I was reminded this weekend of the importance of attention to detail. We called in at Berkhamstead on the way home from a great weekend with friends. We’d done a little shopping and fancied that wonderful but under-eaten meal – brunch.
Berkhamstead high street is blessed with a wide selection of eateries and pubs. Of course there is an Ask and a Costa but there was also a Carluccio’s and lots of independents. We settled on the Olive Tree – mainly because they served Eggs Benedict and it reminded us of the Gingerbread Cafe in Ashbourne (the place to go when the its cold).
The cafe was nicely lit through the large windows and everything looked clean and tidy.
Our waitress had a lovely smile as she came to take our order. My wife ordered Eggs Benedict with bacon, not ham, and I had the “bubble and squeak cake” with bacon added as an extra.
The coffees were good. The flat white was declared possibly the best ever and my Americano was just the pick-me-up I fancied. The food arrived shortly afterwards and presentation was good… We were peckish.
Within a minute we had both tried the bacon and were simultaneously disappointed. Firstly, it was quite flabby. It could easily have been fried in too large quantities in too small a pan or even microwaved. In any case the texture of it wasn’t pleasant. To make matters worse someone had tried to add a little colour by putting it on a griddle pan and it had picked up a burnt ‘lighter fuel” flavour from the process in return from some stripes across the still pink meat. It was edible, we didn’t send it back or complain but it ruined something which was quite good. My bubble and squeak should have had some crust on it but instead it was a nice combination of carrot, cabbage and potato. I really liked it and even gave some to my wife to try. The fried egg on top was well cooked. My wife’s hollandaise sauce was tasty…it was just that bacon which someone had made a mistake with.
If that bacon had just been crispier it would have been delicious. Ironically it was probably the easiest part of each dish to deliver.
The cafe is still a 7/10 on a competitive high street. The cook on the day let themselves down.