Sunday, 8 September 2013
From my Veggie Kitchen to the New York Kitchen
Today, being on holiday and being a big fan of going out for breakfast or brunch, I decided to go for a very late breakfast with my boyfriend, David. A trip away from my beloved veggie kitchen! Perhaps my love of going out for meals early on in the day stems from the years I lived in Berlin, where weekend brunch was always very popular - almost all cafes seemed to offer an all-you-can-eat brunch deal, and often they were also very cheap (some even included a cheeky glass of prosecco). Those Berlin brunches offered something for everyone, with muesli, fruit, bread and cheese/meat, waffles (often of the DIY variety, which added an extra sense of fun), cooked breakfast fare, pasta dishes, and stew-type offerings. And cake, of course. I fell in love with the idea of going for brunch. But then I returned to the UK, and realised that here, brunch is something very different.
We seem to have adopted the idea of brunch from America, as a lot of brunch offerings seem to include pancakes and maple syrup - or perhaps it is just another form of 'all day breakfast', with the full Scottish/English fry up being on offer. But that's ok too. A lot of places offer a full vegetarian breakfast, and I happen to love those (when they are done right. No points to a certain hotel where I was once served a plate of baked beans with two mushrooms on the side as their idea of a full veggie breakfast). So I was very excited about our little breakfast experience today.
We decided to try out a fairly local and fairly new cafe, called the New York Kitchen (at the Thornwood end of Dumbarton Road, Glasgow). First impressions were fairly good - I like the style of the place, all cute red tablecloths and wooden tables, and lovely big patio doors at the front letting in plenty of natural light. A print of the New York cityscape hanging on the wall. The soundtrack of 1940s American crooners on the stereo (at an appropriate volume) completed the mood.
The first thing we heard was the waitress announcing to another table that there were no bagels, to the obvious disappointment of the diners. Not a great start, but onwards and upwards, I thought. We were then informed (after having ordered our drinks) that there were also no waffles. Of course, that was exactly what we were both going to order. So, time to re-consult the menu. Fine. The waitress then reappeared to inform us that there was also no salmon. I was beginning to wonder what the cafe actually did have to serve us.
My chocolate milkshake was delicious, no doubt about it. But David's orange juice came straight from a carton - disappointing, to say the least. Surely freshly-squeezed orange juice is a big part of the whole breakfasting-out experience? Food-wise, I had opted for the full American breakfast, without the meat. The waitress did offer to give me extra hash browns and pancakes, which scored her some points with me. (I hate it when you order something without the meat part of the dish, and then get charged full price - I appreciate that you're asking for customisation, but really, the higher price is surely justified by the expensive meat on your plate. So by offering some substitutes for the meat, things seem fairer.)
However, I have to say, I wish I hadn't had all the extras, as the overall standard was poor. The fried eggs were decent, and the hash browns were also fine (though I suspect probably they came straight from the frozen section of the supermarket), but the pancakes and French toast were really not good. Completely dry and tasteless, I got the impression that they had been sitting under the heat lights for some time, waiting on some unsuspecting diner to order them. Having drowned both in maple syrup, I was happy to almost clear my plate (I was hungry!), but we were both disappointed, and definitely won't be making any return trips.
This is a perfect example of a cafe with potential - it is in a good location (that part of the street has been attracting a few more eating establishments over the past few years), and the vibe of the place is spot on. But the food (which should surely be the star of the show) really lets it down. Up your game, New York Kitchen, as I really wanted to like you, but just can't recommend a cafe with food as substandard as yours!