Never in my life have I been surrounded with so many cafés, so many options, so many shops fighting to put a warm caffeinated beverage in my hands and send me off to work. In the mere 10 minutes walk to the Eastwood train station, I can think of over 5 cafés, each located within meters of each other, competing for my attention. Cherry Beans Cafe, Pishon Cafe and Sweet Pumpkin Soup Cafe are three that immediately come to mind. Some, intoxicating you with the awakening aroma of their coffee, while the rest repel you with the smell of burned coffee and their lack of appreciation for these magical beans.
One early morning, I dropped by for a strong cappuccino before heading to a martial arts get-together. Pleasantly I was offered a ristretto. For the curious ones, ristretto is a very short espresso shot, giving you more aroma, more oils, more body and less bitterness. When done correctly, the result is a rich tasting, strong coffee that’ll kick you in the lower back-side to wake you up.
The extraction was excellent, but my beloved barista had burned the milk, and that made it difficult to appreciate the coffee. I could look past it, as we’ve had a brief conversation earlier, he seemed genuinely interested in his job and he’d offered me the drink at no extra cost. Life was good.
Later in the week, Tammi and I decided to drop by for a quick afternoon snack. We geared up and headed to Le Bistro Dorine café across the street, [spoiler alert] where my every ideal of customer service was shattered into small pieces, put together using a questionable superglue, just to be broken again. [fair disclaimer, I’m a coffee and service snob].
It was a quiet evening. I waited to place an order while Tammi scouted for a good seat. AHHHH, teamwork! I waited there confused, as why I was being ignored by my barista, while she was chatting away with her colleague![First Strike] After a few minutes she decided to come over and take my order.
I tried ordering another ristretto, but I received a confused, blank look from my barista. I looked like I had to settle for my humble strong cap. I paid with card and joined my special lady at the seats she had strategically chosen.
1x Large Strong Cappuccino w/ 3 sugars $4.10 (+50¢ for extra shot)
1x Cheesecake $10.50
Shortly after sitting down, we were approached by the barista and she asked if we wanted Ice Cream for the side which would cost and extra $5. It was unclear what she was doing. Was she up selling? Was she offering us an add-on at no extra charge?[Second Strike] I could see Tammi losing it, that meant I had to keep it together. You can only have one crazy one in a relationship at any time. We politely declined.
The coffee was pretty average. My milk was steamed and frothed to perfection. But I could taste that extra shot in there, that’s never a good start. My coffee was burned! [Third Strike]
The Cheesecake saved the afternoon. Although it was nothing outstanding, it made up for the less-than-exceptional coffee and service. We savoured the cheese cake and shared a few laughs.
We finished our afternoon snack, while Tammi taught me a few things about photography. When it was time to go, we were approached by who seemed to be the owner and he offered us a loyalty card. That’s good business. [Minus 1 Strike]. Good man!
The Value For Money
The total bill came up to $15.10. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t think they are competitively priced. I can get better quality, faster service just 50 meters down and pay a little less.
If you are in a hurry to catch a train, get back to work after a short break or just don’t have the patience, this may not be the place to visit. The interior is beautifully decorated and makes for a great first date, chilling afternoon or a productive workspace if you need to getaway from the office/home.
I’m really curious to hear your thoughts on the service. Does this sound like a place you’d visit? What’s a deal breaker for you? You can hit me up on twitter or just leave a comment below.
Le Bistro Dorine
02 9858 2269
Shop 206 62-80 Rowe St
Eastwood, NSW 2122