Amongst the suburban backyard of Perth's dining scene lies a well known strip of quaint cafes where many food explorers and neighbourhood locals will pop in for a cosy brunch for two or an afternoon of tea and baked delights. Needless to say, Mrs. S is literally the cornerstone of Maylands and conveniently located across the street from the Maylands Train Station. I've heard a lot of great things and read a lot of stellar reviews, but yet something held me back from dining at Mrs. S' each time. I had a sinking feeling that one of the most dreaded words in any foodie's dictionary was about to come up, being "overrated". Armed with a batch of fresh faced uni mates whom were all feeling the post exam bliss, we decided to myth-bust Mrs. S' reputation of being one of Perth's favourite brunch places.
It was 11:30AM on a Friday and tough love for those trying to find empty seats, so much so that the four of us were left to the mismatched furniture outside the cafe itself. I had seen the Little Golden Books menus around the internet and already had my heart set on Mrs. S' infamous cornbread with gooey yolk porn to boot. However, no such luck as by the time we had managed to get settled into our table, service had rolled over into the lunch menu. I was pleased to see that Mrs. S changed things up seasonally and their Winter offerings actually featured a lot of delicious sounding meals! Orders were taken inside the bustling cafe at the counter, where a mouth watering display of cakes were on show. They looked so good that we make a pact to share a few slices later after brunch.
We were all a little disappointed with our coffees, which all came out in a rather staggered process; some were cold, some were not filled to the top, but unfortunately, all were mediocre. My Mocha especially was a disappointment, as I was met yet again with the age old Mochadentity crisis where my beverage of choice falls short of being a coffee, but is too strong to be called a hot chocolate.
Having thought that soup was always one of the cheaper options on most brunch menus, I was surprised that such a shallow dish was priced within the same range that 2 eggs, a something and toast would be. The hunks of Ciabatta were generously sliced thick and the soup, adorably garnished but when I got around to tasting it, I had to take a second spoonful just to make sure that my taste buds hadn't gone amiss. It was unfortunately bland and lacked the hearty punch of one of the most classic soup combinations there ever were. Considering it's price, this was a little disappointing.
My love for Pulled Pork has stemmed for many a Americana themed lifestyle channel shows and of course, from my local favourite, Harvest Espresso's delicious Pulled Pork offering. I sneaked a forkful of the Beetroot Pickle and wasn't extremely impressed; it was overbearingly sweet. Although I didn't try a healthy sized, whole mouthful for myself, I did pick up on the fact that every component besides the pork was left on the dish by the end of the meal.
Like I mentioned before, Mrs. S can be likened to the menu whisperer because boy, did this dish really speak to me! Keywords being, Salsa Verde, Gruyere, Steak Sandwich, Onion Rings, Jalapeno and Aioli - that is a lot of things to like in a dish and I was really looking forward to it. When the Steak Sandwich was served, I noticed an uncanny resemblance to West End Deli's Steak Sandwich which I tried earlier on this year (and coincidentally, with the same bunch for company). West End Deli's was also open faced and served with three accompanying onion rings. It pains me to use the word "unfortunately" again, but the steak was a little on the rare side for my liking, which made the overall texture of the dish extremely chewy. The Gruyere didn't feature any oozing melted characteristics and was quite overpowered by the sweetness of the capsicum. Even my trifecta of beloved onion rings were soggy and poorly accompanied by a jalapeño aioli that lacked exactly that. This dish had so much potential to be as mind blowingly flavourful as West End Deli's version, but unfortunately it missed the mark on so many key components.
After such a disappointing experience from across the table, we decided to pass up on a second round of coffee and those few slices of cakes that we had so adamantly craved for earlier. It's a shame that when the main aspect of the meal goes downhill, most diners will take it as a sign and go, opting out of desserts completely. What I don't understand is, if this experience at Mrs. S was a serious case of just another over-hyped Perth cafe, or simply just bad luck and timing mixed with a series of kitchen mishaps? Either way, there were the classic kitchen devil's advocates of under seasoning and undercooking that did make their way into our meals. Despite how busy the cafe was at the time, we expected a lot more for the price that we paid and the reputation that Mrs. S has preceded. For this experience, I definitely felt like there was a bit of "copy cat" syndrome happening, especially with the likes of the near identical Steak Sandwich. Yet, despite this...all the dishes were extremely underwhelming. Goodwill and my inner want for Mrs. S to impress me might entice me back for an afternoon slice of cake but until then, I regret to say that I'm left with quite a disappointing impression.
Tuesday to Friday from 7:00AM till 5:00PM, Weekends from 8:00AM till 4:00PM. Closed Mondays.