Okra Espresso Lounge

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5 reviews
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161 Sandringham Road,

(09) 846 6662

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Review byJono Park8/05/2011

I last went to Okra Espresso Lounge about 4 years ago. I remember it being quite a fun little joint, packed with art and a sense of laid-back cool.

Fast forward a few years and I'm back there for a pre-meeting breakfast. It's not that busy, and it's a beautiful day with the autumn sun streaming in through the windows. I'm a bit surprised about the lack of interesting art on the walls as it always used to be quite an eclectic mix. Today, it's more straightforward stuff so the focus for me was more on the menu than what adorns the walls.

I went for the lemon pancakes which come with maple syrup and yoghurt. It's not the greatest looking dish ever - the pancake is cut into two halves and sort of plonked on the plate. The accompanying fresh fruit bowl was tiny and half empty and to be honest not that appetising. Good looks or not, the pancakes themselves were really good, the lemon curd dripping out of the centre.

My fellow breakfasters went for the eggs benedict option and gave it the thumbs up. The coffee was nothing special though and the berry smoothie that was ordered tasted more like a berry yoghurt drink than thick and fruity. Generally though, a pass mark on the food.

It's a shame then that the service was somewhat dour. Surely it's not too much to expect a smile and a bit of banter when ordering? Instead, we got a surly barista and not much of a welcome. Again, I think back to my memories of Okra as it was - quirky, not the slickest of operations but definitely a feeling of warmth and enjoyment.

So the food was good but the atmosphere not so much. Which is a shame. Bring back the great art, bring back the offbeatness (is that a word?) and bring back some smiles please.

I'm sure Okra can rest on its laurels and still make truckloads amidst the World Cup chaos. It can probably keep trucking along as simply middling. But that doesn't cut it with me. I hope that someone at Okra recognises that just being OK isn't good enough these days and gives themselves a good kick in the backside. Then I'll come back.

A Flat White costs: $4

Must Try: the lemon curd pancakes

Okra Espresso Lounge has been reviewed by 5 users

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