2488 Gold Coast Highway
Mermaid Beach QLD 4218
+61 7 5526 6274
I just returned from a very lovely long weekend in Queensland. Despite stretching my weekend to a four-day one (I arrived on Thursday night and left on Monday afternoon), it was sadly not long enough. And despite bragging about awesome 19-20 degree weather in Gold Coast and Brisbane to all my Melbourne friends who had to brave rainy and windy 12-degree days, it was me who ended up catching a nasty cold halfway through my weekend. In sunny Queensland, of all places. Yep, karma is a bitch.
Pancakes on the Rocks’ newest franchise, on the Gold Coast, was also a bitch. Marty and I decided to have a late-night dessert session on my last night in Queensland. Because Gold Coast doesn’t really have a late-night dining culture, it was difficult to find a place that was open after 9pm on a Sunday night. Finally, after ringing a few places, we had some luck. I rang Pancakes and was told that, ‘yes, we do open late at night.’ ‘Oh, what time are you guys open until tonight?’ ‘10pm.’
Well, it was a start.
After having an amazing meal at Squires Loft in Robina, we hopped on the Gold Coast Highway, in the pouring rain, for some sweet treats before heading back home for
Austar Foxtel and movies in bed. Some of you may know that Pancakes is a Sydney institute. The first restaurant opened in 1975 and for years, they’ve been feeding late-night diners both sweet and savoury crepes, with salads and main meals being added to the menu much later on. If the massive queues outside The Rocks’ restaurant hasn’t convinced anyone that this was the place to be, then perhaps the number of new Pancakes restaurants opening around Sydney would. So when I heard that the Gold Coast branch opened up earlier this year, I knew I had to go.
The place was empty when we arrived, except for two tables of patrons slowly devouring their pancakes. There was also a long line of patrons patiently waiting to pay their bill at the counter. The girl at the counter, obviously busy, told us that she would be with us ‘in a second’ and told us to sit at an empty table to the left of the counter. We did as she was told, watching her attend to the line of diners paying. We noticed that there were no other staff members in the dining room, so we assumed that she was the only one working there. Fair enough, we thought, we’ll just wait until she’s done. But as soon as she finished dealing with the final patron in the queue, she left the counter and disappeared!
We waited for her to come back but after a while, I gave up, walked to the menu stand and grabbed myself two menus. It was then when I actually saw another staff member, standing not far from me eyeing me curiously. Moments later, she rushed to our table and started apologising for not attending to us because she thought that we had already ordered (WTF). Still, she was nice about it and after accepting her apology, we told her what we wanted and off she went.
$2.50 bought me a peppermint tea… courtesy of Twinings. I don’t know what annoyed me more: the fact that I ordered tea (I must be getting old) or the fact that I paid such a huge mark-up for a teabag. And they didn’t even offer refills. But anyway, there was no need to dwell on such trivial matters for our pancakes had arrived.
Marty had the strawberry patch ($12.95). Two big buttermilk pancakes were decorated with fresh strawberry pieces, cream, vanilla ice cream and a strawberry coulis that was far too sweet.
I had the bananarama ($10.95), an odd choice for me because I’m not normally one to order banana-based desserts. I chose it not only because the restaurant was playing a nice mix of 80s songs (Dead or Alive, FTW!) but because the bananrama was actually one of the not-so-heavy dishes on the sweet pancakes menu. My plate consisted of pretty much the same thing as Marty’s – two buttermilk pancakes, cream and vanilla ice cream – but with two grilled banana halves and homemade butterscotch sauce.
We both thought that the pancakes were awful. Rather than being soft and fluffy, they were dense and doughy, and not cooked all the way through; they pretty much spoilt our respective dishes. There was an option to have crepes instead of pancakes which would have, in hindsight, made our dishes taste a little bit better, but not by much. Marty’s strawberry coulis was way too sweet and my butterscotch sauce lacked depth. I also thought that one measly scoop of vanilla ice cream was too stingy, especially for two big pancakes, and would have welcomed a second scoop. In the end, we couldn’t finish our pancakes and apologised to our waitress for it. ‘But you didn’t even try!’ she exclaimed. Uh, yes, we did. We’re both big eaters and had the pancakes been good, we would have polished them off easily. Even if they were just okay, we still would have finished them. Secondly, I’m someone who hates wasting food and would happily cop a sore stomach and bloating if it means finishing everything off my plate. So what does that say about these so-called pancakes, hmmm?
The bill was $30, or thereabouts, but we brought it down to $18 thanks to an Entertainment Book voucher we had. Still, we didn’t think it was even worth the discounted price we paid for. Although it was good to tick this place off my list, we definitely won’t be back. Pancakes, however, doesn’t look like it’ll be on the rocks for a very long time if the queue of satisfied Nerangamites leaving the joint is anything to go by.