- Safe but average food
- Open, busy environment
- Nice staff
This review starts with tragedy… two weeks ago, as I was cooking dinner, the unspeakable happened. The microwave broke. It doesn’t sound like much but when you have a three year old whining because they have to drink cold milk, this becomes an situation of tears and frustration. After three long days of misery, we headed into Belconnen to pick up a new microwave and grabbed a bite to eat at the mall.
I don’t have many brunch options in Belconnen mall but I was starving so we headed to Archibald’s Espresso. Archibald’s is on the upper floor of the mall, opposite Target and Kathmandu. The counter island is slap in the middle of the space. It’s a wooden bar with a glass cake cabinet, and has the violently yellow Archibald’s logo displayed. Black chairs and tables are dotted around behind the counter, using the large, oval planters as seating. It’s a nice, light, airy space, good for people watching.
We arrived at Archibald’s around 10.30am. There was a good crowd seated but we found a table, sitting on one of the planter seats and Michael grabbed a high chair for Bel. We browsed the menu, which was quite well labelled for allergies generally but only had two breakfast items marked as gluten free. The acai smoothie bowl contained granola so I was a little suspicious about there being oats in it, and the vege fritters were marked as gluten free but I was concerned that these would be cross-contaminated while cooking. Plus I didn’t really fancy either of these options!
After a short wait, a staff member came up to take our order. Michael ordered a bacon and egg roll and a small skim flat white, Milly had a pink donut and babycino, and I launched into my cross-contamination speech! The more I talked the more concerned our wait staff looked, especially when I started questioning their toasting methods to see if I could get the eggs on toast. This was not labelled as gluten free but I figured that with a bit of care, it could be achieved.
Despite looking so worried, the wait staff said she’d talk to the chef and get back to me. As we were waiting, a second staff member came up to confirm our coffee orders and how I wanted my eggs cooked. Then the first staff member returned, confirming that the chef could accommodate my toast request! To be honest, I was pretty nervous about eating at Archibalds but figured if I didn’t try, I’d never know if it was a safe. The confusion with our forgotten coffee and eggs order, and the staff’s look of terror regarding cross contamination were not confidence builders. However, the staff were friendly.
Our coffee came out after a slightly too long wait – it wasn’t a long time but it was just long enough to start wondering where our coffee’s were. The coffee was decent though. I had a large skim decaf flat white – I always order a large in case I can’t eat the food so that I have something in my stomach! It was mild and quite milky but it didn’t have that weird chemical taste that decaf sometimes has.
Shortly after the coffee, Amelia’s donut came out followed by our food. While Milly was satisfied with her donut, Michael and I were left a bit disappointed. Michael’s bacon and egg roll came with BBQ sauce on a seeded brioche bun. The brioche was soft and fluffy, and while it was quite nice bread, it didn’t maintain its integrity very well. It also wasn’t as substantial as he expected. Despite there being two eggs and loads of bacon in it, the roll was too small. Also, the fried eggs were undercooked – there were little white uncooked gibbles on them, which is pretty unforgivable for a café.
The eggs on toast were simple. The bread was very lightly toasted, so lightly toasted that ‘toasted’ feels like an exaggeration, gently warmed by the sun’s rays is probably a more accurate description! I suspect the bread they used was from La Bakehouse Exquisite, however when I asked, the staff member was unsure. It was nice bread but it came out without any butter, making it very dry and I was going to request some but figured the butter was likely to be used for all the breads and cross contaminated.
The eggs were had a lovely light and fluffy texture but were tasteless. I like my scrambled eggs to be buttery and rich but these were not, and they hadn’t been seasoned. The other issue was that there wasn’t quite enough scrambled egg and I started running out while I still had quite a lot of bread left.
It came to $35.80 for the two breakfasts, a donut, a babycino, one large decaf flat white, and two small flat whites. Not a bad price but the food was boring – we didn’t order the most exciting meals, but other café’s seem to find ways to jazz up your basic eggs on toast. If you need something safe to eat and you don’t want any bells or whistles, Archibald’s fits the bill though! The staff were nice and the chef was accommodating to my needs.
Shop K321, Westfields Belconnen, Benjamin Way, Belconnen ACT 2617
0412 822 819