I recently had the good fortune of going to Australia to indulge in my other hobby. As soon as I found out that I was going, I looked into possible places I could review. Being on someone else's schedule and without a vehicle of my own meant I was going to be limited to places near where we would be staying. I made a list of places that given the opportunity I could make a try for. I wasn't having much luck until halfway through the trip an opportunity finally arose in Melbourne. Early one morning and I was able to strike out on my own.
Before we get into the review, I should mention some of the related culture shock I experienced while on this trip. Like Vincent Vega said in "Pulp Fiction," "it's the little differences." Free internet access is nearly non-existent. List of places with reliable free wi-fi: McDonalds, Starbucks. End of list!
Breakfast is referred to as "brekkie." All coffee there is espresso--ALL OF IT.
That last one is a big one. I'm a simple man, I like butter on my toast and coffee in my mouth--regular filtered coffee. You order a regular coffee there and they will bring some watery instant stuff from a packet. They have their espresso drinks dialed tight (I have come to enjoy a 'flat white' espresso when the opportunity presents itself), but regular coffee not so much. Refills were not free and in an already expensive country, my habit was severely denting my per diem. I had taken to carrying a travel mug with me so I could refill with the instant coffee packets found in my hotel rooms.
My destination that morning was The Pancake Parlour. I should say, it is a chain in Australia. I think it was okay to break my "no chain" policy while on another continent. This location, in downtown Melbourne, was actually on the lower level of a shopping complex. It was located across from The Reject Shop, which the name alone made me so want to shop there after my "brekkie." Turns out that The Reject Shop is just the Aussie version of Big Lots. Honesty, pass it on.
Traveling down the escalator I was greeted by this wonderful Victorian-esque mural. I don't know what a "pancake tossing race" is but I'm pretty it was the sexiest thing since exposed ankles at the beach.
This photo doesn't sell it as much as I'd like but The Pancake Parlour is like a bizarre mash-up of an IHOP and an old-school Shakey's Pizza.
Checking out the menu I was a little surprised that so much of the focus was on pancakes. I know that sounds weird, but I expected a scatter-shot menu--"family restaurant" style--an Outback Jack-s Of All Trades, if you will (yes, I did just make that joke). This was all about pancakes, both sweet and savory and then a few token salads and egg breakfasts.
Within seconds of scanning the menu my jaw dropped and I heard a hosanna from the angels.
Everything is better with a monkey on it.
I couldn't decide between the Jamaican Banana or the Hot Buttered Walnut pancakes. That's when I saw it.
...SWEET, SWEET REGULAR OLD DRIP COFFEE.
I can't really evaluate if this was good or not...but it was hot and familiar and it definitely was good at the time. A tiny taste of home that served its purpose.
In fact, as I was finishing up and the waitress came by to ask if there was anything else she could do for me, I asked her if she could refill my coffee one last time. When she came back with the pot, I asked if she could just pour it directly into my travel mug. She seemed confused but she did oblige.
Price $18-22--yes expensive, but you don't tip in Australia so it balances out a bit.
Pie: No pie.
The Pancake Parlor
Bourke Street Mall
Pancake Parlour website