Underground Coffee's ups and downs

STREET APPEAL: Underground Coffee in Sumner.
STREET APPEAL: Underground Coffee in Sumner.

Sumner is sparkling on a gorgeous January day. The streets are packed and Underground Coffee has a busy courtyard full of brunchers and coffee drinkers.

The corner site is equipped with beanbags and umbrellas, and has great street appeal. It's clearly a popular spot and caters for dog- walkers, tourists on laptops, and weekend brunchers.

The menu offers the standard breakfast options, with a small selection of cabinet food.

We grab one of the few tables outside and settle in for some morning sun.

The coffees, two flat whites, take a while to come out, and when they arrive are unfortunately bitter and bubbly - a let down considering the usual high standard Underground demands from its baristas.

The fruit salad is an extremely generous serving considering it costs only $11. A bowl full of grapes, pineapple, and apple is a fresh way to start the day and well executed. Presentation is sharp and care has obviously been taken.

However, the other elements in our meal aren't quite up to scratch.

The pancakes, served with bananas and bacon, are stodgy and dry. They lack the light fluffiness of a good quality pancake.

The bananas are grilled and are a nice balance of firm flesh and caramelised sugar. They've done well here to keep banana from going mushy.

The serving of streaky bacon is nicely crispy, but two strips does not represent value for money and is not proportional to the size of the overall meal. A disappointing meal overall, but it is nicely presented on the plate.

The corn fritters are served with salad leaves, bacon and sour cream and the dish is a decent serving size. Once again, two strips of streaky bacon.

The fritters themselves are mostly batter, with very little corn to be found, and totally lacking in flavour. The batter is thick and barely cooked through.

However, the biggest disappointment is the sour cream, which appears to be curdled and has separated into grainy blobs, bitter to taste and even less desirable in texture.

That said, the salad leaves are fresh and the presentation appealing.

Service throughout is professional and welcoming, and despite an influx of customers, remains attentive and efficient.

This cafe could be a real gem for struggling Sumner but, on our visit, falls short.

Sunday Star Times