April 02, 2013

Cora, Downtown

(The original edit of this review contained just two words, one of which my mother is ashamed I know).

Chez Cora is an apparently an east Canada thing, loved in Quebec and Ontario as great breakfast location, with fresh, well cooked breakfast food.  Their biggest selling point is the piles of fresh fruit with every dish. Looking over reviews from the east the words 'delicious', 'piping hot' and 'excellent' are used by their fans.  The Cora franchise obviously missed a few steps while translating to the West Coast.

I ordered the Cora's Special.  2 poached eggs.  Apparently medium poached.  Came out runny, bowl they were served in had a tablespoon of water in the bottom.  Bacon. Thin, sorry rashers. Cooked till they looked crispy, but some how had no crunch. Potatoes, tepid, mushy, with lots of black crispy bits, falling apart.  Looked nothing like the picture.  Was sold mushrooms in the hash. Paid $1.50 (plus tax) for couple of chopped and fried mushrooms.    Hadn't realized I was being up sold, which is shame on me for being fooled, thought it was a choice on how the potatoes were prepared. Mushrooms had seen better days as well.

The pancake was cold, miserable soul-less dough circle, balancing a slice of ham that might have been under a heat lamp for a while, and well cooked, juicy (but bland) sausage.  I think the pancake was meant to have been a crepe, but I couldn't really tell.

The toast came out in a big basket for all of to share.  Kind of a nice idea, except we had no idea which toast was which, it all looked the same.  Multi-grain might have had two different grain in it, but otherwise seemed like normal brown bread.  Pre-buttered, but just on the wrong side of warm.  There was fruit, and fruit on every bodies plate. Some fruit. I guess I just paid $13 bucks for a bit of fruit and an okay sausage.   I wasn't hungry enough to eat much more than half of the rest.  A sad, pathetic breakfast. No care, no flavour, just canteen, production line cooking.  I even felt a little queasy afterwards, but that might have been the plate of despondency I was served.

The server didn't blink when she took away my plate. No question about if it was okay, or even if I wanted it boxed up for later.  I was close to sending it back anyway, but just didn't feel like explaining myself.  I wanted out of here.  From the overly grinning face of Ms. Cora on the front of the menu, to the cartoon wall decorations, to the serving-by-the-numbers, I felt it was like being in Denny's that had been hit by fruit truck and a bad corporate make over. The staff were bumbling and new.  Some were friendly, some seemed to want to be the hell away from here, and some just generally confused as to why they were there that day.

The hard core coffee drinker sent back the coffee.  I drowned it in cream, and it would have passed for good in the early 90's in a cheap British canteen where coffee was mostly an afterthought.  Service was confused, one order came to the wrong table, and what they brought out eventually might have been sitting around at the pass for a while while they waited for the last bits to come out.  Also what they said they were carrying was not the same as the description in the menu.  Makes it a little harder to actually get the right meal in front of you, if you can't match what they are telling you it is from what you ordered.

It was busy, we were a group of 9.  Some say these are mitigating factors. That just doesn't work out.  You should seat groups you can serve, and only as many people as you are capable of dealing with in the kitchen. Maybe it was because it had only been open a month or so.  Maybe I was sitting on a seat just above an old burial ground, and the vampire-king beneath sucked the happiness out of me that day.

My friends had mixed views, so maybe the Cora's Special is not the thing to get. Someone should tell Cora that..  The take out fruit and bagel was well received  but was take out and delivered to the ordered who had asked for it to go when she walked in. Expecting it be 15 minutes for a simple dish to carry out.  I suspect the kitchen was never told.  The crepe roll ups got a passing vote, I think.  I got the hell out before we analysed each other's meals too much.

Does Victoria need yet another breakfast joint? Not this overpriced, company canteen it doesn't.

Final Bill
Cora's Special, with extra mushrooms and a coffee
Total :  $20 with taxes and tip
Phone : 250-381-2672
Address : 850 Douglas St, Unit 150, Victoria, BC, V8W 2B9
Website : Chez Cora, Victoria

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