Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bean Bar

In order to make this stop on our Epicurean Adventure more palatable and less mind-fuckingly tedious, we have replaced our regular food and venue photos with portraits of one another appearing as simpletons.
Bon appetit!

The Bean Bar
Mele, Sam


“It wasn’t as bad as you would probably imagine”

Not the exact phrase an eatery wants to begin its one chance at review-based fame. The Bean Bar found us quite alone on Friday night. The enthusiastic crowds who had mobbed us at The Sushi Train (I’m sure they were there for us), were suddenly quite absent among the small tables and modest selection of decidedly not-that-out-there sandwiches.

My word! What big sangers you 'ave, Guvna!

The sandwiches were pretty good. I’ve had to choke down worse chicken.


It was probably accidental, but The Bean Bar does have a certain low-key “vibe” to it. You imagine the franchise owner is convinced that having a selection of toasted sandwiches is probably about as icy cool as a coffee shop can get. Sort of like your mum steadfastly refusing to throw out those high-waisted cream slacks because you can’t improve on perfection. And, like I respect your mum for rocking those acres of waistband year after perfect year, I respect The Bean Bar for sticking with the doorstops and toasted rolls, flying in the face of fashion and popular favour. The rest of the café+food joints are probably branching out past sushi and on into … I dunno … goulash or haggis or something equally fashionable, but The Bean Bar is still there in the early-to-mid nineties, gloating over its sandwich press and its milkshakes in glasses. Charming.


Okay kids, it’s time for Mel’s rant:

T-bean is a perplexing little place that is next to the T-bar (a much more established venue that no doubt gets the lion’s share of business).
It’s actually ‘Bean Bar’, but this place was so forgettable….
The sandwiches were very,
very average. I’m not keen on toasted avocado and chicken sandwiches that have huge pieces of baby spinach and basil wilted in them. One should, never, never cook lettuce. For god’s sake, even the Americans are suspicious of this practice.
Seriously, dudes, not a good idea. Even hot avocado is a no go.

Obviously hot spinach is fine.

The ‘hot snow chocolate’ is the closest thing to breast milk I’ve ever tasted (other than breast milk). It sounded like the weirdest thing on the menu, ‘hot’ and ‘snow’ being opposing signifiers and all.

Magic beans, you say? Sounds lovely!

The drink they served was simple enough, a combination of milk, water and white chocolate that tasted like –you guessed it—watery milk and sugar. The drink had no flair at all. A dash of vanilla bean, nutmeg, cinnamon, strawberry Quik, anything was desperately needed.
I can’t imagine anyone but a lactose tolerant infant enjoying this drink (or maybe our friend Dordy, whose health fanatic mother once caught her stirring spoons of sugar into milk, a desperate act of a sugar-deprived childhood).
This place was so boring and dull that only the décor pleased me. Skip it. If you’re going to run a coffee or tea place in Adelaide, that place needs to be tied to a nationality where the product can be identified from.

I am a food racist. So are you. When was the last time you went to a place called Spinelli’s Authentic Chinese Cuisine? Or Wang Pham Pizza and Pasta? Never. That’s when. It’s for the same reason you would avoid espresso from Boring Old Mr Smith’s Boring Coffee Shop For Safe Boring People Who Don’t Like Flavour.

Yeeargh! Caffeine!

It makes sense to steer away from coffee and tea places that aren’t run by people from Devonshire, Sri Lankans, and/or various Middle-Eastern and European countries. These places have a history of brewing brown drinks that actually began more than 20 years ago. There’s a reason Starbucks doesn’t sell in Australia, and that’s because the wogs and the Asians got here first. Franchises are shit. Chances are you will get a cup of hot milk.

Score: ZERO out of 100. Good God—even Subway got 0.5/100.

Tune in next time when we take Charlie to T-Bar!


  1. Those are the best simpleton photos you could come up with? You should have taken Marc with you, he would have done a much better job.

  2. On behalf of Marc: Ouch!

    Maybe next time ...

  3. Did the doorstops have some combination of tinned corn and pineapple?

  4. Nuh-UH. This of course is a fancy place with diced tomato and basil leaves. On massive slices of white white white bread.

  5. @tracy--canned corn tastes like can-yuk!

    I've heard similar things about Bean Bar, but also heard that it was better than Starbucks. I never tried either of those, I'm a Hudson's girl. But for drinks only, not the food.

  6. I think if you're in Bean Bar for a coffee, you're close enough to about a dozen other independent coffee places that will do it better and keep your cash in the state.

    Unless you're after a snow hot choc.

  7. DanielK is clearly fussier about his simpleton photos than I am, because the 'spinach' one had me laughing 'til I farted (which, incidentally, might have created an extra ripple of excitement at the Bean Bar should I have joined you....)

    And yes Mele - hot lettuce or avo are both nausea-rising No Nos.

    Love this series!

  8. It's nice to be appreciated by being laughed at.

  9. What's the deal with the Chick in the photo, is she retarted? and that forehead, I could use my pitching wedge and knock one close to the pin off of it. Seriously give up this website and go and get your face fixed.


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32