Batavia Tea Salon & Coffee House Review
Note: Batavia has now CLOSED.
If you paid $9 for an ice coffee what would you expect to get?
This was the situation last week at Batavia in South Bank, which seems to have a bit of a reputation going for excellent tea and coffee in surrounds that inspire thoughts of the East Indies.
Batavia is actually a furniture store that has an East Indian flavour and has a tacked-on area where you can consume pricey tea, coffee and other morsels.
The atmosphere is certainly relaxed and comfortable but I wouldn’t say I felt like I had been transported to a different time and place on entering as some others have claimed. The store has got lots of nice furniture, trappings and accouterments, but the piles of tables and chairs stacked in the middle of the store do remind you that it’s a furniture store rather than a salon.
Service and presentation is taken very seriously and your order is presented on a bamboo tray, and in the case of an ice coffee, consists of a tall glass full of ice cream, a jug of chilled black coffee, a jug of milk and a shot glass of sugar syrup. Batavia says this gives you the opportunity to make it just the way you like it. Outsourcing the labour to the customer while doubling the price is a ballsy ploy, but it seems to be working for Batavia as at the time of writing I could not find anything other than a glowing review.
So what went wrong?
Firstly, if you’re going to make me pay $9 for an ice coffee (which is pretty close to double the ‘normal’ price) it had better be nothing short of absolutely amazing. When you put that sort of price tag on a standard menu item you raise my expectations to a point where ‘good’ and ‘very good’ are no longer acceptable. In fact, at $9 you’re telling me this will be the best ice coffee I’ve ever had and you’d better look out if you don’t deliver on that.
To cut to the chase, the reason I’m disappointed is the ingredients that were used. There’s only a few of them but that’s where the difference lies. The ice cream was obviously cheap; it tasted icy and disappeared into the milk and coffee. Good quality ice cream is creamy, dense and goes ‘gooey’ when being mixed – this didn’t. The coffee was too weak and there was too much of it. It was also served chilled which killed the aroma and flavours; lukewarm would have been better. When combined, the whole thing lacked creaminess and by the end of the drink I just felt bloated and gross. Not a good outcome for a drink that was expected to amaze.
One drink is not enough to pass judgment on though, and for the time being I’m prepared to entertain the idea that everything else on the menu is as amazing as its price suggests, but Batavia be advised: you’re on notice.
Tea Salon and Coffee House
3 / 167 grey St
South Brisbane map
07 3844 4694
Open 7 days
Visited on Wednesday, 6 May 2009