Friday, 14 September 2007

A Debacle

I had a frustrating day at work, though not really a debacle. But certainly annoying enough that when the bloke suggested going out for a beer I was all enthusiasm. We decided on Debacle, in Lonsdale St, Braddon - another favourite place. They have dozens of interesting beers from all around the world, and even their tap beers are unusual: they include Coopers, Zierholtz, Chimay and Old Speckled Hen. And Mercury cider. (Hi to my friend Fiona!) I'm told they have an excellent wine list, too, but I rarely seem to get to that. I started with a German Ale from Fyshwick brewers Zierholz - another great local product - and moved on to a German Weissbier.

We ordered a couple of small pizzas - I wanted anchovies, so no sharing was happening - and a salad. Service was very quick, despite how crowded the place was. The pizzas were excellent - a well-risen yeasty crust, and a good balance of toppings, not too heavy on the cheese. Mine was a variation on the classic napolitana, with fresh basil and roast capsicum as well as the olive and anchovy. I didn't get any of the bloke's pepperoni one, but it looked good. The rocket, baby spinach and parmesan salad is delicious, with super fresh greens and a very generous hand with the cheese. Ahhh, pizza and beer. Is there any ill you cannot cure?

The one big problem I have with Debacle is that it's horribly noisy. The interior is a big cavernous concrete-floored space, with walls and ceiling all flat, sound-reflecting surfaces. Add a lot of cheerful drinking people, chattering away and clinking their glasses and plates, and it's almost impossible to converse with anyone whose ear is not right there in front of you. And if there's sport on the big TV, the roar is even worse. It's better in summer, or on a sunny day, when you can sit outside. They do have outdoor gas heaters, but all the tables near heaters were taken last night.

Their blackboard dinner menu always sounds fabulous, but this kind of atmosphere screams "bar", not "restaurant", and I've always stuck to pizza or their delicious, if rather salt-laden, tapas. Can you really eat a chef's special fine meal while surrounded by people shouting? Obviously some people do, but not me. Perhaps a Monday night might work better. It's also usually good for brunch, when people are a bit quieter - any weekend morning you'll find it packed with cyclists. Or it's great for a lunch, when it's a bit less crowded. The breakfast and lunch menus are well worth the visit - great food, though the coffee's been pretty average in my experience. Try the potato rosti at breakfast, or the sugar cured salmon salad for lunch. Yum.

Cooking Today: Probably just leftovers - there's lentil & sausages to either finish up or freeze.

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