Monday, April 17, 2006

Awaba Cafe, The Esplanade, Balmoral

Awaba Cafe, The Esplanade, Balmoral
Monday 17 April, 2006

Easter Monday is a great day to catch up with friends, go for a long walk (to walk off all those long weekend meals) and soak up the sun. A friend from The Shire was coming over the bridge for lunch so I suggested Balmoral and, in particular, Awaba cafe.

Awaba has a great corner spot on The Esplanade but it attracts the wind - so when the windows aren't pulled across it's cold and windy inside - the view however is gorgeous. Awaba doesn't take lunch bookings until the morning of the day you are planning to visit, so I rang at 7.30am to book in for lunch - what is that about? How hard is it to take a booking a few days/ weeks beforehand???

Anyway, we arrived and waited at the counter to get someone's attention. I gave the staff member our booking details and in front of us he had a go at no-one in particular for giving away our table. Then he motioned for us to take another table with a wave - seriously, the service here is a joke and we hadn't even ordered...

It took about 10 minutes for someone to deliver menus and we had to continually ask for service during the course of our lunch. The menu is concise and there are specials listed on the whiteboard at the rear of the cafe along with the wine list. I decided on the roast chicken with pumpkin, olives and rocket. My lunch buddy selected the crisp duck & bok choy salad with snowpeas and coriander-honey dressing. Our waiter asked if we'd like some bread, so we ordered some plain bread and a bottle of the Ashbrook verdelho.

The wind was getting far too cold at this point so a few tables including ours, requested the windows be pulled across. This made a dramatic difference to the temperature inside. While we waited for our meals the maitre'd arrived at the table to re-arrange our wine and mineral water bottles and move the salt/ pepper shakers - I don't know what for.

The meals arrived and looked great - my roast chicken was divine but the pumpkin was under cooked and our side of plain bread was stale. My lunch buddies crisp duck was served luke warm but the salad was cold.

Overall, the meals were pretty average. When our waiter came by we informed her that the bread was stale and she responded with, 'well, yes - we couldn't get a fresh delivery today as it's a Public Holiday'. OK then....

We requested the bill and thankfully they didn't include the bread (but it would have been nice of them to acknowledge this and communicate it in person). What a disappointment - I won't be returning - there are far too many great places in Balmoral to return to.

Awaba Cafe - 67 The Esplanade, Balmoral - (02) 9969 2104


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