Sunday, 7 March 2010

Il Circolo, North Perth

Renée's breakfast - eggs & bacon al circolo

Ross' breakfast - asparagi alla Fiorentina

Coffees & Orange Juice!

Today we visited our favourite street in North Perth and treated ourselves to one of the newer cafés in Perth - Il Circolo. Sitting opposite the Rosemount Hotel its immediate competitors include Milkd and The Pantry Door.

Not that the competition worries Il Circolo - with its Florentine cuisine and quirky old-school wooden school seats and tables Il Circolo will always provide people with a reason to check it out. We arrived just before the end of breakfast at 11:30am, and as all the tables were taken we sat on the low cushioned bench next to the front window. The low table presented a slightly interesting eating challenge, but we managed fine!

The blackboard menu contained items like funghi alla funghetta (think lots of mushrooms - $12). I had the asparagi alla Fiorentina ($12.50) and Renée chose the bacon & eggs al circolo ($12). The lunch menu looked interesting too, with tortelli being one of the dishes on offer - we will have to come back for that! The food was straight forward, but delicious. The asparagus was cooked well, and the borlotti beans on Renée's plate were flavoursome. The crusty toast was cut thinly enough so that it was easy to eat (many a time I have had to cut through 5cm thick crusts, which just gets very tiring!) In fact the toast itself, served on a wooden board, is a rewarding meal in itself. The only disappointment were the poached eggs (which we both had), which although rich in colour, were small and hard.

We both had flat whites that were good, and though they probably wouldn't win any awards they still manage to beat the coffees served in most cafés. Renée also had an orange juice which was tasty, but out of a Goulburn Valley bottle.

Il Circolo also offers some tasty looking cakes. We finished off with a lemon and rosemary slice ($6) which was moist and delicious and the highlight of our meal - yum!

But the most irritating thing about Il Circolo (meaning "the culture" in Italian) is its name - its completely forgettable, and would be mispronounced by 95% of Perthites including Renée who struggles with the name EVERY time calling it "ill circle-o" (it should be said "ill cheer-kolo")! And when said correctly, you kind of sound like a bit of a tosser.

If you can forget about the name (easily!), then Il Circolo is definitely well worth visiting. In fact it has received a rave review from a native Florentine - well I think it's good; I can't read Italian all that well!

The Verdict

Coffee 3/5
The Eggs (the meal!) 3/5
Service 4/5
Atmosphere 3.5/5

Overall 13.5/20

Would we go again?
Yep but perhaps for cake or the tortelli!

Website: could not find one!

Il Circolo on Urbanspoon


Conor @ HoldtheBeef said...

Haha, I can hear it now - "yeah, I'm just heading down to ill circle-o to have some brooshetta and match-ee-ato".

I like that you had dessert for breakfast. Every meal deserves dessert.

Adding this place to my list..

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

Il Circolo is fabulous, we've been there many times. The standouts are the mushrooms on toast and the beans on toast, which we always order with a poached egg on the side. Highly recommend going back and trying those 2 dishes.

Shame about your small hard eggs, nothing is more annoying! We can promise you that that has never happened to us though...

And thanks for this blog, it's benn a fantastic source of brekky info.

Renee said...

Thanks guys! We will definately be back I must say the beans were delicious and Ross is keen to try the mushrooms!

Thanks for reading our blog we LOVE both of yours!

Devan said...

lol, to be honest I thought the place was pronounced Il circ-o-lo!! what a bogan I am.

I tried a cake at one of the Il Circolo stalls at the Vincent Cappuccino festival late last year and was impressed. After reading your review, I definitely have to check it out. The food seems very well priced!

Florentine cuisine....very intriguing!

Kransky said...

Sorry but how does one sound like a tosser for pronouncing something correctly? Take pride in your wisdom else you be an idiot.

Renee said...

ahhh Kransky...Ross wasn't 'serious' he was just making a joke! I must also note that Ross is one of the only people I know who ALWAYS has a crack of trying to pronounce menu items properly even when it comes to mind-boggling vietnamese dishes (unlike me who orders by the numbers eg: dish #41!)

Conor @ HoldtheBeef said...

Had the piles o' mushies on toast with extra poached eggs this morning. Very happy girl. Thanks guys :)

Melli said...

