217 – 219 Main North Road
Sefton Park 5083
So, having seen a constant barrage of friends and acquaintances ‘checking in’ on Facebook at The Coffee Barun the crew thought this fabled secret (that is being smeared all over social media) was worth a visit it on a rainy Sunday morning.
Okay, first things first, it is not easily distinguishable as a coffee house when approaching. It looks more like an un-gated early learning centre. Swarms of children waddled everywhere like lost ducklings, some of these little tykes standing right on an arterial road. Naturally, quite unnerving for the innocent observer. Venturing inside confirmed the facade, akin to a childcare centre or the toy department of Ikea. Children adorned the room space, sprouted under tables and hung from the ceiling (well, almost) and were definitely not confined to the ‘kid’s corner’. Hence The Coffee Barun is most certainly family friendly. If however you do not like children running around under foot plus the obstacles of strollers then you be best not advised to go here for a relaxing morning coffee as you will be more outraged than disappointed.
Inside it was hectic and when two of us scored a table (which was a pleasant surprise considering how busy they were) we were able to fully take in our surroundings. The most obvious thing is that there is a lot of coffee machines and coffee parts taking up one half of the cafe and not in an artistic fashion.We think that these are actually in use or for sale – although there was no obvious reason to the first time visitor why all this stuff was there (see picture below). The other half of The Barun is very simple with adequate space between tables to allow private nattering or burping of children.
While there are rows of booths on one side please do not think they are the Seinfeld ‘ultimate seats’. These booths look inviting for sure, but there is no table service and would get gawkers constantly nosing over your order assessing whether your culinary tastes are up to scratch. On the flip side however the booth sitters do get the filthy pleasure of eating their meals directly in front of the poor suckers waiting in line to order, which is no quick feat taking some 10 minutes to deplete (for the first half of our visit the line to order was no less than 13 people deep).
Now the first thoughts were that the food and coffee must be amazing for anyone to line up that long simply just to order. So when the line diminished slightly , two of us ordered coffee while waiting for the other two team members to arrive. Naturally during our wait in line we oogled everyone else’s meals and eavesdropped on their conversations (offering life advice when appropriate).
With ample time to examine both the menu and the actual product we could say that the food comprises of a typical big breakfast menu (bacon & eggs, eggs benedict, pancakes etc) with the mandatory healthy options together with a wide selection of supporting drinks. The menu also contains a list of extras to add to any meal (one of us ordered tasty cheese to go in our scrambled eggs only to recieve a slice of cheese on our eggs – we suppose ‘on’ is not ‘in’ but better than on the side or ‘none’ but at least it had melted a little bit). There are pizzas and other ‘lunchy’ things on the menu but no pizzas were harmed in the making of this review (and we saw noone else eating them either).
The coffee comes in either a medium or large big white cup with the larger weighing closer to that of a lead cannon ball. In addition to sit downs there also seems to be a considerable amount of people ordering take-away coffees. We ordered a selection including:
Long Black – a bit ‘blergh’ with no crema (maybe we are just used to our delicious 60cents Nespresso long blacks)
Belgian Mocha – yum but expensive ($5.50)
Belgian Chocolate – a bit disappointing, not as rich as expected and pricey (also $5.50)
Cappuccino – enjoyed and did not need any sugar as tasted a little sweet
The food was presented beautifully as you can see in the below pictures but it was just not rocking our worlds. One of the team ordered the signature dish – The Barun Breakfast which was “all in all okay except the bread was stale and the sausage was less than average’. Another ordered Eggs Benedict with a side of mushrooms, which was described as “like cutting through an old shoe”. Apparently the bagel on which it was served on might have been passed through the microwave, making it both leathery and mushy, a cardinal bagel sin which was repeated on another team member’s Eggs Royale (Eggs Benedict with salmon instead of bacon). The mushrooms tasted old and earthy which indicated they had been hanging around for quite some time. Needless to say the Eggs Benedict was not finished with a mashed bagel laying forlorn and neglected on the plate. The Eggs Royal themselves were cooked perfectly, with a beautiful runny yolk, however The Barun was a bit stingy on the salmon with only two small peices (it looks like more when they curl it into the neat flower on top).
Thankfully there was no need to wait for an account (paid upfront) although maybe they should consider table service with the mega line up at times, or even maybe a take-away queue and a dine-in queue? The food and drinks were not cheap at $18.50 for the signature dish and $4.50 for along black it was nearly $50 per couple.
With all the hype up for The Coffee Barun we went in expecting some brilliant breakfast coffee house, however what we felt like we got was Starbucks doing cooked breakfasts. Our review may have been very scrutinising but with the ramp-up we have received we expected results. The area it is located in must help its success, as it is a shining beacon of coffee and food in an otherwise desolate food zone. It is great to see new places like this opening up but service, quality and value for money is what keeps a business running in times of struggle. We wouldnt’ hurry back.
5.5 out of 10 forlorn bagels.