Sunday, 11 August 2013

Lowdown: Here's the Lowdown - They are the duck's nuts

Having frequented Lowdown on multiple occasions before, it was time to articulate my fondness for this mob in an Urbanspoon Review.
The dudes that work down there are the toppest of blokes and second to none in the all-important category of customer service. They are seriously laid back, friendly and have a sense of humour. Exhibit A being the 50c 'douche tax' that sits on the menu that gets a hearty chortle out of me everytime I see it. Luckily I'm yet to be slapped with such a heinous penalty, but I'd imagine it would be tempting to enforce the fine one of the self-important, blue-tooth headset wearing, loud mouthed business people that swarm the area.
My weapon of choice was a double espresso and as per usual they did not disappoint. It was extracted near flawlessly and exhibited a full-bodied flavour that left me purring.
My colleague purchased a short-mac and provided the following insight.
"The warm creamy texture of the milk in conjunction with the nigh-perfect coffee shot was incredibly satisfying", he said. "It was as though the God of Coffee grabbed me by the scruff of the neck, and dripped pure bliss down my gullet with his shiva-like lingum. If I were cleaning my ears with cotton buds at the same time as consuming this delight, I would have blacked out from the pure bliss overload".
18 out of 20. They are the business.

Lowdown on Urbanspoon

Buddha Espresso: Not so enlightening.

It's difficult, sometimes, being a fledgling, up-and-coming coffee reviewer in Perth's CBD. The abundance of choices within close proximity of each other renders competition to attract the precious hard-earned dollars of caffiene-addicted workers, shoppers and coffee-snobs heated.
With a hefty name, a sturdy reputation and girthy presence in Allendale square, Buddha Espresso was in the reviewer's crosshairs today to see whether they could enter the upper-echelon of double-espresso creators in Perth.
Somewhat ironically, the double espresso this reviewer consumed left me somewhat 'unenlightened' and relatively 'unawakened'. Uninspiring, weak and bland wouldn't be an unfair assessment of either Shane Watson's performance at the top of the Australian batting order, or this coffee. Even after referral to the third umpire, the Danny Review System upheld the reviewers initial decision.
If Buddha Espresso was vying for a position in Perth CBDs Top X1, they'd be in for a rude shock as they are going to have to work their way back through the Sunday amateurs.
11 disgruntled and cantankerous Boof-Lehmann's out of a possible 20. I'm all out of faith, this is how I feel. I'm cold and I'm ashamed, lying naked on the floor.

Buddha Espresso on Urbanspoon

Maven Espresso: That's so-so, Maven.

Having read the reviews on Maven, I went in with relatively enchubbened expectations of receiving a brewed delight in the form of a freshly ground double espresso.
Much to my chagrin, it was weak and bitter. The anti-climatic experience is akin to expecting Miranda Kerr giving you a full body massage wearing nothing but lacey-under garments but instead being on the receiving end of a back rub from Kochie in red budgie smugglers.
Perhaps the coffee beans weren't stored in appropriate atmospheric conditions. Perhaps the grind was chucking a tantrum and refusing to play well with others. Either way - these are the basics that need to hit for six everytime highly pressurised water is passed through beans and slam dunked into your cup.
In the cut-throat Perth CBD coffee market, consistency is critical. The reviewer acknowledges that this may be an anomaly in a cavalcade of divine, silky caffeine juice that they produce. But unlike the current state of Australian politics, one can't be judged on making grandiose promises that don't end up being delivered upon.
11 Budgie-smugglered Kochies out of 20 is an apt rating. As both the mental image conjured and the double espresso consumed leave the same aftertaste.

Maven Espresso on Urbanspoon

Llama Espresso: A1. Very Good.

