24 October 2008

Monte Fiore Cafe Restauant

Monte Fiore is terrible. Really terrible. Everything about it is so bad, from the acronym, which is used liberally throughout the menu (we’ll have an MF salad and an MF side of chips please), from the terrible oily smell in the restaurant that seems to have seeped into everything, to the bland 1990s décor to the uninspiring chap who runs the front of house.

Luckily, it was a stinking hot night when the Bloggers decided to take the M-Fing challenge, so we were able to sit outside and watch people eat decent food at the Flying Scotsman. Which was quite pleasant really, especially after we smelt that weird, old oil smell that would leave you gasping for fresh air if you spent more than 10 minutes in it. Also, if we had sat in the tired, outdated surroundings we would not have been able to hide all of our bottles of wine quite so easily.

It’s a M-Fing funny place Monte Fiore. It seems to be very popular, and on the Thursday night we visited it was probably at 70% capacity, which is not bad because it’s a pretty big space. We discussed the reason for its popularity among ourselves and Booto quite correctly pointed out that it looked like a place where people who met on RSVP.com might have had a first date. It’s safe, it’s inoffensive, it’s well known and it’s bland. Perfect.

To the food. We had to try the standard tasting platter and a serve of garlic bread. The platter was bizarre, though not necessarily in a bad way. It consisted of a pizza base brushed with oil and garlic and sprinkled with herbs, and on top of the base there were your bog standard kalamata olives, grilled chorizo and fetta. The ingredients, other than the fetta, were fine. The fetta was revolting, and looked, felt and tasted more like tofu than fetta. And, annoyingly, there were 3 bits of garlic bread for a party of 4. Can’t cafés count?

Booto had a delicious Moroccan lamb salad for her main. The lamb was outstanding, well cooked with plenty of spice, and the salad was super fresh. The joy ended there though. The Brains’ Gamberi (Neapolitan pasta with prawns) was woeful. It seemed to be badly cooked packet spaghetti mixed with tomato sauce (as in ketchup, not Neapolitan sauce) with a generous number of shrivelled up cheap tasting prawns. The Sponge opted for his old favourite veal parma, and it was described as mystery meat with tomato sauce. The Deliberator’s giant pork ribs were tasteless, meatless and not at all giant. And, the bowl of ‘thick cut chips’ for the table turned out to be a bowl of frozen McCains wedges (wedges? cafés still serve wedges? what is this, 1995?) served with a minimum of flair. Overall, outstandingly disappointing.

We were left wondering what the M-Fing place could do properly. We didn’t stick around for dessert to find out.

The service was a mix. Our po-faced chap we mentioned earlier attended to us with very little charisma or affability. The lovely, bubbly blonde-haired waitress who served our meals was a dream, but once our plates were in front of us she never came back. No parmesan cheese, no cracked pepper and no ‘can I get you anything else’. We were abandoned on the side of the road with our rubbish food, empty bottles and slowly warming wine.

All in all, don’t bother with those M-Fers, head across the road to the Scotsman instead.

In summary:

Service: Variable.

Food: Heinz does a better spaghetti and it’s only a couple of bucks.

Ambience: Outside is lovely, but that was courtesy of the steamy Perth night and the action on Beaufort Street. Inside looks like a 1990s telemovie.

: The Moroccan lamb salad and the sweltering heat.

Lowlight: Food you might find in a school cafeteria.

Rating: 2 McCains wedges out of 5.

Will we be back: No. And we hope you won’t be either until these guys lift their game, update their menu, sack their chef and redecorate their restaurant.

: Monte Fiore is licenced and BYO wine only at $5 per bottle. The bill came to $120 for a platter, 4 mains, GB and a bowl of chips. We checked out the wine list and surprise surprise, it’s boring as hell. All wines in the same price range $19 - $26 and all the usual suspects were there – wines like Goundrey and Madfish – ok, but so dull.

Coming up: We’re really struggling to get to Diva, so we’ll try and get there next week.

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