Saturday, November 25, 2006


I was reminded this morning of two things I hate when breakfasting: being made to wait for over 10 minutes for my caffeine hit and only receiving one piece of toast when ordering poached eggs. Petty, snivelling thing aren't I?

Cafe Kara has been one of my faves over the years. I hadn't been there for yonks so opted to pop in whilst child-free to enjoy a pre-shopping bite and suss out if there were any changes to this inner-city institution. Mmmm, sadly there has.

One thing that hasn't changed is the decor, and it really ought to be. The place seemed overwhelmingly tired, and in need of a refurb. When there's so much competition in the city, one cannot afford to rest on one's laurels and rely on what was looking great 6 years ago. Paint the walls, change the mirror, re-stain the floors: do something!!!

I ordered poached eggs with a side of smoked slamon. They arrived speedily and were pleasant enough, but not great. One piece of toast(unbuttered, why?), 2 eggs, and 3 little swirls of smoked salmon. And of course the obligatory pile of lettuce doused with balsamic. This is another oft-found and irritating feature on many breakfast plates. If I desired a side salad with my eggs, I would order one. In this case, I would have preferred a second piece of toast instead of the greenery.

Coffee was good. I think they still use Grinders, which I find a tad too strong actually, but hubby was very happy with his latte. And the cute latte art.

The service was slow slow slow. We arrived at 9am and although the seated area was quiet, with maybe 2 other tables filled, there was a queue for takeaway coffees about 6 deep. This was keeping the barista busy, but the floor staff were somehow missing in action. I was on the verge of departing in frustration when finally a fellow arrived to take our orders. He was friendly but distracted, and called my beloved 'Sir', which was a bit odd, given they appeared about the same age. Hmmm.

The cafe was pretty empty when we visited, which I guess contributed to the air of neglect; one notices any shabbiness when there's no people-watching to be had or conversations to eavesdrop. Both the other tables comprised women with prams, so I guess it's a good spot for a quiet coffee before you hit the shops with bubs in tow (if you're not in a hurry). The buzzing, pumping Kara I remember from days of old has clearly died. I longingly recalled when Maria used to run the place with flair and passion, and the trouble you'd have getting a table any time of day. There used to be suits having business meetings, lawyers debriefing after a court appearance (yes, that was me before I retired!), all manner of public servants, shoppers, tourists too. Maybe I was just there at the wrong time of day? Who knows, but methinks that Kara's hayday may have passed. Time to re-incarnate please.

Rated 5/10
Cafe Kara, Liverpool Street


Zelda said...

My better half had a similar complaint about Kara when he went there the other day with a friend for lunch. Waited for 50 min or so for food and then had to scoff it as they both had to get back to work.

Anonymous said...

Zelda-go to maccas if you want fast food.
Nellie-Open your own cafe, show us all how its done. Open you wallet also, why dont you contribute to the new fit out of Kara while you are at it & do us all a favour.

Nellie said...

Zelda, did your better half enjoy the food? I'd be interested to hear if the lunch fare was good. The menu looked OK....

Anon, I note that you do not disagree with my comments regarding service and decor etc. Your advice to eat elsewhere will be followed. Thanks.

foodkitty said...

Morning Nellie
Kara has been in a slow downward glide for some months now. It's a real shame.
Because I had already had two caffeine hits (my daily limit, i ordered a pot of tea last time I visited. (And it will be the last time.)

No fancy little beeline china pot here. I'm sure it was a dribbly metal leftover from when Fitzie's cafe closed. Generic teabag, metallic water.
Slovenly service; but at least we weren't hassled to move on and sat there for an hour chatting.

As opposed to Kaos - where we were harrassed after an 11am coffee - did we want something more? Yes, to be left in peace. After the second go, I felt obliged to order a second coffee just to stop the hovering. Fair enough if the place was pumping, but we were the only clients...

Zelda said...

Nellie - it was the tasting plate and I know last time we shared one he did...but I think his lunch companion was a faster scoffer than he is.

Rita said...

Nellie - did I remember wrongly or did you previously have Kara rated at 4/10? It now reads 5/10.

foodkitty said...

Hey Nellie
Saw in the Muckery today that Botanical Gardens is opening for brekky at weekends - let us know if you get there sometime....