Llama espresso originated in the 1500s when the Dalai Lama at the time bestowed upon his kingdom the first ever espresso coffee that Tibet has ever seen. The secret ingredient was sweat from the scalp and bare stomach of the Dalai Lama that was collected by a fleet of local concubines, bottled, and kept in perfect fermenting conditions for three phases of the moon. When it was just right - it was extracted, 30mls at a time and served to the royalty and high-net-worth individuals of the time.
Fast forward to 2012 , the geniuses at Llama Espresso have managed to capture that flavour in bean form and thus the 'llama espresso blend' was formed. The extra 'L' in 'Llama' is the roman numeral for the number of Dalai Lama's that have since added their holy nectar to the blend.
One of the most, if not THE MOST, flummoxing first world dillamas that faces workers in the CBD is the location of the best coffee in Perth. Today, it was this reviewers turn to see what all the fuss was about Llama Espresso was about.
By jingo by crickey did they deliver. The customer service was fantastic and although it was 'peak-hour' - the wait was over before you could say 'the human torch was denied a bank loan'.
The quality of the coffee was fantastic and is on par with the best I've had. Extracted to perfection, the dark chocolatey undertones invaded my taste buds with ferocity and it definitely Alpaca's a punch.
A fair rating would be 18.5 Llamas out of 20. Just as if you cut too many corners you'll end up going in circles, Llama Espresso cut no corners in delivering a seriously A1 grade coffee.

Llama Espresso on Urbanspoon

Cheeky Sparrow: Great Odin's Raven - A Royal Flush.

As we haven't heard enough about the "Royal Baby" this week, a royal flavour will be weaved into the fabric of this review by using a royal-family-member rating system for various elements of the experience.
Ambiance: Prince Harry
Not so much the ginger elements, more the non-conventional decor which is strangely alluring. The setting is cheekier than an episode of the biggest loser and provides a fantastic setting in which to escape the hustle and bustle and/or headlines about the royal baby.
Customer Service: Prince William.
Handsome, regal and likable. Both gentlemen who served us were good lads. A special mention goes to the barista who is known to this reviewer - he knows his way around group heads, ground beans and espresso shots of happiness like few others.
Blend: "Fergie" - Duchess of York.
The blend produced a Fergie-like flavour: thick, heavy at the bottom end and leaves an after taste in your mouth that you're unlikely to forget. It was a dark, chocolatey roast with a hint of Princess Beatrice (bitterness) that accentuated the flavour unlike any that I've tried recently.
Double Espresso Quality: The King (Elvis, of course)
Smooth. Only the most suspicious mind could find fault in what I was served.
Rating: 16.5 crown jewels out of 20. To say that the Cheeky Sparrow does not produce some of the best coffee in town would be more controversial than if the royal baby grew up with an uncanny physical resemblance to Prince Harry.

Cheeky Sparrow on Urbanspoon

Sentinel Bar and Grill: Sentinel's Soliloquy: Serving 'Spressos Satisfactorily

As is the nature of the cafe/coffee-shop market along the Terrace, it is difficult for a particular place to break from the Peloton. Sentinel, is no different.
Without arousing any particular inspiration, the espresso coffees we had were very well made. It exhibited a conventional flavour profile and is a safe choice for any one passing by who is longing for a coffee hit. Only the most pretentious hipster coffee snobs would thumb their nose at Sentinel's product.
The excellent customer service experience combined with the pricing point and ambiance of the setting are an axis of positives that would be remiss of this reviewer to ignore.
Sentinel Prime transforms coffee beans into a caffeine-infused, moist, espresso nectar, without transforming the face of the coffee market in Perth.
A sufficient rating would be 14 Royal Babies out of a possible 20. Not least because that's how old the royal baby will be by the time it hatches.

Sentinel Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

Mini Espresso: Pistol Pete serves Espresso Ace

Mini-espresso lacks a girthy shop front rendering it easy to miss to the casual passer-by, as eluded to in previous reviews. It would struggle to hold the Williams sisters standing side-by-side, but they make an efficient use of the space nonetheless.
The customer service game is seeded first out of all Perth cafe's previously reviewed. Pistol Pete and the staff are casual-yet-professional, skilled in their craft, and even returned serve to obnoxious banter being dished out by Milk-Guzzling Morris, our mixed doubles partner.
They used a relatively timid house blend for our espressos, so if you're looking for an explosion of flavour in your mouth from your coffee - you may be slightly underwhelmed. However, the coffee was extracted very well. On a ratings scale of taste and likeability of Damir Dokic being filthy to Pat Rafter being delicious - it would sit snuggly next to P.Rafter. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can see myself returning regularly.
I rate this 16.5 Woody's out of a possible 20. After all, it's not size - it's how you use it. This maxim is definitely not lost on Pistol Pete.

Mini Espresso on Urbanspoon