Cafe In The House – Breakfast

ant 16 March 2009 30

Today I had Breakfast at Cafe In The House, which is the eatery in Old Parliament House. I was with a group of about 10.

I’ve eaten there before, and always been underwhelmed, and today was no exception.

One standout though was the young lady who was serving, she was excellent: competant and helpful.

Unfortunately we had a young man who while pleasant enough, did not manage to take everyone’s order and did not seem all that motivated to be there. The young chap who was evidently the maitre ‘d showed promise and in time should be very good.

It’s a pleasant venue, indoors and out. It was quite busy this morning, and as lunchtime began and we left, people were flooding in. The service is reasonably attentive, too.

The food! Well, the breakfast menu is fairly brief. There’s the two poached egg classics, Benedict and Florentine. There’s a sweet pancake thing, and a sweet french toast thing. The people who had these pronounced them OK, although there were no huge raves. One lady ordered The Muffin Of The Day and some tea, none of which arrived until she re-ordered them. She was underwhelmed with the Muffin Of The Day, sitting all by itself on the plate… not very appetising for breakfast.

I and some others opted for the “Big Breakfast”. Now, at $17 you’d be expecting a pretty opulent breakfast with coffee. Not with this one. In fact, I suspect that it’s made by someone who really isn’t into breakfast. And coffee wasn’t included, you had to order that separately.

I’ve had big breakfasts, the one at Wilfreds in the National Parks building at Jindabyne is still the stand-out, but essentially when you order something like this, you expect a big tasty wholesome breakky, with buttered toast and nice things.

This was somewhat meagre and grudging. Two small slices of alleged sourdough hid underneath. Some quite nice fried mushrooms but they were really more like lunch mushrooms than breakfast mushrooms. Somewhat austere for breakfast mushrooms. 2 bits of cooked roma tomato, a pile of dryish house baked beans, some unremarkable bacon, and a heated up hash brown much like the ones you buy frozen (it wasn’t house-made, it was moulded).

However, what really irked me was the eggs! I am doomed to have liquid fried eggs whenever I go out for breakfast, it seems. Steaks should be rare: eggs should only be wobbly and liquid if you ask for them to be so. There’s some creeping egg-snobbery in this town which seems to dictate that fried eggs should wobble on the plate and burst all over the place and gush liquid yellow in all directions when punctured. This happened at the inaugural Riotact breakfast, and I was careful to ask for my eggs to be cooked fully, please. Nope.

It’s a bit much when the poached egg people have solid eggs and the fried egg people have liquid eggs.

Anyway. It was an underwhelming breakfast. The coffee was OK, not bitter, not weak, just somewhere in the middle. I had two!

It’s nice how they have papers and magazines lying around for people to look at, that really is a good touch at breakfast.

The venue itself was nice, but once again the food was ordinary and quite overpriced for what it is.

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30 Responses to Cafe In The House – Breakfast
ex-vectis ex-vectis 10:40 am 13 Apr 10

Slightly late reply, sorry Ant, but yes that was mine. We’ve never been back. 🙂

ant ant 2:52 pm 05 Jun 09
ant ant 2:47 pm 05 Jun 09

I’ve been there a few times over the years, for lunch usually and this breakky was a first for breakky. As said in the review, I’ve always been underwhelmed. The food is just never “there”. The location always sucks me in, and really it should be better in the food department.

ex-vectis ex-vectis 2:19 pm 05 Jun 09

Has much changed since last year? We went for lunch and have never been back ( Shame, as it has a fantastic location.

ant ant 2:03 pm 05 Jun 09

I don’t want them ‘hard’, just not liquid. And I bet it won’t overwhelm me, no big breakfast has managed that yet (Wilfred’s came close though).

motleychick motleychick 1:34 pm 05 Jun 09

I’m sure if you ask for hard eggs they’ll give them to you. But try it out next time you want a big breakky. Slightly pricey but very overwhelming. 😉

ant ant 12:55 pm 05 Jun 09

motleychick said :

Verve in Manuka has the best big breakfasts!!

And +5 for runny fried eggs… Nothing like soaking up the leftover yolk with bread!

errr please! I’m eating.

Verve eh? I’ll add that to the list. I hope the liquid eggs aren’t compulsory though. I’ll interrogate them!

motleychick motleychick 12:47 pm 05 Jun 09

Verve in Manuka has the best big breakfasts!!

And +5 for runny fried eggs… Nothing like soaking up the leftover yolk with bread!

Jim Jones Jim Jones 12:42 pm 05 Jun 09

GB said :

Is there anywhere in Canberra to get a great rösti? Even if they serve (ethnically appropriate) solid fried eggs with it? Rösti and sausage… mmmmm.

There’s a cafe near the AIS that does *awesome* rosti (it’s part of a big breakfast that includes chorizo, haloumi, spinach, eggs, bacon, toast, mushrooms … and some other stuff I’m sure).

Damned if I can remember it’s name though.

frontrow frontrow 12:39 pm 05 Jun 09

Looks like a hash brown or bubble and squeeak variant.

ant ant 12:36 pm 05 Jun 09

Just to clarify (as a result of what happened in this more recent story ), lunch mushrooms are kind of less sloppy than breakfast mushrooms. Dunno why, but breakfast mushrooms are usually moist or sauced or something. These were sort-of dry fried. Nice though, just not very breakfasty.

What’s a Rosti?

bigfeet bigfeet 10:53 pm 16 Mar 09

Not that I have found, happy to be corrected though if anyone has a secret rosti hangout.

GB GB 10:06 pm 16 Mar 09

Is there anywhere in Canberra to get a great rösti? Even if they serve (ethnically appropriate) solid fried eggs with it? Rösti and sausage… mmmmm.

bigfeet bigfeet 9:31 pm 16 Mar 09

GB said :

If I ordered eggs in Australia without special instructions, and they came solid, I’d send them back. I think you might have to get used to making your special order a special order.

Working in a cafe as table staff years ago, I had an arguement with a new chef on his first day because I refused to take solid fried eggs out to the customers. I think he was German or Austrian and he insisted that was how they should be. Maybe it is popular in Europe that way?

The other waiter who took them out to the customers brought 95% of them back.

The chef could make a great rosti though, and he quickly learned that Aussies like their eggs to explode tasty yellow gooeyness all over the plate.

grunge_hippy grunge_hippy 9:26 pm 16 Mar 09

there’s a difference between breakfast and lunch mushrooms???

Nosey Nosey 7:40 pm 16 Mar 09


Thanks for the laugh on an otherwise dull and unhappy day.

Pesty Pesty 7:09 pm 16 Mar 09

I guess the breakfast ones need to be smaller or there would not be “muchroom” on the plate?

LaLa LaLa 3:37 pm 16 Mar 09

I think the review was fine, I like knowing where not to go but I do have to say…

+4 for runny fried eggs

What’s the difference between breakfast mushies and lunch ones?

Granny Granny 2:12 pm 16 Mar 09

Cake for breakfast! Mmmmmmm! I love how they have trays of donuts there for breakfast too. Amazing and fascinating donuts.

mutley mutley 1:05 pm 16 Mar 09

Muffins were invented so Americans could have cake for breakfast

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