The Reading Room

88 Ballarat Road, Footscray, Victoria University,
Building P, Ground floor
Date visited: 30th June 2013

MerlinFan and I had a catchup with ChocolateMuffin today this sunny but cold Sunday morning.  After picking ChocolateMuffin up, we headed to one of the cafes in her neighbourhood, The Reading Room.

The cafe itself was located on the Ground Floor of Building P in the Footscray Park campus of Victoria University.  There was free parking along Hoadley Court on the weekend.  

The cafe was bright and sunny with glass windows all around.  On a lazy Sunday late morning, it was barely full and there were still plenty of seats outside.

Now, you can actually make table reservations for The Reading Room online.  Apparently.  MerlinFan told the waitress that she had made a reservation.  The waitress asked when we made the reservation before briskly saying nope, they never got a request.  Anyway, the place was more than half empty anyway, so that wasn't much of an issue.

Our condiments and cutlery came in a cute metal tin, and our water in a Johnny Walker bottle.  

Our coffees took quite a while to arrive.  ChocolateMuffin got the Cappuccino.

I got the Chompy by Sensory Lab in a latte.  There was no coffee art.  As promised, it had a dark chocolate flavour, similar almost to a mocha.

Chompy Latte
MerlinFan had a Candyman by Small Batch in a latte as well.  This one tasted rather nutty.

Now, it was super annoying but when MerlinFan told the waitress she would like the Candyman, the waitress replied condescendingly "it's a coffee."  

Umm, obviously... what did she think MerlinFan thought it was?  
This Candyman?  

(could have just said his name five times in front of a mirror and get him for free)

Or this Candyman, perhaps?

Duh, oh course we knew it was a coffee.  If she didn't think a customer knew what a Candyman was, she could have just explained and asked the customer how she wanted her coffee.  It would have come across friendly and helpful.  The patronising tone was totally unnecessary, dude.

Food took another fairly long while to arrive.  ChocolateMuffin had the Colonel's Mistress.

Colonel's Mistress $16.50
This was Southern fried chicken sitting on a bed of mango, lime and peanut slaw with chipotle aioli.  The seasoning on the chicken was pretty nice and ChocolateMuffin liked the salad.

MerlinFan had The BFG

The BFG$15
Two halves of a brioche French toast drizzled with maple syrup and served with crispy bacon and a tiny sprinkle of crushed candied walnuts.  The brioche was nice and fluffy, however would have used more maple syrup or even a bottle to serve yourself.  MerlinFan enjoyed the crispy bacon.

I had the Crackle-San.

Crackle-San $17

The roasted free range pork belly was nice enough but was not as good as the one I had at Industry Beans - this wasn't quite as juicy, and the crackle not as crisp or well salted.  It was also quite a tiny square for the price paid.  Oh well.  The velvet sweet potato was all right, and there was a little salad of pickled cucumber, chilli marmalade and wasabi mayonnaise (not sure I detected any wasabi BTW).

Now, although MerlinFan and ChocolateMuffin enjoyed their dishes, the coffees were pretty standard and we were unimpressed and mildly annoyed by the somewhat dismissive and condescending staff member's attitude.  With so many spectacular cafes around Melbourne with genuinely friendly service and great food, I don't see a reason to return.

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