Gardiner & Field
August 30, 2012 4 Comments
Mon – Fri: 7am – 4pm
Sat – Sun: 8am – 4pm
Coffee: Gardiner and Field house blend, Maling Room Single Origin
Note: Cash only
“The waiting game. It’s one of life true test of character, strength and endless entertainment when people go bananas with frustration. Some people can wait forever, while others see the opportunity cost of waiting for a table too high and immediately leave (most notable during my recent visit to Perth). Whilst waiting isn’t the most amazing or glamorous pastime, it’s where we found ourselves on a bright and sunny Winters day in a leafy patch in Malvern. Waiting to try the very new offerings of Gardiner and Field during their opening weekend.
The location for Gardiner and Field is perfect within a much needed location for Armadale; not on Glenferrie Road but close enough for brunch-goers to consider the small detour. Melbournians love to jump on new hotspots and since it was Gardiner and Field‘s opening weekend, the venue was overwhelmed with customers and the wait was rather long. I will admit at one stage I was willing to bail, but we were finally seated out in the lovely sun on a rather cool long bench. It was hard to get waiter service given how packed and potentially understaffed they were, but it also made things a little more difficult as a large group of friends-of-the-staff were very chatty to the waiter. I don’t expect the red carpet welcome but I would have liked to have been given some water, a menu and the opportunity to order a coffee once seated.
After all of the commotion with the unfortunate long wait and lack of service, it was time to finally enjoy a long black [$3] from Gardiner and Field‘s own unique blend. It was good to see that given the owners, Jesse and Nick who have had a wealth of experience from other well-established cafes, had made sure their coffee was a signature element and not just another already known bean. My long black was of a high quality with a fantastic crisp taste when it first hits your palate, from first to last drop. On this occasion, I found it difficult to identify any defining flavour, but I did notice a slight fruity taste lingering on the back of my palate. Overall my long black was fantastic for an original house blend – something that has to be given a lot of credit for. From my perspective they nailed the coffee component straight off the bat, although according to Daisy her mocha needed a bit more TLC.
The menu options at Gardiner and Field were limited but what they lacked in options they made up with quality. They could have gone with the usually suspects but they should be applauded for broadening the brunching menu. Who wouldn’t be interested in Broad bean, pea, mint and feta mash with prosciutto, and poached eggs [$17] or the Brekkie roll with ham, fried eggs, cheese, tomato relish and rocket [$10]. Unfortunately for me, the long wait had made me a little disorientated and the desire for brunch had slowly died with an “unch” becoming more appealing. I ended up going for the Spiced Lamb Burger with roasted capsicum, rocket and tzatziki on a toasted challah bun served with chips [$16.50].
Even though the small buns were very inviting, they weren’t reflective of the chefs original vision. We learnt later by talking to one of the owners that they didn’t anticipate such a high volume of brunch-goers, creating a short supply of food and a lot of creative improvisation by the chef. The burger was intended to be more of man-sized. Putting aside pre-planning and first weekend opening issues, my meal still looked yum and surprisingly tasted quite good. The lamb patties had a nice spice that was pleasantly acknowledged without being over dominating. The tzatziki sauce was the right texture to complement the pattie. My favourite element of the burger was the roasted capsicum as it was cooked to perfection as there wasn’t any trace of charcoal or being too soft. It delivered a good smokey taste and the moisture from the capsicum made it a notable burger.
Like any skill, sport or profession that we take up, we are not expected to be the best on our first, second or even third attempt. Mistakes are a part of life, but it’s how you react to the mistake which I believe defines us. Whilst there was the wait and the unfortunate event of running out of ingredients, there were also some fantastic elements of Gardiner and Field worth checking out. Such mistakes can be rectified and with a little time to work out their kinks I believe they will deliver a fantastic brunch for all.”
“When fellow blogger Daisy invited us to join her for brunch, we could hardly say no. Her super friendly online (and real life!) personality makes her a real treat and so we were delighted to catch up with her at the opening weekend for new inner suburban cafe Gardiner and Field.
