‘The staff are friendly and sweet, but a little clueless’
"Excuse me, what is that?" asks the gentleman at the next table as he enviously eyes off my breakfast at Toowong's Pitch & Fork cafe.
"Kimchi fritters," I reply, as we both admire the Korean-inspired vegie cakes ($18.50) with a tan like Kim Kardashian fresh from the spray booth.
Humming with just the right level of kimchi chilli heat and proclaiming that perfectly crisp crust and just-held-together centre, they glimmer beneath two runny-centred poached eggs dusted with shavings of ricotta salata. A teardrop-shaped slick of pumpkin puree showered with mixed seeds adds a decorative touch to the plate; while a side of bacon ($5) turns the usually vegetarian meal into something carnivores can get excited about.
But this isn't a dish that just looks impressive, it tastes pretty darn good too.
Also winning fans is the American-style Philly cheese steak sandwich ($19.95).
My friend is usually like Goldilocks when it comes to the bread in a burger or sanger. Too crunchy and toasted gets a big thumbs down, as does too soft causing it to disintegrate in your hands. But the rectangular-shaped ciabatta in this version is just right - its exterior perfectly crusty and centre still fluffy, supporting nuggets of beef, rocket and sinus-clearing jalapenos in a web of melted provolone cheese. Add in a bed of terrific golden beer-battered chips and my friend is left raving, while the gentleman at the next table once again professes his food envy.
The rest of the 12-dish menu is a relatively classic affair, though elevated with cheffy touches like poached fruit with warm macadamia custard, house granola and fresh strawberries ($16.50) or panko-crusted portobello mushrooms with a potato cake, wilted spinach and poached eggs ($19.50).
A collection of grab-and-go fare inside includes the likes of ham and cheese croissants, wraps, fruit and nut bars, cookies and French pastries.
Social distancing rules seem to have the small internal space blocked off to diners, with patrons instead sitting in the elegant covered outdoor area with its soaring archways and views over Memorial Park. But some signage or perhaps queuing markers need to be introduced so guests know where to line up when they arrive for their booking or to pick up a takeaway coffee to avoid customers clustering in confusion around the stairwell.
No doubt some slightly more polished waitstaff would help the situation, with the team - though friendly and sweet - a little clueless on the basics of good service. Say like apologising for the lengthy delay with a milkshake order that has been forgotten despite being chased up twice.
When it finally does arrive, however, it is worth the wait, with the "Nutty Professor" ($9) tasting like a liquid Reese's Peanut Butter Cup thanks to its blend of milk, ice cream, chocolate syrup and peanut butter.
A cappuccino also comes with a cocoa hit, the smooth brew decorated with large flakes of chocolate, or you can have your caffeine dose in the form of a batch brew or cold drip. Juices, housemade iced teas, regular teas, chai lattes and fruit smoothies are also available, as are Probiotic Kitchen kombucha, softdrinks and a handful of popular beers and wine.
Pitch & Fork delivers envy-inducing food and we'll just hope the service hiccups are due to post-COVID-19 lockdown rustiness.
Originally published as 'The staff are friendly and sweet, but a little clueless'