Sunday, 29 July 2012

The Tuck Shop Café (Perth WA)

1/178 Newcastle St
Perth Western Australia 6000
(08) 9227 1659
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Hours:
    Tue-Sun 7:00 - 16:00



The Tuck Shop Cafe on Urbanspoon THE PLACE - Located in in a clean spot, The Tuck Shop is tucked away from the hustle of the nearby William Street, in a new area of Newcastle Street that is slightly becoming a preferred location for new eateries. Tuck Shop is a name that perfectly describes what this little café is, a place where people go to eat heartily - passionately I would say. The place is very functional and clean, with every millimetre occupied and mindfully used. The Tuck Shop attracts an heterogeneous group of people, from trade workers to business lads, to glamazones, grannies and yummy mammies, loners and groups of friends.

The ambience is casual but friendly. I love the natural light the place has, which creates a relaxed cosy atmosphere, especially after 1.30 pm, when most people are back to work and the place is what should be - a nice café where to seat and enjoy a nice traditional meal without having the bottoms or elbows of other customers bordering your table, or the conversation of the people next table being part of your day. Although, to be completely honest, I find the later quite entertaining. Some of the one-person tables are actually used for two people, so you will have your companion at 5 mm from your face, which is great if you want to kiss, not much if you want to eat.

THE FOOD -  This is a nice café with fresh produce, hot food prepared and cooked in the premises. They have a small but well balanced menu with very healthy and very earthy options, Mediterranean and British dishes and Australian sizing. Classic dishes that will make everybody happy because they are well cooked, nicely sized, and beautifully plated. Traditional old-school cooking in its full splendour. You go there, you eat well, and you leave full and satisfied. The best thing is that they do not to pretend to be anything fancy and do not overcharge you for what you eat despite the hype.

The pies are huge, full of chunky pieces of meat, which are tender, juicy and full of flavour, and with the right amount of gravy. The Pork Belly should be called Wholly Molly Belly because it is huge, and very tasty;  it is a great winter dish that will feed two women or a traddie :O. The mash potato was my mother's like - divine!

Most ladies seem to prefer the light options, while men (and women with a stomach) prefer the traditional dishes.

THE SERVICE - The service is very good, and I am surprised at finding people complaining about it. What I have found is extremely friendly ladies, running non stop, cleaning my table, taking my order, and putting water and cutlery on my table very fast. All of that with a smile and willingness to serve. Depending on what you order, and how many people are before you, you will get your meal very fast or  you will have to wait a bit, about ten minutes, which is not that bad. Still, nothing to worry about during my lunch break. 

THE COFFEE - I am not a fan of the bland Toby Estate's beans, but Tuck Shop prepares a decent coffee, which is consistently good in the premises and for takeaway.  Still, a bit weak and lacking in flavour for coffee addicts and aficionados 

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
 1/  The place needs a barista that is just in charge of the café and another person attending to the cash machine, instead of the girls doing three jobs. They also need another waiter for rush hours, so the service is more relaxed.
2/ Another table on the footpath would be great, and would give some relieve to the indoors area.
3/ Golden Rule: You do not add salt or pepper to your food until you have tried it. Therefore, instead of asking if you want pepper before testing, they should have a salt & pepper set on each table, so customers can use them (or not) at ease.
4/ Correct the fattiness of the pork belly with some zest, refreshing herb or condiment, so the palate can enjoy the fat without being overwhelmed by it.
5/ The peas mash are OK, not specially tasty and ugly looking. Why not mashing then properly and adding some spices? I know this is the traditional way, but they are boring.

***
I would go to Tuck Shop to eat those dishes that require of culinary skills - traditional food like pork belly, pies, soups and cooked dishes. You can easily prepare the bruschette at home. Still, some of the ones served here are great a perfect for breakfast.

I find completely ridiculous finding people cueing and waiting outside for a considerable amount of time, both on weekends and weekdays, which contributes to the crowding of the place. If they line for a nice café, what would do they do when they find a one-star Michelin, take their tents and camp overnight? Chaps, if the place is full, go elsewhere, and come back another day when the place is not full; this favours a better service and will improve the atmosphere of the place, which is overcrowded, noisy and hectic at the moment.

Location 6.5/10
Layout 6/10
Ambience 6/10
Food 8/10
Coffee 6.5/10
Service 9/10
Pricing 8/10

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