Ashy fag balanced precariously twixt furrowed lips, smoky tendrils clinging with limp determination. Fifty pounds of dimpled ballast jiggling, as if ruffled by the breeze. Hideous polka pants a futile foil to the garish polo tucked deep. Wheezing midriff straining, barely contained…
It’s not quite Berta, but ‘Long’ John Daly and his weapon of choice, Big Bertha, is close enough hey?
It was a reunion of sorts that brought the six of us together. Crazy-o’clock on a Friday morning (for someone accustomed to 7:15 wake ups anyway!), bleary eyed, and not looking forward to an impending work presentation in the slightest. Which crazy git booked that presentation for a Friday anyway…as if that even happens?
Oh yeah…it was me…
Coffee can do wonders though, and a big Berta breakfast even more!
I loved the menu. It was quite exciting seeing some non-traditional flavour combinations being offered, resulting in a moment’s indecision.
Sardines on toast? Spanish rice pudding? Turkish baked eggs? Bruny Island Polish sausage?!
In the end I couldn’t resist trying the mother of all breakfasts. Try this on for size; spring onion pancake, crispy eggs (wtf?!), sticky pork belly, chilli caramel, cucumbe (without the ‘r’…so Frenchy, so chic…) and radish salad!
Before selecting this meal I probably should have given some thought to the poor sods who I was going to have to present to later in the day…let’s just say that the spring onion was ‘prominent’!
So much flavour in one dish though. It would be easy for so many competing elements to result in a hotchpotch of ‘meh’, but in this instance I found myself taken on a SE Asian food tour of epic proportions.
Of course my point of departure had to be the pork belly, and what a send off it provided! Master Chef and MKR have much to answer for when it comes to food critique clichés, with ‘melt in the mouth’ being the most irksome of them all…as much as I am loathe to perpetuate its prevalence, it’s the most apt description for these bite-sized nuggets of fatty, sticky, sweet porcine nothings…and I say ‘nothing’ quite deliberately because they were so light in texture as to feel like they were evaporating in my mouth! Combined with the freshness of the cucumber and it was a match made in heaven.
Next stop was Hong Kong with the spring onion pancake. Again, feather light, yet full of punch. It’s partner in crime was the chilli caramel sauce drizzled around the plate. Another great match.
The crispy fried egg had been cooked so well, with the centre oozy and warm, the exterior cracking under the slightest pressure from your fork. It also paired off very well with the chilli caramel sauce, but what I loved most of all was combining a little bit of egg with a little bit of the crispy fried onion that had been scattered across the dish. It took me back to Indonesia and the ubiquitous bawang goreng.
Then, as if that wasn’t enough, the radish salad, strewn liberally with coriander, provided refreshing little interludes of perhaps a Cambodian or Vietnamese nature. A little bit of crunch, a hint of sour, just delicious.
So many potential flavour combinations in one dish, yet never feeling like it had overextended. I salute the chef, because this dish has elevated Berta in my mind to the lofty heights only seen thus far in the food provided by Pilgrim, and that’s saying something!
Other dishes ordered by my compatriots included the five grain porridge with fruit compote and apple cinnamon crumble, and the corn fritters with poached eggs, haloumi and guacamole. Both looked amazing, and from the occasional unintelligible grunt coming from the other side of the table, I’m pretty sure they tasted just as good! Would that be right Paula? Ann-Maree? 😀
A homemade doughnut or chunk of honeycomb would have been a refreshing palate cleanser of sorts, but I’d already consumed far more than normal for a weekday breakfast, so I respectfully, yet reluctantly, declined.
To be compared to Pilgrim is high praise indeed, yet the crew at Berta fully deserve such accolades.
If it’s fresh, delicious and something just a little bit left-of-centre that you’re after, then Berta is the place to be. In fact, it almost makes ridiculous-o’clock look attractive…!
If you’d a little bit more info, I’d suggest dropping by their website here. It’s pretty bare-bones, but has the important stuff. They also claim a new website is on the way, but I’m sure they’ve been promising this for some time now…?
You could also drop by their Facebook page here, but judging by the lack of interaction don’t bank on getting much love.
Flavours – 10/10
Menu – 10/10
Atmosphere – 7/10 (a reflection on the décor, not the company 🙂 )
Service – 9/10
Value – 9/10
Overall – 9/10
Online presence – 3/10
The observant ones amongst you (isn’t that everyone?) may have noticed a change in scoring scale. Purely a statistical requirement, to get some differentiation between those near the top of the heap.
You may also notice the inclusion of a new measure, regarding a venue’s online presence. While a good meal will always be a good meal, I do feel that a strong social presence is an important attribute these days, and is valued highly by many patrons. I’d love to get your thoughts on t
his, as there is every chance that I’m letting my own preference for online communications to potentially sway my perspective…? Worthwhile, or not?
Update: After receiving some great feedback I’ve decided to keep the ‘Online presence’ scoring, but I won’t let it impact on the overall average. The public has spoken!