My mate Jaws and I caught up over lunch recently in West End. It was the Queens Birthday public holiday on a Monday and most cafes/restaurants were closed so we jumped into the first one we saw that was obviously doing business. This happened to be Suburban.
I'm not sure if it's just that I've been dining in Brisbane for a long time now, or what, but it seems like the turn over of restaurants in West End is on the high side? I swear this is the 3rd restaurant I've seen in that exact location. On that note, is Freestyle West End gone now too? Crikey.
I had actually just flown in from Melbourne, literally that morning, after a lovely big breakfast at Auction Rooms Cafe, so I wasn't exactly starving to death. It was about 2-3pm so we were sitting down for a late lunch.
Suburban was fairly busy. I suppose many people ran into the same problem as us, unable to find alternatives, or at least unwilling to take the risk.
There was substantial outdoor dining space, as well as a large number of tables inside. We chose a small table outside to take advantage of the nice weather.
The menu is stock standard with unoriginal cafe offerings. I don't really mind that. Sometimes it's nice to see what you expect to see. There's a better chance they'll have something familiar and that you feel like eating at the time.
I was feeling tired and dazed from all my travels so I started off with a coffee. They had something called a Chai espresso, which sounded interesting so I went with that. It turned out to be a delicious hot beverage. I've obviously had tonnes of chai lattes before but never thought of it in combination with coffee. The spicy chai flavours go really well with coffee. I liked this very much and have since started mixing Liptons chai latte powder with my instant coffee at home.
We ordered a couple of light meals for food. Our waitress had a major attitude problem - snootiness perfected. It even came down to me saying something like "I'll get the lamb salad" and her looking down, raising an eyebrow of contempt and saying "yeh, ok". I couldn't believe it. It was service so bad it was laughable. We had to ask for water twice because she forgot the first time. When food was actually brought out it was slammed down at our table. Maybe the waitress was having a bad day or something... her face was just utterly pissed off. There wasn't even an ounce of joy.
Moroccan lamb – marinated lamb strips and salad with tzatziki
My lamb salad was... edible. That's about all I can really say. I mean, yeh, the lamb itself tasted OK but it was on the tough side and the flavors ressembled packaged pre-mixed supermarket spices (a dash of cumin, a bit of salt). The leaves were sad and wilted. The tzatziki was boring and barely stretched beyond being plain, savory yoghurt.
Creamy garlic prawns - with toasted Turkish bread
Jaws had ordered the garlic prawns. It arrived in a creamy sauce with some pieces of toasted Turkish bread. The bread was dead cold. He complained to me and I thought he was just in a whingy mood till I touched a slice myself. It wasn't just cool - it was cold. The prawns themselves weren't too bad and the sauce was simple but tasty.
Flourless blueberry almond cake
I was feeling too depressed by my meal and needed something to liven it up a bit. I ordered a slice of blueberry almond cake. It arrived warmed up with a blob of cream. Whatever I felt about the lamb and prawns and service didn't extend to the cake.
Cake bite shot
It was deliciously light and moist and delicate. So yum. I enjoyed it immensely, though I've had flourless almond cake like this before so it's really cudos to whoever Suburban sourced the cake from, not to the restaurant itself.
I didn't think much of Suburban at all. The service we had was shocking but I'm open-minded to the fact that it may just be that one waitress who might have just been having a terrible day. I'll never know because I'm never going back. The food was below par. I do thank them for giving me the idea of combining chai and coffee though.