Crowded House, 48 Ferguson St, Williamstown. Phone: 9397 5526
With its copious amounts of vintage wood, open kitchen and hip vibe, Crowded House no doubt is a magnet in an area of many worthy but often uninspiring eateries.
Thankfully on this Saturday lunchtime, the feeling is far from being one of trendier-than-thou, with a cheerful hubbub surrounding many happy tables of folks, including a lot of families, tucking into various meals and post-noon brekkies.
We find the service terrific and the wait time for our meals pleasingly brief.
We’re only after light meals, so I steer Bennie away from the more substantial fare and towards the blackboard menu of paninis and bagels.
He does good with his panini of “bacon, egg, jacks cheddar and mayo” ($9.50). The mayo looks decadently scrumptious.
He rates his classy, sophisticated BLT variant “yum out of 10″.
Seeing as the soup of the day, parsnip and carrot ($13.50), is being served with “artichoke chips”, I am expecting something a little sexy on the side to join the Phillippas toast.
So I am disappointed when the chips are more like shavings that act as little more than a garnish.
The soup is fine – it has good parsnip flavour and tastes quite peppery.
But the admission price doesn’t seem to equate to particularly good value for money, especially when I see some of the more substantial meals about us.
We specifically eye with envy the “tempura calamari salad, chorizo, roasted capsicum, olives, roquette, fetta with lemon and olive oil dressing” and the “lamb koftas with traditional tabouli, hummus, labna and pita”.
That both these and half a dozen other meals (see menu below) are selling for $17.50 would seem to constitute a sooper dooper bargain.
Next time, you bet!
Flat-screen TVs: Nope.
We depart happy to have spent time in this cool cafe, if a little wistful about menu items untried.
Next job for the day is to deal with the messy result of some inept, clumsy parking skills by our driver – that would be me.
It’s at this point we discover our new(ish) car lacks a jack.
Oh how we wish we’d done the flat-tyre business before lunch – then we could’ve enjoyed supping as we waited an hour or so for the RACV …