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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Good dog, bad coffee

I'm dog sitting this weekend. Pip asked very nicely this morning to be taken out for a coffee and a ham and cheese croissant. Pip always gets what she wants. Lucky pooch.

We headed off to La Torta 310 (formerly Cafe Cardamom, formerly something else no one ever went to). We had coffee. We had a ham and cheese croissant. We had another coffee. I tell you, Pip was infinetly more impressed than I was.

La Torta is extremely dog friendly. Pip got not one, but two dog biscuits. The courtyard area if perfect for pooches: large, secluded and sunny.

After briefly considering the breakfast menu (that I couldn't really order off anyway because the chef was out making a wholesale delivery and wouldn't be back for half an hour) I agreed with Pip that a ham and cheese croissant was infinetly the safest option.

The menu was a typographical nightmare. Perhaps someone behind the scenes thinks using randomly placed bold type is pleasing on the eye, but they are very wrong. Together with more commas, colons and exclamation marks for a whole restaurant strip (the word Yummy!! does not belong on a menu) I was suitably frightened.

This is Pip. Pip likes anything people eat, walks, sleeping under the blankets and leaving white hairs on my black clothes. Pip dislikes flies, rain and guide dogs.

My first latte was lukewarm and flavorless. Distinctly below average. The second was a slight improvement. I'd put this lack of quality down to the friendly, yet largely untrained waitstaff. Okay, I don't really know how untrained they are. I'm making an assumption. But I think the likely hood of any member of staff taking on the job title of "barista" in this venue would be slight. 

Dirty cutlery anyone?

La Torta is a bakery, so most menu items are made on-site. The above croissant was light and fluffy, just about perfect I'd say. It's just a shame that it was cold in the middle, containing too much cheese and giving me flash-backs to the kind of mass-produced cheddar found in hospitals and high school canteens. My cutlery was also covered in smudged fingerprints, clearly having been handled by a number of people (or one very greasy person) before it reached the plate.

We decided to clear off then the live accoustic music started. It was all a bit much for me at 9am on a Saturday morning. Thank goodness I didn't have a hangover or the very noisy and offensively bold manageress would have driven me completly mental, as good as her intentions were.

La Torta 310
310 Elisabeth St
(03) 6234 3112
Closed Sundays


Maggie said...

Aha. I see now. Oops. Fixed.

Maggie said...


Sorry. I deleted your comment by accident.

Need more coffee.

オテモヤン said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

WTF! Everyones deletin' Rita now you..

Maggie said...

Trust me you wanted me to delete the last comment. It was spam of the porn variety. As a general rule I will only delete a comment that is abusive. Although I did delete one by accident this morning.

Anonymous said...

delete delete delete

Lucy said...

What a stunningly cute dog! (who totally deserves the exclamation mark)

Kitchen Confidentiality said...

Interesting commentary on the latte - I'd be curious what your criteria would be for a great one?

The reason I ask is that I'm in the process of planning my foray into entrepreneurship of the coffee shop variety and, while I think I make a great latte, I've never really compiled a list of "must-haves" for a latte (or cappuccino, etc.) to be considered excellent.

I write at, if you're interested.

Anonymous said...

Our experience is a bit different. But we aren't coffee drinkers and don't get bent out of shape that the casual behind the counter isn't a barista. We go about once a week, sit in the lovely courtyard and have whatever unusual sort of pastry is the special. Always fresh - some-one's got a light hand in the kitchen and I think (but could be corrected) that they bake onsite. Bonus is now we can go to Mako next door afterwards and grab some fresh fish for dinner as well.

nat said...

Hi their
I’ am the manageress of La Torta I’ am very sorry you were unpleased w/ the service and product you received on you visit. However we are only a very new cafe and are working really hard at delivering good service, food and great coffee. I make the assumption you are experienced in this industry and particularly in the art of coffee making i.e. a barista. Please feel free to visit us and share your vast knowledge w/ my team. Thanks, looking forward to seeing you again.