Café Café is an institution in Subiaco. Located in Station Square right next to Woolies and overlooking the railway station, it is the epitome of central. It has an enormous al fresco area and is very lycra friendly.
It does a roaring trade in takeaway coffee for train commuters (they only use the exclusive 'Illy' blend) and was featured in the 2011 Perth Good Food Guide (although it had disappeared by the 2013 edition).
Café Café is always packed. Even when I fronted up at 7am on a bitterly cold winter morning, a surprising number of the outdoor tables were taken. This place is popular. So I was disappointed that my breakfast experience was lacklustre.
I have eaten here before and remember being very happy but today my over-riding impression was lukewarm. Literally.
Our coffees arrived a few minutes after sitting down, which is always a good thing. However, our breakfast arrived only a couple of minutes later, which isn't always a good thing. More about that later.
The breakfast menu consists of all the usual suspects: croissants, muesli, eggs on toast, bagels etc all at prices lower than the cafes across the train line. Highlighted on the menu is the Brekky Plate ($15) consisting of two fried eggs, bacon, cheesy toast, hash brown and a grilled tomato.
Other interesting options include the special scrambled eggs ($11.50) with your choice of spinach and feta or leg ham and cheese, both served with toast.
I chose the Vegetarian Brekky ($14.50) and at $14.50 this dish is considerably cheaper than many other Subiaco restaurants, especially given the generous serving size. Two poached eggs, spinach, mushrooms, a hash brown, half a grilled tomato, toast and – inexplicably – pea shoots.
My daughter chose her usual breakfast of pancakes. The menu standard is served with bananas and ricotta ($14.50) but today there was a special at $12.50 served with cream and maple syrup, much better for a six year old who thought the idea of cheese with pancakes was 'gross'.
It was only after I ordered that I noticed a dedicated kids' menu which included pancakes and maple syrup for $8.
The three pancakes were thin albeit decently sized and liberally coated with icing sugar. They came with aerated cream and a small dish of maple syrup. My six year old scoffed them with sheer delight.
My vegetarian breakfast was a lesser success. The baked beans were clearly from a tin, the bread, while thickly cut, was commercially made and the tiny hash brown probably came out of a packet. Everything was also lukewarm. Admittedly it was a very cold morning but it was disappointing.
I looked around the café and saw that the fellow sitting next to me had ordered a toasted sandwich and it was steaming. Maybe I was just unlucky and my breakfast just sat on the pass a few minutes too long.
While the outdoor seating is shaded by large colourful umbrellas and decorated by flower boxes, the inside seating is simple wooden chairs and plain tables. A waist high bench and bar stools line one wall (with plenty of complimentary reading material and newspapers), while one corner has a padded banquette.
The tables are crammed in, so much so that you feel you are eavesdropping on neighbouring tables. There is also an upstairs lounge area apparently with free wi-fi.
I have been to Cafe Cafe twice. Very disappointed the first time. The food, service everything was very average but the price wasn't. But decided to give it a second try. I won't be going a third time. I'm not that silly.