THE CABIN SMALL BAR, 174 SCARBOROUGH BEACH ROAD, MT HAWTHORN, PERTH
I have always enjoyed popping down to the The Cabin for a glass of wine or two, I love the cozy ski-holiday/hunting lodge feel to the place and was pretty excited about going for dinner after reading their menu which is designed to be shared – broken down into “smallest snacks“, “smaller bites” and “small dishes“. I was taking my sister Jo for a late birthday treat, and a rare night away from her two very young children.
And then our interesting experience began. The initial point of contact after we had advised of our 6:00pm reservation was nervous glances over shoulders and then “sorry, we have given your table to somebody else”. We obviously had no idea which table was ours anyway and would have been none the wiser if they had just taken us to our new small two-seater table, instead of looking over at the super-cool couch and table set up, where we could have spread out (more about that later!), kicked back and enjoyed the evening. I asked if we could be moved when “our table” became available again, and they assured us that would not be a problem.
We finally managed to get a glass of wine after about 15 minutes at the table with only water, and after being at the restaurant for nearly half an hour without our orders being taken we finally managed to catch one of the wait staff’s eye to be told “the waitress in your section doesn’t start until 7:00pm”. This was not an apology at all, just the reason given for nobody looking after us!! Not a good start!
We finally ordered quite a lot of food because everything sounded so good. I asked our waitress whether we had too much, she said we had a decent amount but should be fine and she ensured us (after me prompting her though) that the food would come out nice and slow for us to enjoy.
The two “crispy soft shell crab sliders” that arrived nearly made up for the awful initial service – yum! Made on a white Barretts dinner roll topped with deep-fried crispy crab and house-made hot sauce, slightly cooled to perfect with a dollop of creamy slaw – great take on a slider using a less traditional filling. Probably my favourite dish of the night.
Jo selected our next dish, “beetroot, spices, smoked buffalo mozzarella, puy lentils, balsamic caramel, pecans“. Another nice dish, interesting flavours, fresh and light tasting compared to all other other meat-heavy, dude food choices. I didn’t get much of it though, it seemed to park itself on Jo’s side of the table!
The next dish we were told was quite substantial, a good dish to share, “pulled pork, coriander pancake, smoked BBQ sauce, fennel & pickle slaw, fried jalapeños” (build your own). The dish was nicely presented on a big board, the BBQ sauce in a cool little jar, but there was only one massive pancake! On looking back at the menu it did say ‘pancake’ not ‘pancakes’, but not really a sharing dish when I had to balance the monstrosity on my tiny little side plate to cut in half, why not make two smaller pancakes? Good concept but not really put together very well. The pancake was great but the pork was lacking that irresistible juicy pork flavour and a bit dry. Not quite there.
The “southern fried rabbit, steamed bun, pickled carrot & red curry mayonnaise” was my other favourite dish of the night. The steamed buns with their imperfect size were obviously made in-house and the combination of the vinegary carrot and gamey crumbed rabbit tasted fantastic.
The food then started coming out thick and fast. There was no more room on the table and at one stage my side plate had to go on my lap just to make more room for another dish. i asked the waitress if she could please slow our food down, but before she could even leave the table another dish appeared, so again had to ask if our food could be slowed down so that we had room for it on our table and we could actually enjoy it without being bombarded.
Back in August 2012 Rob Broadfield proclaimed our next dish the best “dude food dish in Perth”. “Quail breast kievs, parmesan gremolata, dill mayonnaise” – juicy quail, naughty garlic butter and a tasty, crisp crumb, a big call Rob, but it was a good dish.
Luckily we only ordered one of these – “duck dog, bacon jam, provolone cheese, chilli“. The instantly recognisable Sizzler-style par-baked roll was not really what I was expecting, and I was also not expecting the duck to be in the form of a sausage – did not really get any kind of duck taste at all. Maybe you would if you ate the sausage on its own without any sauce, but I could not taste it. A real let down.
The waitress looked at me as she put down the next plate and said “I’m sorry”, and then ran away. We were gobsmacked! Another averagely executed dish, “kalbi braised beef shin tacos, pickled vegetables, horseradish crema, jalapeños” – at least the tacos was made in-house, but they were just a bit to thick which made them quite stodgy.
When asked if we wanted another drink or dessert, we didn’t lie, we told them we were going to go somewhere else because of the experience we had just had. Our last waitress (the one that started at 7:00pm!) was actually very nice and understanding, she admitted to us that the chef just went along all the dockets and made all the same dishes ordered all at once for multiple tables instead of treating each table as an individual order and letting the waitresses call dishes away as required. We were offered a glass of wine on the house, which we politely declined.
It is such a shame as most of the food was actually pretty good with a few small misses, but I will never step foot in The Cabin again because of the complete carelessness of the wait staff. I take Urbanspoon reviews with a grain of salt but in this instance I should have read the reviews, because a large number of them mention the bad service at The Cabin – I think one reviewer on 16 August sums it up by saying “good food, hard to get it” – very well said.