Il Colico in North Perth has inspired me, for the first time ever, to write a review. Unfortunately, my experience was anything but inspirational. My mother-in-law suggested Il Colico for breakfast based on a rave magazine review and with its traditional Italian feel and very appealing menu I thought, upon entering, that the place had a lot to offer, so we ordered and paid at the counter and sat down in anticipation.

My cousin, my aunt and myself all ordered the sautéed ‘funghi’ on toast and some coffees. While the coffee was excellent, our meals looked completely unappealing. Despite this we were hopeful that it simply meant the food would taste sensational. We were wrong! There’s not many occasions where I choose not to eat my meal, but this was one of them. My cousin and aunt felt the same, and we decided that on this occasion, the management should know.

We collected the barely touched meals and sought out the manager to air our complaint. It was the experience that followed which turned out to be the third and biggest disappointment of the morning, and is the main reason for writing this review.

Rather than trying to discover the basis of our complaint, we were simply rebuffed by the manager with comments such as “this is one of our most popular dishes” and “the management can’t be held responsible for what food you like”, and that “if other people had complained previously then I might choose to believe you”.

Shocked at being responded to in such a way we decided to leave the venue and head down the road to another café to finish breakfast, but our treatment during the first encounter with the manager led my aunt to decide that she wanted a refund. Perhaps we wouldn’t have got to this point had our complaint been met with the slightest degree of respect and consideration, but I guess this is a lesson in how things can escalate.

We went back to the manager to further press our concern. Rather than recognize the depth of our dissatisfaction, we were treated with an almost casual disregard as the manger appeared more interested in making coffee than in attending to our complaint. We honestly felt that he was trying to ignore us in the hope that we might go away. Unfortunately for him we didn’t.

Eventually the manager, who by this time we had discovered was in fact the owner, turned his full attention to us. His response was to ask if we made a habit of “going around eating restaurant food and not paying for it”. We pointed out that we had not eaten the food, and had in fact returned three almost full plates. His answer: “How do you know how it tasted if you didn’t eat it?” With this kind of logic we realized that providing the café with some honest feedback was pointless. Eventually, the manager returned our money and we moved ‘next door ‘ where we finished breakfast without complaint.

Now, I have had plenty of bad experiences in Perth and have been to a number of places where the establishment could best be described as “having an off day”. For this reason I usually choose to ‘protest with my feet’ rather than to complain or have my opinion published. From all of these experiences I have made very few complaints but on each occasion the management has promptly addressed the problem. In some instances this involved replacing the dish; in others it involved offering a refund; but in each experience the management have made sure that I left as a satisfied customer. I guess this is the real reason why we were so disappointed with our experience at Il Colico, as the way we were treated was entirely unsatisfying.

Perth is a small place and word of mouth is a powerful force. For this reason I would suggest to any café, new or established, that if you wish to survive over the long term, then customer service principles are just as important as good quality food .

Renee said...

Awww Melli- that sounds like a terrible experience! We've dined there several times and we are always treated really well and have really enjoyed their food. Mushrooms are my pet hate so I can't say I have ever tried that dish. Atleast there is plenty of other places to have brekky in Perth!

wilma said...

Melli, I seriously doubt the food could have been so bad that you couldn't eat it. So bad in fact that you would ask for a refund! Can you really blame the manager for questioning you when everyone else has given glowing reviews about the food at Il circolo? That brings me to another point, the place is called "Il Circolo" not Il Colico.
At least get the name right if you're going to bad mouth it!

rund said...

Maybe Melli got it mixed up with "calico", which i don't think would taste all that good! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow - We whinge and complain that Perth needs new things and yet when they open the first thing we do is surprisingly whinge and complain about petty things such as pronunciation. Personally, I think it's arrogant. Perth needs places like Il Circolo, what Perth doesn't need are simple minded people who can't embrace any other cultures other then their own.

Personally, I think the only tosser here is you and that's not just because you can't pronounce the cafe's name.

Renee said...

oh anon....did you not read our previous comments? Ross was JOKING about the pronunciation...did we ever say we didn't embrace other cultures I don't think so...we gave il circolo a great review so I'm not sure why you are whinging so much...this blog is just something fun we like to do together so if you don't like what we have to say just move on there are plenty of other blogs to read!