Coin Laundry Cafe, Armadale

I knew I was going to miss western food and coffee even before I came to Beijing. I’ve been craving and craving but the 2 coffees I’ve had here so far were both terrible beyond description. I’m glad my stomach managed to partly stock up on caffeine and eggs before the trip but I was a bit sad that the few brunch places I went to were all a bit hit and miss. One of them was the Coin Laundry Cafe.

Named after its predecessor (obviously was actually a coin laundry), it takes after its counterparts in terms of unpainted red bricks and somewhat industrial look. Although it does a bit better that it wasn’t set in an actual warehouse.

This place is famous for the long wait as they are quite popular but there was enough things to keep us entertained. Yuye and I first perused through the menu and the specials board which was written on butchers paper hanging a metre high to decide what to get.

Then we looked around the room at the funny ceiling – I still have no idea what the cloth things are. Is it decorations? Or to cover vents? If someone knows, please tell me so my curiosity doesn’t kill me.

And then at the partly visible kitchen where chefs were busy preparing dishes.

It was interesting that to save space, there are hooks on the wall for chairs to hang (instead of clothes)…

It also boggled my mind to see bread and cakes just sitting around outside without a glass case. Wouldn’t they get dirty or dried out? Maybe the number of orders keep the bread flow going…

I have a fetish for coffee machines so staring that it kept me happy for a while too.

Finally, we hopped next door to a gorgeous little deli/grocery store called The Little Grocer to use up more time.

It was a fascinating shop which sold gourmet breads (apparently sourced from Vue De Monde) and a wonderful selection of kitchen essentials such as salts, oils and herbs.

We came across the nicest smelling smoked sea salt that we just had to buy it. If you have a bit of time before you get a seat, it doesn’t hurt to pop next door and check this grocer out.

Finally we were given a table and we happily sat down to make our long awaited orders. The dashes of purple across the table really caught my eye as I love the vibrant colour. Adding a little bit of colour to an otherwise browny room really can lift ones mood.

Not surprisingly, Yuye started the meal with a cappuccino ($3.50 – like omg I can’t believe coffees in Melbourne are so cheap because in China it costs $7-8 for a CRAP one). It was very aromatic and beautiful, especially in the afternoon sun and the rustic table setting. I realised (now that I’ve been in China for a while), being able to see and taste beautiful coffees is such a blessing.

Surprise! I actually didn’t order a coffee. Ever since I was told Seven Seeds served the nicest hot chocolate which I failed to order during my visit, I’ve just been dying to have one so this is what I ordered. A hot chocolate. This hot chocolate was quite nice but nothing too fancy (apparently Seven Seeds serves it with a bar of chocolate to dip in the piping hot drink), although it did come with a marshmallow.

We finished these drinks and our water before our meals even arrived, but then only to find that part of my order was wrong. I had ordered a ‘Coin Laundry breakfast of smashed avocado, roma tomatoes, bacon, beetroot relish, baby spinach & poached eggs’ for $17.50 with an extra side of ‘house cured ocean trout’ at $5.50. The waiter had mistakenly thought I wanted to change the bacon to the ocean trout. :S

It was quickly rectified though with my bacon as a side instead. It was a huge meal which I couldn’t really fault as all the elements were very delicious. The cured trout especially was a highlight of the dish for me and it went perfectly with the sweet relish and warm baked tomatoes.

The very sad thing was the bread. It was so hard (the rind probably got damp) that my knife could hardly go through it. I used up a lot of energy to cut the bread into pieces and made my hand very sore, not to mention my gums were cut by the sharp edges that it was painful even a few hours after the meal.

An even bigger disappointment still (you think that was it?) was the eggs. It was meant to be a highlight for me but as I cut through the first egg, I was overcome with disappointment. The yolk wasn’t runny! This means the poached eggs were overcooked. I cut into the second one and it was slightly better (as it was bigger) but the disappointment from the first egg couldn’t be wiped away. The eggs were perfectly round though so I give them a clap for that.

Yuye ordered the ‘corned beef sandwich served on toasted rye with sweet mustard picle, gruyere cheese, lettuce & potato crisps with lemon salt’ for $14.50. So we were told after we made the order that the delivery guy didn’t deliver corned beef. Rather, it was roast beef instead. We didn’t mind the change so stuck to our choice.

