Point Walter to the Bridges - 12km
Same bat time, same bat channel. This time however, having threatened to do so for weeks, Westy's brother Dr Evil sent a shockwave through the collective Grumpy Old Paddlers by actually turning up! This threw us a little - we didn't know whether to start left or right, or whether to just abandon the whole enterprise and go to the pub. At 7.30am. Still, it was only a couple of weeks ago that we were having a beer post-paddle under the Pt Walter pines at 9.21am, so anything was possible.
We decided to head down to the bridges, with a 5-strong group of paddlers including Mean Gene, M4P, Dr Evil, Westy and I. Mean Gene relegated us all into the realms of girly-men by showing up in his sparkling new Triton, and dropping the 'I just bought a ski' bombshell as well. Not to be outdone by Westy and I's stock standard Endorfinns, Mean Gene went for the lightweight version and got it fully optioned with a backrest, paddle, six cup holders and a spoiler. Unfortunately the manufacture of the carbon-fibre/unobtainium spoiler was holding up delivery, so Mean Gene took my poverty-pack Endorfinn GL-model for the paddle. Dr Evil was also bolstering the Finn fan club on his Afinnity, whilst having his first Saturday morning off since the construction of the WoopWoop District Hospital and Abattoir.
I was a bit gun-shy this morning after bending the be-jesus out of my rudder post last weekend on a jumping rock just out from the spit, so pretty much carried my V10 Sport to the Bicton baths before I was brave enough to let the hull hit the water. It was an uneventful paddle to the bridges at Fremantle, but by the time we turned around, the Rottnest parade had begun with bucketloads of boats on the way out. The chop from several caused me to be a little vertically embarrassed and somewhat wet just off East Fremantle yacht club, but unlike my Hawaiian debacle, I was back in and paddling straight away.
Westy and I had put on the pace from the East Fremantle Yacht Club on the outbound leg and had reached the bridges on our own before catching Dr Evil and M4P immediately after my little foray into submarine life. On the way back a more-middle-aged-than-we-are couple had decided to jump off the Bicton cliffs into the water on a beautiful Perth morning. Well, the bloke had. The woman was stuck on the cliff and no amount of sledging...err..encouragement from us would get her to jump.
Mean Gene had been paddling around the Point Walter spit for the morning, and when the remaining four of us arrived back, he was way over the other side which gave us a bit of time to get ourselves sorted before breakfast. The council has 'remodelled' the foreshore at Pt Walter, putting in a few boat-like structures, but alas, nothing actually as useful as a shower on the western side. When Mean Gene got back we were sorted in no time and off to breakfast at a cafe that we'd passed a hundred times before but never stopped at...
Kava Cafe, 39a Bristol Ave, Bicton, WA, 6157, (08) 9319 1669
|Kava Cafe, Bicton. Two thumbs up.|
OK. I had read some not-very-flattering reviews of the Kava Cafe, and when I posted a photo of the menu on Facebook, one erstwhile punter had commented that with those prices they were on something considerably more hallucinogenic than Kava, and suggested that until they were revised that it be renamed the "Crack Cafe". Running on the 4-1 principle of reviews (i.e. four times as many people will go on line to complain about a bad experience than they will to wax lyrical about a good one), I was more than a little skeptical about the bad write-ups. As we were paddling I had deftly deflected Westy's inquiry about whether I had read anything about the place online, lest a revolt over the choice of breakfast venue occur at the last minute.
I'm glad I succumbed to my devious side, because what we got was something completely at odds with the bad reviews I had read.
With five ski-laden vehicles, the complete lack of (legal) parking for longer than 10 minutes was an immediate challenge warranting 'innovative' solutions, but it the end it didn't prevent two of the group having to park so far away that they could see the skyline of South Geraldton. At this festive time of year it was asking for trouble to breakfast next door to a bottle shop, but given that we had individually given our home brew a bit of a 'nudge' (obviously not in a Robert Hughes/'Hey Dad!' 'Nudge'-type of manner) a 'long' breakfast was luckily avoided.
We barely had our bums on the seats outside when a young lass came and got our coffee orders and it was shortly afterwards that the same friendly staffy (as in 'staff-y' - no reference to a Staffordshire bull terrier) came and efficiently took our breakfast orders.
|The hash is hiding - or I may have inhaled it before the plate hit the table.|
Our coffees arrived in short shrift and breakfast was there very shortly afterwards, which was a big tick-in-the-box after last week's journey through the ages. I had ordered the Spring Onion, Sweet Corn, Potato Hash with Sticky Maple Bacon, Spinach, Roast Tomato and Poached Eggs ($20) having been completely sucked in by the thought of sticky maple bacon. My mug of Flat White had turned up just prior at exactly the right drinking temperature and was just what I needed. I was a little disappointed that I didn't get a Wombat's Arse pattern on my coffee like last week, but it went down well never the less. The breakfast was superb - the eggs were poached beautifully, the hash was delicious and the not-quite-crispy maple bacon was so sweetly salty good that I was almost in need of a bucket of cold water. The only thing that this dish needed was a drizzle of Hollandaise and perhaps a nice slice of turkish toast to complete it.
Westy had gone the Three-Egg Omelette with Semi-Dried Tomatoes, Feta Cheese, Spinach and Bacon (Mushrooms available as a bacon substitute - but why would you?) for $17.50. He also had some Ciabatta toast on the side. His omelette looked nicely formed, and Westy's silence seemed to indicate his satisfaction. M4P had the Brekkie Sandwich (Bacon, Fried Egg, Rocket, Tomato and BBQ sauce on Toasted Ciabatta - $14.50) which looked outstanding and seemed to be a very good post-paddle choice. Because it's Christmas, I'm over 40, and have beer-induced memory like a sieve, I have little firm recollection of what Mean Gene and Dr Evil individually had, but I'm pretty sure there was another Three-Egg Omelette and the Kava Breakfast (Two eggs, Bacon, Roast Tomato, Mushrooms and House-made Baked Beans on Toast -$21) involved.
|M4P's Brekkie Sandwich|
As we contently inhaled our meals over a second brew, it turned out that three of us had recently had to change mobile phones, and it seemed that the common factor of being over 40 had turned three formerly tech-savvy gents into dribbling Mindas unable to do something as simple as answer a bloody call on a Samsung phone. For the record, when the call is inbound, a big green 'button' appears on the screen and no matter how many times you press the bloody thing - where it says 'Answer'! - you won't be connected unless you press and slide the damned thing. Fair dinkum, Samsung. Give us a break. We're blokes. We're genetically unable to read instructions, and generally unwilling to do so anyway. Make it easy on us.
Back to Kava, though. I'm really glad that I ignored some of the bad reviews, because I quite liked the whole breakfast experience there. The service was very friendly and efficient but unobtrusive, the menu was good, and so was the coffee. I didn't think the prices out of kilter with the area in any way, and probably if anything the menu was slightly cheaper than their competitors. Extra marks for being next to a bottle shop. I would definitely recommend Kava Cafe - we'll certainly be back!
Kava Cafe - 7.5/10.