The first time I visited Yellow Bird was over two years ago, in the company of Bennett and Leah. Bennett had been spruiking the place as one of his favourite venues for breakfast, and I was so excited I was practically pinging off the walls. Unfortunately for Bennett, I was about to experience one of the darkest dining-out moments of my life. After ordering food, none appeared for over an hour, which seemed highly odd mainly due to the fact the place was only half full. When I had the temerity to question the waitress as to whether our order was ready yet (in a wincingly polite fashion, as I’m generally terrified of complaining to waitstaff), she huffed and treated me as if I was the most annoying, unreasonable person on the planet. When the food actually appeared, it was depressingly underwhelming – when I try to recall the pancakes I ordered my memory gets suffused with a rubbery, dry sensation.
“Well, that was some high class bullshit!” I said angrily once we’d left.
“It’s ordinarily never like that…” Bennett started, but I’m pretty sure I probably didn’t let him finish and just kept reiterating “Bullshit!” while flinging my limbs around in agitation. “I’m never going there again!” I finally decreed.
Now, when I say definite statements like that, categorically stating that I’ll never, ever do or like something, it’s pretty much a guarantee that somewhere down the line, I’ll be proven empirically wrong and be forced to eat my words. Luckily in the case of Yellow Bird, they turned out to be delicious words.
It all started when, after a Sunday morning staff meeting, it was collectively decided that we all required breakfast, and the venue floated was Yellow Bird (probably by Bennett. The man is admirably consistent). The decor doesn’t seemed to have changed much since my last visit: it’s still a cross between some kind of Mexican-inspired luau and the furniture section of an outer-eastern Salvos. The staff are markedly more cheery, though some still retain a workman-like efficiency that some may find too distancing (and I personally like how you can identify the waitstaff by their giant, brightly coloured quill pens).
For this possibly redemptive breakfast, I ordered eggs florentine. Now, this was not the absolute best I’ve had – and damn have I had a lot of eggs florentine, this blog belies how much I consume it – but it was highly acceptable, with good creamy hollandaise and dribbly poached eggs that oozed all over everything just like good poached eggs should. The only thing that could stand improving would be the spinach, which came across as a bit bland. Then again my idea for jazzing it up would include a lot more salt and butter, and maybe Yellow Bird just has a greater regard for my continued good health than I do.
I was happy with my meal, happy with the space, happy with the congenial atmosphere. So much so that in the intervening months I’ve found my way back there multiple times. I had to make sure it wasn’t an outrageous aberration! Consequently, I’ve ploughed my way through a fair chunk of the menu, starting with…
The breakfast burrito (omitting the bacon), which with scrambled eggs, guac, tomato salsa, sour cream and house-made spicy beans makes for a good, solid meal. The beans are a definite highlight, with utterly fab tomatoey sauce floating with fat white beans. A filling breakfast suitable for when you may have hit the tiles a bit too hard the previous evening.
More Mexican came in the form of a lunch of vegetable tortillas: two tortillas filled with spicy beans, jalapenos, cheese, spinach, coriander with sour cream. Even with asking for them to take it easy with the jalapenos, this was still hot hot hot! But otherwise super tasty. But seriously, cool it down, jalapenos, bit too much for this lady.
I’ve also done the ‘build your own’ breakfast, with scrambled eggs, hash browns, spinach and mushrooms on sourdough bread. The hash browns are actually proper grated-up-then-fried -potato, not store-bought blocks of stodge! Do you know how happy that makes me? Soooooo happy. I think this was also the visit where my compatriot Joe ordered a special of macaroni and cheese that was the size of his head. Oh, so much cheese, it was beautiful. And delightfully creamy.
Random potato-based quibble: the fries always seem to be underdone here. I’m not quite sure what’s happening there, but it makes me sad. I love crispyness in my fries! This is only real black mark that I could find against Yellow Bird during this rediscovery period, as I take crimes against the potato very seriously.
My most recent visit saw me finally sample the sweet side of the menu, with a breakfast of porridge with honey, crushed hazelnuts and fresh strawberries. I would have preferred a bit more honey (it didn’t even hit a third of the way up the milk jug it was served in), but otherwise it was a good, hearty way to kick off a Sunday morning.
“Who orders porridge for breakfast when eating out?” asked Bennett contemptuously from over the giant plate of ‘man-food’ in front of him. “It’s wrong. Your face is wrong.”
“Your mum’s face is wrong,” I countered out of habit (fact: 58% of banter between Bennett and I is based in the noble tradition of mum jokes).
Yellow Bird, I had come to discover, is solidly reliable. You can go there and have an enjoyable meal at a price that is decent against the wallet, fills you up nicely and is low on culinary disappointments (underdone fries withstanding). No, you won’t have any heavenly revelations that will cause you to redefine the meaning of food, but in amongst good company you’ll have a highly enjoyable time. And isn’t that the point, really? That Bennett, he was totally on to something. But don’t tell him that, I’ll never hear the end of it.
122 Chapel Street, Windsor
Ph: 9533 8983