After last Thursday’s bad lunch experience I was really looking forward to my next scheduled meal out: Saturday post-inspection lunch (yes, we’re still looking for a house). Inspections didn’t go well, plus three out of the four of us had some kind of physical discomfort. After we decided not to have drinks due to our symptoms we started looking for a place to eat that would cater for all of us.
We walked looking at menus without even being sure about what we wanted. Bonnie didn’t feel like having Asian, Alvaro is happy with anything except Indian, Neil wanted something light, I didn’t care too much as long as we went to a place I had never blogged about before.
After twenty minutes or so we arrived at Cafe Newtown and had to get in to look at the menu. Under the pressure of the waitress offering to join two tables to accommodate us, we stayed. It was the first time for all of us in that cafe, which is quite bizarre given that it’s right in the corner of King St and Enmore Rd, perhaps the most walked-by corner in Newtown.
Anyway, we sat down and started browsing the menu, which has a heavy Greek influence. Not surprisingly, Alvaro was the first one to know what he wanted (except for the aforementioned Indian phobia, he’s probably the least picky eater of us). Neil wanted something with lots of cooked vegetables and Bonnie wanted something that wouldn’t worsen her reflux.
I decided to share with Alvaro. Besides the haloumi meatballs (chargrilled meatballs stuffed w/haloumi cheese) he wanted, I chose the Mezze bar salad (rocquette [sic], shaved cheese, macadamias, sweet cherries & balsamic) from the salad specials blackboard and the vine leaves (rice and vegetables rolled in fresh vine leaves served w/grape & almond sauce).
Neil ordered the vegetarian penne after checking with the waitress whether they could add extra veggies. Bonnie chose the pancakes with strawberries and ice cream, surely not a reflux-friendly lunch (surely not a lunch meal, either), but apparently that’s what her stomach was asking for.
We got a jug of tap water with ice and warm just-taken-out-of-the-dishwasher glasses. In such a hot day, the waitress noticed our discomfort and tried extra hard to keep a regular supply of chilled water on our table. I must say that the two waitresses that served us that afternoon were very attentive. That’s IMO the best feature of the cafe.
The first dish to arrive was Neil’s pasta. The serving was huge but unfortunately it wasn’t the heap of vegetables with a bit of pasta he was wishing for, but exactly the opposite. From what I remember, it had tomato sauce, capsicum, mushrooms and sliced onions, and came with a small dip plate full of grated Parmesan.
Next thing to arrive was our salad. The blackboard said “salad bowls” and what arrived was more like a medium plate with slightly high sides. But the salad looked good, so I didn’t complain. We were waiting for the rest of our meal when I noticed something moving on top of the baby rocket. It was green and alive, one of the creatures I hate the most: a worm.
Mezze bar salad ($12.90)
I was so upset I forgot to take a close-up pic of the bug. I just called the waitress and complained. She apologised and took the plate to the kitchen. At that point I wanted to get up and leave, but Neil’s meal was already served and I didn’t want to bother my friends. So I just stayed and tried to focus in my hunger to be able to forget about it and eat.
The rest of the dishes came out next. The haloumi meatballs were more like three chubby burgers. They were nice, but what with haloumi isn’t?
Haloumi meat balls ($9.90)
The salad returned to our table sans worm (obviously it wasn’t a new salad). I took a deep breath and tried it. It was very nice, the sweetness of the dressing and cherries complemented the sharpness of the shaved cheese nicely. There were no macadamias as advertised in the menu, but peeled slivered almonds instead. Overall it was a good salad, a bit expensive for its size.
The vine leaves were nice, too, especially when dipped in the provided tzatziki.
Vine leaves ($6.90)
Bonnie said it had been ages since she last ate pancakes with strawberries and ice cream, so she couldn’t really compare and say how good they were.
Pancakes with strawberries and ice cream
Will I go back to this cafe? Definitely not. Service is good and they do apologise when they have to, but why bother eating in a place with dodgy hygiene (I noticed also that the floors and other areas didn’t look clean) if the meals are average and not precisely cheap?
329 King St
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 8084 8933