The day was bright and full of hope as we waited outside amongst the hoard of fellow brunchers, our name patiently on the list. Time ticked away as we compared notes about our favorite dining experiences and the crowds seemed to swell – not quell – as we went on. A peek inside the venue revealed a rather small layout – the barista station was well adorned but the interior dining space was tiny, seating mainly tables for two, with only one or two tables suitable for groups. No wonder the wait was so long!
Quite literally one hour and ten minutes (!) later we were seated at the far end of an outdoor wooden bench. It was the longest wait I’d ever had to endure for a seat but our newfound company had kept my spirits high.
Waiters were hard to come by in the outside area and so we pounced on one walking by, ordering our coffees, which in my case was a double espresso [$3] of the house blend Gardiner and Field.
Our coffees came out and I was unsure if I had been given a double or single shot, as the cups were quite wide. The flavour of the coffee were lovely and had a notable hit of berries. Daisy didn’t feel her mocha was up to scratch, and after having a sip I could see why – it was far too watery and didn’t have a very prominent chocolate flavour.
It was time to order and the menu looked pretty yum. I’d decided on the Baked rhubarb and strawberries rolled in French toasted tortillas with orange, mint and a sprinkle of granola [$14.50] with a Snickers milkshake [$5] to accompany it, because I’m a guts. Daisy had ordered the Spiced Quinoa, pumpkin and chickpea fritters with flatbread, spiced yoghurt, coriander and poached eggs [$16.50] and a Cherry Ripe milkshake [$5].
Whilst we chatted as we waited for our orders to come through it was evident the cafe was entirely overwhelmed with the crowds that had arrived to try their food. Groups of four were milling around inside, outside and on the roadside. The maitre de looked rather stressed and I couldn’t help but sympathise with her.
My milkshake was first out and it was delicious! With real Snickers blended into the drink, my crunchy nut and chocolate milkshake was curbing my hunger pangs. Daisy’s Cherry Ripe milkshake was also quite reflective of the name, and rather delicious!
When our dishes came out I was pretty satisfied with what I saw. While the serving sizes seemed a little small I knew that it would be enough given my milkshake was well on its way to filling up my belly.
My main dish was lovely; the rhubarb and strawberries were sweet without being sickening. The French tortillas were a marvelous idea – somewhere between a French crepe and a Mexican tortilla. The shell was beautifully cooked and was not too sweet. The granola was generous and wasn’t just there for its looks – they created crunch, adding some dynamics in what was served. The orange was really juicy and cleansed the palate just when the strawberries and rhubarb became a bit routine.
Daisy shared one of her quinoa balls with us and it was packed with a cumin punch. The balls themselves were a little soft and fell apart as soon as I stuck my fork into it. I suspect this is because the kitchen had run out core ingredients, as I didn’t taste the pumpkin or the chickpeas (I think the chickpeas would have helped the balls stick together?!). It was still delicious though!
We couldn’t help but overhear one of the waiters talking to a customer about how they had such a high demand the previous day that they’d run out of bread! Yikes!
I had a taste of Mr LBs lamb burger and it was delicious, but the stand out element on his dish was definitely the chips. Being a big chip fiend I have to say they were extremely well made. They were a little flakey on the batter, golden brown, CRISPY, fluffy on the inside and perfectly salted. YUM!
As we were coming towards the end of our meals I noticed that the crowds had suddenly disappeared. An announcement shortly after was made to remaining brunchers that the kitchen had closed early. We talked to one of the owners – Jesse and he said they didn’t expect so many people on opening weekend and that they’d basically run out of food in the kitchen!
Overall the food at Gardiner and Field was good, but they need a bit of time to organise and prepare themselves for the weekend crowds. Hopefully they’ll sort themselves out for next weekend and order more supplies like bread rolls, bread and chickpeas! These guys are definitely worth keeping an eye out for and if you decide to go I’d heavily suggest you keep it to a group of two and go early morning or on a weekday. Happy brunching!”
Final thought: “Cafe worth watching… definite up and comer. Suitable for pairs – not groups”