16 April 2009

Mykonos Greek Restaurant

To be on the safe side, the Brains thought she’d ring Mykonos to book a suitable table for the Bloggers. The friendly waiter told her that 8.00pm would be fine, and confirmed that he would put a table aside, close to the footpath, with plenty of space for Stinky’s pram.

At 7.45, the Bloggers quickly popped into the Beaufort Street Merchant, picked up 4 bottles of their new favourite cheap Chardonnay and a 6 pack of beers, and set off across the road to enjoy a whole lot of meat, a shitload of chips and something, anything, with garlic sauce. We were very much looking forward to Greek grilled meat feast.

On arrival it was clear that no table had been put aside. Interestingly our names were on their booking sheet, but there were just no tables available. So, our Greek waitress (cleverly disguised as a Japanese backpacker) directed us to the shitty mezzanine floor that’s decorated like a State prison and furnished like a 1960s bus port.

And, alone, from our lofty position high above the humming crowd at Mykonos, we waited. And continued to wait. And for 15 minutes we received none of the following:

1. service

2. wine cooler

3. bottle opener

4. cutlery

5. wine glasses

6. menus

So, we walked downstairs and fetched another Greek waitress, this one in ingeniously disguised as a Chinese English student, and asked her to help us out with the 5 items listed above, as all we had so far were 3 tumblers. After a couple more trips downstairs, and another 15 minutes, we procured ourselves 4 mismatched wine glasses and some menus. The menus were interesting, a half a page of the menu was dedicated entirely to setting out the strict terms and conditions attached to ordering, eating, paying, drinking, etc - like we were entering into some sort of Deed of Eternal Disappointment.

Items 1 to 4 never arrived, leaving the Deliberator and the Sponge to crack open their beers using the side of the chipboard table we were sitting at, and Bito and the Brains drinking wine that was positively sweating.

After reviewing the terms and conditions on the menu, we ordered the trusty tasting plate for entrée, with a large portion of calamari. The pickled octopus on the platter (a team favourite) wasn’t bad, and the dips were fine and the calamari was crispy and fresh. Everything else was a greasy, cold, oily mess. There was also a lot of garnish dressed up as salad on the plate, which was largely inedible and a giant waste of space.

When our mains arrived, we hadn’t finished the platter, so the Sino-Hellenic waitress simply popped our mains ON TOP of our platter and entrée plates. This was quite stunning, and something we’ve never seen before.

It’s hard for us to discuss the mains themselves as they were completely and utterly inedible – and generally, we eat anything. We each left meat on the plate, and plenty of it. This has never ever happened before to the Deliberator and the Sponge. But really, the food was foul. The meat could have been used as a shotput, the spices were completely wrong, the fish was ok, but only just, and the sauces lacked any flavour whatsoever. All in all, it was unbelievably, horribly bad. Which was very strange considering we’d all had very passable kebabs from Mykonos in the past.

We eventually went downstairs to pay the bill. By now, we were unhappy, spiteful and really really pissed off. And to just really hammer home the general shithouse nature of the night, we were charged double the corkage for the privilege of us getting our own wine glasses, and having our wine left sweltering in its paper bags on the table all night. Mykonos, if you’re reading this, you are by far and away the worst restaurant we’ve reviewed on Beaufort Street for service, produce and cooking. At least the Peking Chinese Restaurant had the Chinese Dragon counter.

In summary:

Service: We had a waitress come up twice in 2 hours – once to deliver the entrée, and once to deliver the mains. We were otherwise completely left to our own devices.

Food: So bad its outrageous. And what’s with all the good reviews on eatingwa.com?

Ambience: While the mezzanine floor is awful, the rest of the restaurant has a cheerful, casual Greek-restaurant style ambience.

Highlight: The new curse-words we invented to describe the food. And the calamari wasn’t bad.

Lowlight: Everything else.

Rating: half a lamb kofta (although only beef kofta is available at Mykonos) out of 5.

Will we be back? Sadly, we probably will end up buying more kebabs from Mykonos. But we’ve promised each other to try our best not to.

Details: It’s not even that cheap – about $40 a head for crap. We won’t bother you with a phone number, as we strongly suggest you don’t go. Oh, and it is also worth mentioning that the owner has appeared in the local rag a few times over the last few weeks for allegedly not letting a guide dog in the premises.

Mykonos Kebabs on Urbanspoon

01 April 2009

The Beaufort Street Merchant

It had been a while since the bloggers had managed to get together for their Thursday night fix. Booto, Stinks and the Sponge had been gallivanting around the South-West, having every whim attended to by the staff at the Bunker Bay Resort. For Stinks, that meant somebody had to blow a raspberry on his stomach every minute on the minute. For Booto on the Sponge, it was a fresh bottle of wine every hour on the hour. Meanwhile, the Brains and the Deliberator went on a 5 day long eating challenge in the far east, where their fabulous hosts managed to stuff them with dim sum on a daily basis, plus all you can eat mussels, all you can drink gin and tonics and all you can watch amateur cricket.

