Saturday morning of the Australia Day Long Weekend, two point five of us decide to head to the Secret Garden in South Perth for breakfast. What a terrible, terrible mistake.
- I ordered the eggs benedict and could not have been more disappointed. The components were all there but it came off as cheap and nasty. Tacky almost. A tiny portion of hollandaise, very lightly toasted bread, a fried half-tomato and two pieces of bacon. It had no heart. No soul. Slapped onto a plate spun with a single lettuce leaf and single slice of orange, the meal left me equal parts angry and confused - confused at where my life went wrong.
- Any time you see a meal with that single lettuce leaf and single slice of orange you know things aren't going well.
- The Artsy Patriot ordered poached eggs with a side of bacon. Although she was polite and said it was fine, I felt bad for her. I felt bad that I had let us come to this 'garden' instead of suggesting one of the very popular places just down the road.
- Princess M, on holiday, gracefully ordered a chocolate cupcake to begin her day. It's hard to fairly evaluate how the cupcake was, as I didn't try it, and I'm not sure it's fair to draw any inference from the fact that her highness ate the chocolate swirl on top and left the cake itself. I'd like to think though that in her own way, Princess M was letting us know she had certain standards and while the Secret Garden might be good enough for the Artsy Patriot and I, she had no time for that shit.
- There was a variety of cakes, tarts and slices on display at the front counter. These looked very pleasing but I cannot comment on how they taste. Judging solely on how they look when compared to the other food we saw, I suspect the Secret Garden staff bring them in from somewhere else.
- Overall, the prices were not too bad by Perth standards but even then we felt let down by the food. $15 for breakfast seems cheap'ish, but just look at our photos! Even $15 was too much! Is the chef proud of those meals? The non-benedict especially... We want our $15 back!
- I ordered myself an orange juice and, to be fair, it was actually quite nice. Freshly squeezed. So fresh in fact they left one of the seeds on the outside of the jar. That's how you know it's fresh, and also that they have no interest in paying attention to detail.
- Like the food, the service at the Secret Garden is really bad.
- The girl who took our order had no time for smiles. I got the feeling that she was a bit young and so perhaps this was her first job and she's still finding her feet in the customer service world. It remains, though, that she did not make us feel welcome. A bad start.
- Princess M's cupcake didn't come out with our meals, and we had to ask for it again. It came out five, maybe ten minutes later. This is not great for anyone's meal but, as I'm sure you can appreciate, it's especially bad when dealing with such royalty.
- The Artsy Patriot ordered a cappuccino with her meal and, after asking our server for it twice, it came out just as she was finishing her last few bites.
- I think perhaps the only redeeming feature of the Secret Garden is the feel of the place. It really does open up out the back and feel quite garden'esque. The fake turf over some walls works well in places and comes across as a bit cheap in other places (e.g. where the illusion is broken by an air-conditioning unit - hey wait, this isn't a secret garden at all!)
- There were proper seats with proper back support! No stools! Sure, the seats were a little ugly and we were eating on what was essentially a trestle table - but we were in the 'kids corner' so I suppose that is ok. The fact that it has a 'kids corner' is a nice touch, really.
- I'm not sure whether the Wiggles, Sesame Street and/or Barney consented to the Secret Garden using their likeness. Again, though, it's a nice touch.
- There was a 'wishing well' out the back, which is a bit kitch but fit in with the rest of the place. No matter how hard we wished, though, our food did not get better.
Poor food, poor service, a nice enough environment. Don't visit unless it changes owners - especially when there are such good options just 100m down the road.
3.5 wandering wishes out of 10