To mix my literary metaphors it was the best of cafes, it was the worst of cafes. A real Jekyll and Hyde experience. Well, that's probably a bit of an overstatement but my two visits to Mr Burch were very different experiences.
First impressions were promising. After all, Mr Burch has the 2010 Cheap Eats green stamp of approval glued to the front door. It's a small but popular local café with the coffee machine working away, cakes by the front counter, eight or so tables on the inside and three or four out by the street.
First up was scrambled eggs with bacon and mushrooms on toast. I must admit that I didn't particularly like this. To me scrambled eggs should be light and fluffy. These were different, almost pureed rather than scrambled. I suspect this was achieved with the addition of a little olive oil. While they matched fairly well with the bread (which I would have normally considered over hard) and the flavours were all good, it's not my preferred method of preparing scrambled eggs.
The smarties chocolate brownie looked very cute but was also a bit of a letdown. While the body of the brownie was rich and moist it had obviously been refrigerated at some stage and hadn't yet reached room temperature. Consequently a slight layer of condensation had formed on the top and the icing was a bit wet and runny.
Giving Mr Burch a second chance though proved worthwhile. Mr Burch offers four different varieties of pikelets and I went for the berry compote. These looked a bit dark but were much better than the scrambled eggs a couple of weeks earlier. Three moderately sized but excellent pikelets with fresh berry compote and deceptively filling. Actually these were what the scrambled eggs should have been, light and fluffy but firm.
I've been known to go to pieces over a good crumble and went for the cherry (there was a second type but I can't recall what it was). What had appeared to be two generous slices behind the counter turned out to be one enormous slice. Moist and fruity, this was effectively hoovered down.
After the second, much better food experience I only have one problem with Mr Burch, but it's a big one and I 'm not sure how they can address it. The eating area is far too small for the number of people trying to eat there. It's one thing if you can hear the conversation at the next table, but completely different if it feels like you're sharing a table with half the room. This also made it difficult when trying to pay and leaving with very little space to squeeze past. Consequently for me I'd rate it as a like but only a marginal one. A pity because otherwise they've done well with a small space. One minor point - the staff all seemed very friendly but the service did have a bit of a chaotic feel to it, possibly because it was so cramped.
Food - 7 (average of the two visits)
Service - 7
Ambience - 5.5
Price - 7
129 McKinnon Road
McKinnon Vic 3204
Tel: (03) 9503 4312