Friday, 3 August 2012

Lawley's Bakery Café (Highgate, Perth WA)

616 Beaufort St
Mt Lawley Western Australia 6050
(08) 9328 6866
http://www.lawleys.com.au/
Hours:
    Mon-Sun 6:30 - 18:00


Lawley's Bakery Cafe on Urbanspoon Mount Lawley's bakery café sells a huge range of breads, cakes, pastries, and pies at good prices.

THE PLACE - The whole place looks large and rambling, and the seating area is unglamorous.  At the same time, it has an air of familiarity that can be really welcoming and it is very pleasant for normal days visits. That is why it attracts a mix of people of all ages, gender and professions.

THE FOOD 

* Their breakfast menu are acceptable and decently priced. The Big Lawley's breakfast is quite big and filling.  Not bad, but as good as the one you could easily prepare at home. 

* Their pies are completely forgettable, and are not baked on site, but by a supplier in Osborne Park. They had a few unusual things and flavours, and some of them look tempting, but they lack in flavour and are filling with lots of thick gravy and spare drops of the supposed filling. Go and grab yours elsewhere.

* Some of the sweets, on the contrary, are great. I am very picky with sweets, and I cannot stand too much sweetness or lack of flavour. In that regard, some of Lawley's sweets fit my palate perfectly. 

- The fruit tartlets and matching petit-fours are delicious, especially the berries and citrus ones. The chocolate petit-fours are average. Some of the other tartlets are too sweet, and not that exciting, an example being the forgettable lemon lime brulee tartlet. 

- The fruit cheese cakes are great: very light, mousse-like, fresh, right amount of sugar, very tasty and quite big.

* Lawley's has a great variety of breads: gluten free, sourdough, sweet, savoury, Italian, German, French, Turkish, and everything in between. They are not cheap, but not expensive either for that sort of gourmet bread. The most exotic breads are great for special occasions and whimsical moments. My favourite loaves are the sourdough fig & fennel, and the sultanas & walnuts (the latter especially), which are perfect for gourmet breakfasts at home.  Their rye and sunflower lunch rolls are my fav bread in here, followed by the simple rye long rolls - fluffy but dark in colour and rich in rye.

THE COFFEE

I have heard so many things about the coffee, that I was expecting one of those "weakies" that are spreading throughout Perth like the Plague. To my surprise the coffee was quite strong and dark, a bit bitter actually, so it definitely needed of sweetening. It was really well prepared and decent.  

THE SERVICE
 The service is uneven, varies from person to person, but most staff are friendly and nice; still, there is an I-don't-care-about-you air that really annoys me, which is especially evident when visiting in the quieter hours of the afternoon-evening. You could place yourself in front of any of the stands, nobody in the shop, and none of the staff would even care. It has happened to me. Still, I have found that when the place is really full, and flooded with customers, the guys put the batteries on and are very fast, efficient, friendly and serviceable. Should not be the other way around? Puzzling! Some of the guys do not give a damn about customers, unless they find them flirting material. But, hey, this is not high school, or is it?
* I  expect the staff to know the basic ingredients and taste of the products they sell as this is part of the job. I asked a staff member a few questions: Is this hot? Is this very sweet? Is this chocolate? Is this spicy? Dunno. I haven't tried it. That is unacceptable.


ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
1/ The owners should be training new staff to know the basic ingredients and taste of the products on sale, so they can inform customers when they ask. You do not have to try anything, just learn it by heart.
2/ The staff should make an effort to show a bit of more enthusiasm and friendliness towards customers, especially when the shop is empty.
3/ The seating area needs a revamp, and a bit of detachment from the selling area. The floor absolutely needs to be changed, as it makes the place looks uglier than it actually is. 
3/ Lawley's does not accept EPFTOS unless you expend +10$. They should charge a few cents for this sort of transaction, so it benefits both the business and the customer, not just the business.
6/ They should have different sizes of packing boxes. They pack the petit-fours and cakes without any care, unless you ask them to do so. They have big boxes for big cakes, and cartoon trays for others, but not small covered boxes. So, if you are walking with your sweets, you will get a deformed amorphous thing when you get home. 
7/ Remove the chocolate cheese cake from the menu. Good looks are not enough. It tastes odd!
8/ The bread slicer does slice the bread unevenly. So please fix that. It is annoying getting slices that are too thin and others too thick in the same loaf! 

RECOMMENDATIONS
- Go to Lawley's for the fruit cheesecakes, the fruit tartlets, fruit petit-fours, and sweet breads. I prefer New Norcia sourdoughs any time, to be honest, but the sweet breads here are fantastic as well as the rye lunch rolls.

- This is a perfect place to get home-made style breakfast, which is great for lazy cooks (me!) and tradies.
- If you fancy some of the petit-fours, but do not need them for any special event, buy the matching tartlets, which are bigger, comparatively cheaper, and taste the same. 
- If you need to use your card for little purchases go elsewhere, so you are not forced to buy anything you do not want. 
- If you find the service annoying write a review. Most of the times, being understanding does not help things to improve. Hopefully, many people complaining about the poor service will make it better. 

UPDATE 15/8/2012
Not even two weeks from my review on this place, and Lawley's has moved from their unglamorous previous location to a very nice, smaller but cozier, location a few meters up the hill, now at 616 Beaufort St in a little building painted with their trademark  blue colour, in front of Zakka. It looks way better, cleaner, much more modern and much more inviting to have something in the premises. 

Some of the lazy people that used to be there are not longer there, at least at the times I usually visit, and most of them are quite nice and attentive.

Well done Lawleys!

Now that bread slicer is still slicing my bread badly. Is it so costly replacing or fixing the one they have? The one at Lawley's Subiaco works perfectly.

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