With a mother whom I adore, I often find myself needing a speedy and convenient breakfast spot where we can chat and catch up on recent events before we both skip off to work (ok that's an exaggeration, we don't skip on Mondays). I know that in this, I am not alone. In our busy lives, it's often easiest to sneak in our social engagements in the city (if we work there, of course) before or after the toils of the day, which makes finding hidden foodie treasures all the more important. One of our usual haunts (and not just because she works right around the corner) is Romolo. It's small but cosy, located in the centre of the picturesque Strand Arcade. It's got all the things you could want for a speedy catch-up. However, Romolo seems to have one egregious glitch that I have noticed among some other small cafés I have been to in the CBD ... they have a problem with consistency.
When heading to this little George St-adjacent gem, we often opt for the granola - 50% because it's tasty, 50% because it makes us feel healthy. It comes meticulously presented in wide white bowls, with delicately arranged berries atop a small dollop of yoghurt and a few micro-herbs to garnish. I find myself somewhat on the fence in regards to the micro-herbs, they do little by the way of flavour but are a nice aesthetic touch. All in all, it is beautiful to look at and usually puts a smile on our dials. Upon tasting this granola for the first time it was delicious, with the perfect amount of crunch and yoghurt/berry balance to appease any fussy foodie. The produce is all fresh and there are myriad little components which comprise the crunchy granola (without anything too overbearing).
By all accounts, this is a speedy breakfast option that I would come back for again and again. So I did - the following week. I sit down, waive at the waitress, shaking my head as she asks if I need to see a menu - I already know what I'm here for. She brings out my dish with a smile and I look down at my bowl. My eyebrows furrow. What is this? The granola has changed, now appearing to be mostly comprised of some flaky oats and hardly any nutty bits at all. Not only that, but there are fewer berries and, if I were being persnickety, a slightly smaller portion. I try not to be disheartened and decide to follow mother's advice of not judging a book by its cover (or a granola by its grain). One bite. Two bites. I'm resolved. This muesli is not the same one with which I fell in love. It's a bland and rather unexciting substitute that provides barely any crunchy delight at all. Expecting fabulous and getting flawed is not the best way to start the day.
In the weeks that followed, we went back a few times and I found the consistency waxed and waned, for no real reason, resulting in my increasing dissatisfaction. Customers shouldn't need to play lucky dip with their breakfast, spinning the roulette wheel on whether they'll be satisfied with their meal. In a city where there are so many options for food, such inconsistencies shouldn't happen (especially if the café wishes to keep its clientele). In Romolo's case, their saving grace is their coffee. I always drink it with glee, the caffeine salving the wound of desultory dining disappointment. However, is that enough?
Overall, I would recommend Romolo most of the time - the time when the granola is good. When they get it right, it is spot on. However, there will always be a few times when it lets you down and that's not really acceptable nowadays. You want to know you're always getting the same standard. After all, the price is still the same. With many a different spot to try, I'm afraid Romolo may fall by the wayside - left behind as others produce delectable dishes every time.