski said...

@Nola: Sorry, misread your comment originally... thought you meant that you were a saturday morning regular at BNN's...

Anonymous said...

I can't go there because the name of the joint is o damn awful. Birdie num nums. If you can't name a cafe right, I'm not surprised you can't treat your eggs right!

ItsyBitsyFoodBlog said...

I've driven past this place once and always wondered what it was like because as your photo shows, it does look like a place that one could enjoy their meal.

I can forgive a place for getting the coffee wrong, but burnt food is a big no no for me.

Btw, I really liked the way you describe things in your food blog, pretty skillful photos also helps =] said...

We went to BNN's quite a bit when we first moved North, the toddler friendly back-yard did it! The place was always packed and we always found the service slow. When you finally got your order it was never anything special ao i agree entirely. Fabulous building and fittings, great sand-pit but the food, coffee and service were forgetable.