But guess what potato crisps are? I wouldn’t have guessed it anyway but it was in fact potato chips which looked and tasted like they came from a packet from the supermarket. I would rather have preferred hot chips that was ‘crispy’ because frankly, these crisps didn’t go with the sandwich in any way. At ALL. Not sure what the chef or menu planner was thinking.

The even SADDER story here was again, the bread. It was even tougher than mine. At least mine could be cut (or attempt to) but Yuye’s had to be bitten. This as a result broke a whole layer of my upper gums that I needed to use mouthwash when I got home. Taste wise was not bad, the mustard and pickles went well with the roast beef but other than that, I was really not a fan, neither was Yuye.

We left feeling quite disappointed. Coin Laundry is high on the breakfast/brunch scene on Urbanspoon but not sure why we had such an unsatisfactory experience. Maybe it was just that day? Maybe the usual chef was away or the usual ingredients were unavailable? Either way, I won’t be returning. Sorry Coin Laundry, even with your nice service and atmosphere, it’s just not enough to cover for the bad meal and the long wait.

If you’re in the neighbourhood, sure go for a coffee because it was lovely, but I can’t say the same for the meals. At least, I recommend not going for anything with bread. It’s usually quite hard for me to dislike a restaurant but I can’t think of a better word in this case.

Question time: How long would you wait for a meal before you think it’s not worth it, even if the restaurant is supposed to be good?

Coin Laundry Cafe
Phone: (03) 9500 1888
61 Armadale St, Armadale VIC 3143

Coin Laundry Cafe on Urbanspoon

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33 comments… add one
  • Hannah February 19, 2012, 2:49 pm

    Aw πŸ™ Maybe if they’d let you sit on the hanging chair, things would have fared better.

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake February 20, 2012, 1:44 am

      I know!!! Maybe I should have requested that to be my seat. πŸ˜› It would have been a bit hard to have the meal there though.. haha

  • Maureen February 19, 2012, 3:17 pm

    How disappointing! Maybe they aren’t eating enough of their food to know it hurts to eat it?

    Hanging chairs on hooks on the wall is a very American Quaker thing to do. πŸ™‚

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake February 20, 2012, 1:43 am

      It was totally! I was expecting great things from them because of the good reviews but…:(
      I had to look up what Quakers were πŸ˜› Not very good with history hahaha…still don’t really understand why it’s a Quaker thing to do though. πŸ˜›

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table February 20, 2012, 2:13 am

    That terrible that the meal wasn’t up to par. I hate when that happens – and messing up eggs is my pet peeve. At least you had a nice decor to enjoy….

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake February 20, 2012, 2:27 am

      I know! Other cafes I ate at that wasn’t on par at least didn’t mess up their eggs. πŸ™ My most favourite thing out of the whole meal would be the eggs and to not have runny yolks? That’s pure disappointment. πŸ™

  • Daisy@Nevertoosweet February 20, 2012, 3:48 am

    Ohh I’m with you Jenny! I hate tough bread as much as I hate dry cakes πŸ˜› It’s a shame though because you wanted to have your share of eggs and coffee before you went to China >_< I can relate to what you're going through with coffee, it's so hard to find a decent cup of it in Asian places πŸ™ Doesn't matter there are so many cafes in Melbourne that you can go to when you come back ~ Enjoy your trip!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake February 20, 2012, 9:22 pm

      Yes!! Dry cakes I hate as well. Oh well…I guess I’ll have some awesome eggs and coffee to look forward to when I get back to Melbourne…the crappy drinks they call coffee here has got me craving a lot…I’ve had 2 coffees here, both were really bad and they seemed to be biggish places. I just don’t understand. :S

  • Deanna February 20, 2012, 5:36 am

    I hate when the eggs are messed up. And the bread was tough? I wouldn’t go back either, even though the cure trout looks amazing.

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake February 20, 2012, 9:25 pm

      Yes…the eggs was what I was looking forward to the most…I think I should stop expecting great things from Urbanspoon leaderboard because it’s all based on personal experience. What’s considered good for one person might not be good for others. I expected a lot so that’s why I was more disappointed. πŸ™

  • Miss Kimbers @ Fruit Salad and Mixed Veg February 20, 2012, 5:59 am

    That’s a shame. The bread does look very hard, from the photos. And the chips….that’s bad! I thought you would receive hot chips, not ones from packet you would find in a school canteen. AHH!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake February 20, 2012, 9:27 pm

      I know right!! The chips! Getting the bread and eggs wrong is one thing, it might not always be bad. But giving packet chips to a sandwich? That’s just weird….I almost thought they had run out of hot chips or something…:S

  • Carolyn Jung February 20, 2012, 10:41 am

    What an adorable looking place with such a cute name. Too bad it didn’t deliver on the food front, though. How disappointing.

