I think that Melbourne has an amazing cafe dining scene. So when I encounter a below-par cafe, it makes me wonder how they are able to survive with the above-average level of competition and a clientele of highly discerning diners.

What’s even more surprising is that Jolimont Expresso (why not espresso?) is busy. The city is chock full of wonderful places to eat and drink, yet we had trouble finding a free table on a Saturday afternoon. Is it because it’s in Federation Square and mainly caters for tourists and a captive audience of gallery visitors? I have no idea, but I’d rate my lunch there as one of the worst in recent memory.

I met up with K and B for a quick lunch stop and between us we ordered two serves of poached eggs with various accompaniments (all day breakfast menu) and for myself warm felafel with toasted bread and homemade dips.

I was too shy to take photos of K and B’s food (they’re not used to my blogging habits yet) but the general consensus was that the eggs were not bad but the toast was soggy and generally the dish left a lot to be desired.

My felafels were dry crumbly nuggets of compacted grain, as hard as golf balls and about as appetising. The toasted bread consisted of two hard slices of baguette and a dry pita pocket, of the kind normally found in supermarket bakeries in packs of 8. The homemade dips were avocado (the best thing on the whole plate) and some sour cream and sweet tomato sauce swirled concoction, a condiment you would’ve expected to see at a 50s dinner party. I pushed it aside and gamely continued choking down a pita pocket filled with avocado, the salad and a few crumbled up bits of felafel golf ball just so I could get some protein into my hungry belly.

Spending $15 on a half-eaten plate left a bitter taste in my mouth. If you’re in Federation Square and in need of a quick feed, please do yourself a favour and avoid Jolimont Expresso – leave it to the poor unwary tourists.

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