Bumbles, on Budd’s Beach, is only a short walk from Surfers, but it could be miles away. There’s a relaxed sleepy feel to this riverside suburb. Even the cars drive slower on the flip side to the surf beach. It was a top spot for Kate Madison to open a café in 2000, following her other successful ventures: Café Mocha in Surfers, Madison’s and 3 Beans in Broadbeach.
We’ve dined at Bumbles a number of times since it opened, or stopped in for coffee and cake. It’s a gorgeous place to dine alfresco with the right company. Shaded by umbrellas you look across a grassy verge and towering palms to the meandering river, the unhurried pace personifying the best of Gold Coast living.
So with much anticipation we looked forward to breakfast in the restaurant, which had been renovated during the previous year. It’s a beautiful reno. Inside, the restaurant is made up of several discreet area, cascading over a few levels, adding interest and giving a feel of intimacy to diners. There’s a very feminine and homely cottage feel to the decoration, so much so that you could be forgiven for thinking that you’d entered a private beach house.
There’s a lived in, comfortable and not so shabby chic vibe, with fresh flowers on every table, separate rooms for groups, even a library room for book swapping – the perfect place to hold a book club lunch for 12! No wonder it’s a popular haunt for ‘ladies who lunch’. For Millenials, of course there’s wifi.
It would be easy to get so caught up in the decor that the food is forgotten, and even the service…
Orders are taken as soon as we arrive, almost brusquely, and our coffees come soon after. The Genovese coffee is caramel smooth and milky, in mugs as big as bowls; perfect for the bean shy, but perhaps too light for those who prefer a strong blend.
Our breakfasts arrive soon after, but so does a pile of dirty plates, picked up from another table and dumped carelessly on ours by the waitress, as she goes off to do something else. We stare open mouthed at the gaffe. I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to eat with a pile of dirty dishes sitting on the table.
But back to the food…it was freshly made but underwhelming. It lacked the generosity of spirit, the exciting combinations and finer touches of presentation that you’d expect for the price. The hollandaise sauce was not freshly made and the serving size was a tad small for the guys. No, the waitress informs me, the avocado and goat’s cheese on toast does not come with an egg – eggs come in pairs only at $5.50.
I’d really love to say that I was crazy about the meal, but the food and service fell short of our expectations. Perhaps we just got a bad day, but somehow the whole experience felt as though Bumbles was resting a bit too comfortably on its location and reputation.
Yes, we’ll go back again, as the cake selection looks far too good to miss. Maybe a trip there with the girls for coffee and cake overlooking the view might be the best bet.
NOTE: We’ve heard of many good experiences since our review and hope to go back to this gorgeous venue sometime soon to update our review.