When the bloggers read that one of their favourite businesses, the Beaufort Street Merchant, was opening for dinner, we soon decided that it would be the perfect opportunity to swap stories on how much squiz we had consumed, how many meals we’d had and how much weight we managed to put on throughout our respective vacations (which, on average, in the relevant units, per person per day was 14, 5 and 1).

The Merchant is a wonderful venture. The staff are friendly and fun, the produce excellent, the beer and wine plentiful and varied, the tunes always top notch and the furniture suitably eclectic. We've always known this so we were very keen to try it out for dinner.

On arrival, we were excited to be told that we could choose anything we wanted to drink from the bottle shop out the back, and the staff would open it and pour it on our request for a low low $5.00. The Deliberator and the Sponge put their hands up to do the all important boozy choosing, and ended up being away for around three quarters of an hour while they squabbled over the appropriate beer to purchase. They ended up buying one bottle of virtually every beer available, plus 1 bottle of French sparkling, and 2 bottles of Sav Blanc. Of course, this was never going to be enough, so they organised a second purchase of 3 bottles of clean skins to get us through the main course. And, as an aside, the cleanskin reserve chardonnay at $11 per bottle is some of the best value for money wine going around town. A blind taste of that stuff and you would swear you’re drinking Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay (almost).

Finally, after the Choosing Of The Booze and subsequent pouring, we sat at our lovely roomy table with our friendly flickering tea light and got down to the menu. It was a short but well put together menu with ‘something for everyone’. Gordon Ramsey would be proud. Of course, we had to start with the grazing platter which, for $22, was excellent value. The platter came beautifully presented on a large bread board and contained such delights as Danish feta, chorizo, catalan tomatoes and loads of crusty bread. We also had a cheeky serve of bread and balsamic and olive oil, which was a steal at $4 as the bread was perfect.

To the mains. The Sponge and the Brains wisely chose the meatballs ($17) – the meatballs were perfection – cooked in a thick, fresh tomato sauce and served with a mound of bread, they were some of the finest meatballs man could make. Booto went for the Thai chicken salad ($17.50). It was a generous serve of salad – spinach, tomatoes, cashes, avocado and snow peas, with an equally generous serve of beautifully marinated chicken breast. The chicken had a coconut flavour that was complemented very well by the salad dressing. It clearly demonstrated great attention to detail. The Deliberator had an equally appealing pie ($20) – 5 hour braised beef (amaaazing), mushroom and Guinness served with potato gratin, savoy cabbage and a little jug of gravy. Unfortunately, there was not enough gravy in that little jug for the Deliberator’s liking. Fortunately, our waiter immediately picked up on the distress on the Deliberator’s face and within seconds produced a second jug of gravy. The pie, after that, was perfection.

We finished of the night with a couple more glasses of wine (served in our favourite Riedel stemless wine glasses), a long macchiato, an espresso and the last four tiny cakes left in the store. The long mac was not quite right – it should have been a lot stronger – but this is a small issue in an otherwise seamless evening. An evening made even better by being able to pick up a cold bottle of tonic on the way out for some late night G&T’s on the veranda.

In summary:

Service: Our waiter, Tyson, was wonderful. Everyone went out of their way to help us. And the best thing about the service? It’s very relaxed without the rules that piss us off so much about so many places. Extra sides? no problem. Another jug of gravy? on its way. More beer? here it is. You wanna stay for more wine? stay as long as you like.

Food: Tremendous. Fresh, simple, generous and home-style. Could not ask for more.

Ambience: While a Simply Red CD was playing at one stage, we realised it must have been played in irony, so it was perfectly acceptable. The atmosphere is friendly and casual and the décor is perfect.

Highlight: The bottleshop/corkage set up and the divine food. Oh, and on the corkage, the menu says it's $5, but we were only charged $3. And that's one flat charge, no matter how many bottles you buy.

Lowlight: The long mac.

Rating: 4.7 crusty loaves out of 5.

Will we be back? In a heartbeat.

Details: You know where the Merchant is. You can book on 9328 6833, and we suggest that pretty soon it will become very wise to book in advance. The Merchant is open 7 days til late (there’s no feeling of being rushed out here). Our total food bill came to around $100 (excellent value), and drinks is another story. But that was our fault for buying one of basically everything they had.

The Beaufort Street Merchant on Urbanspoon