Daughter and I had errands to run in Bendigo and when we were done a sit down and a bite to eat was wanted. We both felt like sitting outside and so we headed off to Bath Lane. I felt tempted to go back to the balcony at Cafe Au Lait, but resisted the old in favour of the new. We went to The Green Olive first, and sat down at the last outside table, which was jammed in the corner and positioned in the full sun. There was nothing fresh sounding on the menu so we jumped up and scooted next door to Bath Lane Cafe as we could see that there were free tables in the shade there. Obviously this is no slight on The Green Olive as we fully appreciate that they do not control the sun!
|Where we didn't go|
I visited Bath Lane Cafe over Christmas, and my preference when reviewing is to have been to the venue at least once before I write the review. That seems fair to me as a place can have an out of character bad day or good day. The last time I was there I quite liked the food but overall found it to be a bit 'suburban' and lacking in hospitality. On that occasion we sat at our table for awhile before we noticed that there was no table service. Even though there were floor staff delivering meals and clearing tables all around us, no-one approached to let us know that. Given that we had been just sitting there with no meals, drinks or menus one would think that a well trained staff member would be alert to the needs of the customer.
But that was then, this is now and on this occasion I knew the drill and was able to get the menus and order drinks like a professional!
Ever since I had the piadini at Origini Cafe in Castlemaine I have had a craze on sandwiches, how passe of me! But I am really appreciating the quality of fresh bread and good ingredients that shine through without being masked by technique, even one as simple as toasting. So in the spirit of that, I ordered the Turkey Sandwich served with cranberry and cos. Daughter ordered the Lamb Salad with Chickpea and tomato.
|In case you've never seen a sandwich before, here's a photo of one.|
My sandwich was nice, nothing more than that. The bread was decent, I suspect it was a white sandwich loaf or similar from The Good Loaf which is just around the corner. The turkey wasn't 'real', as in off the bone. It was processed, which was somewhat of a disappointment given that it should have been the hero of the dish. Then there was a bit of Cos and some cranberry, which was likewise nothing spesh, just something store bought. But despite those negatives it was still nice, kind of fresh and simple in a homemade way. I'd give it a 6.5 out of 10.
|Lamb etc salad|
Daughter had the Lamb Salad. At first she was really liking it, the flavours were good and well balanced with lots of versatility and texture, at that point she was rating it at an 8 out of 10, but then she quickly came to realise that it was totally over powered by the dressing and that all she could taste was balsamic vinegar. It became apparent that she couldn't finish it because of the excess of dressing. So the rating? It was 3 out of 10 and dropping by the time she bailed on it.
|You can see how totally drenched and soggy the dish quickly became|
I feel that my initial opinion of Bath Lane Cafe was right. It seems as if it was once really great and vibing, but has since been bought by a management team who don't really understand what made it good in the first place. That's just my take on it, I could be totally wrong! But, I'm not, because otherwise there would have been staff to ask us if there was something wrong with the half eaten salad. There wasn't any such staff, and given that we had had to pay when we ordered, we just got up and walked away.
I know that this is the way of the world and Bath Lane Cafe is no different than many, many other cafes. I would even go back there, I just wouldn't expect much from them, other than the chance to sit down and have something to eat and drink.
Is it a Great Eat? Not exactly
Bath Lane Cafe13 Bath Lane, Bendigo
Phone: (03) 5441 5400