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake February 20, 2012, 9:27 pm

      It did have a nice atmosphere. I loved the little purple pots and red bricks but it wasn’t enough to make up for the food. πŸ™ Too bad..

  • peachkins February 20, 2012, 11:14 am

    Oh gosh I so enjoyed the tour! The food looks great and I love the old brick wall in that place!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake February 20, 2012, 9:28 pm

      The food LOOKS great but it wasn’t all that great really…such a shame..:( I really liked my dish, apart from the really hard bread.

  • Hotly Spiced February 20, 2012, 12:46 pm

    It’s very funny seeing the chairs hanging off the walls. Such a shame you’re having so much trouble finding a good coffee in Beijing. My sister says it’s very cold there at the moment. She says too cold to go out. Maybe she has a good supply of coffee at home!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake February 20, 2012, 9:29 pm

      I’ve never seen chairs hanging on walls before either. πŸ˜› It was quite interesting. It’s getting a bit warmer nowadays though, I didn’t wear thermals today! I always feel so lethargic when it’s cold..just don’t want to move…:P I wish I brought some coffee beans with me to make my own coffees….

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella February 20, 2012, 6:33 pm

    The ceiling is really interesting, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one quite like that! What a shame about the bread-the sandwich looks so inviting from the photos!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake February 20, 2012, 9:33 pm

      I know! I was very fascinated by it…
      The sandwich did look great, and tasted not bad too, it was just the bread that let it down…doesn’t matter if the sandwich had the best ingredients, if it hurts to eat, all the tastiness goes away. πŸ™

  • choux choux February 20, 2012, 10:52 pm

    Aw, shame about the hard bread. They certainly look very tasty. Your side of bacon makes me wish I ate pork. I remember when my mum went to China and she went to a buffet for a coffee and it was just foul. It’s the same anywhere in south east asia. I think the best coffee you’d get in Asia is at the starbucks chains, and they’re not even that good.

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake February 21, 2012, 12:07 pm

      That’s right you don’t eat pork! Bacon’s pretty good though and so is pork belly!! You’re totally missing out. πŸ˜› Yes I agree about the coffee! I did have a coffee a few years ago from Starbucks as well as Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Shanghai, they were not too bad. The big chains are probably the only reasonable places for a coffee here…:( Coffees are so expensive as well…I had one that cost 60RMB in Shanghai, that would equate to $10AUD, for a crap coffee!! I don’t understand…

  • Katherine Martinelli February 21, 2012, 5:10 am

    Too bad it was such a disappointment! Your photos are gorgeous anyway…

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake February 21, 2012, 12:04 pm

      Thanks dear. πŸ™‚ I was reasonably happy that I could capture nice photos because of the lovely decor, but it was definitely a disappointment about the food. πŸ™

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook February 21, 2012, 7:12 pm

    You take great pictures Jenny, from all these pictures it’s hard to tell the food was not perfect. With the kids around it’s definitely hard to wait for such a long time till the food arrives, despite entertaining with iphone, Leappad, and ipad and all sort of gadgets. I miss going to cafes like this, and I definitely enjoy your posts about cafes and restaurants.

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake February 22, 2012, 11:53 pm

      Thanks Nami! πŸ˜€ Yes, there were a lot of young people there, all probably sucked in by the popularity of the place…

  • catty February 22, 2012, 7:57 pm

    i LOOOOOVE the menu written on brown paper! What a beautiful place and a great find!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake February 22, 2012, 11:51 pm

      I did think that was a good idea, although the food wasn’t as good as the decor. πŸ™

  • Kiran @ March 1, 2012, 6:24 am

    I thought with such ambiance the food would definitely be good. Oh well.

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake April 24, 2012, 2:41 pm

      Yes it was a shame…not all popular places get it right all the time I suppose. It could have been just my bad luck that day…

  • M May 8, 2012, 8:50 am

    the cloth things on the ceiling are tea towels I believe probably to cover a crappy ceiling. Its a trick pinched from places like seamstress

  • tastyfoodsnaps May 22, 2012, 8:20 pm

    the jar of cookies looks so pretty! i feel exactly the same when my eggs arent runny! oozeing yolks are the highlight of all my breakfast meals!


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