Today we are in Cluj Napoca, Romanias second largest city, after Bucharest, at a cafe priding itself on being steampunk and unique.
The moment I entered the door I realized that this place really was no joke. To the right you are instantly drawn in by a huge metal clog clock (that’s a mouthful) and I instantly felt as though I was on the movie set of Lara Croft Tomb Raider; flood that thing underwater and there you are, right at the gripping scene towards the end of the movie with all the gears and clogs underwater trying to save the day.
A real visual candy store of delights was hidden within this establishment and everywhere you looked there was always something unique and fun to see; I felt as though I was on a real life movie set.
I also noticed that the lights around the edges of the ball, that where in the shape of a sphere, where covered in gas masks; what a great little addition.
The inside was very dark and had a dungeon vibe to it with its metal walls and quirky pipe counters; basically a steampunk heaven, but the day was just too nice to pass up and we sat outside to eat breakfast.
A few people we knew had recommended this place to us and although it says ‘cafe’ in the name it is more of a bar; a full bar that serves every alcohol you could ever want, but during the day is a coffee and breakfast hangout spot.
We took a seat in the beautiful courtyard surrounded by ivy that had slowly eaten its way across most of the walls and lamps; devouring each nook and cranny with luscious green life. The garden was called the secret garden and my mind flashed back to the film titled exactly that, which I had watched in my youth; a 1993 classic that clearly left a stamp in my memory. It was just absolutely beautiful; the left of the courtyard had thick vines growing from the ground, covering a seating nook with a canopy of ivy.
I also noticed that all around the courtyard were love seat swings; cushion-less now but a prime time butt parking spot in the summer I’m sure.
The menu had many different options and I was over the moon to see that they had multiple egg dishes prepared in many ways; anywhere with eggs is ok with me – my favorite breakfast food of choice.
I was sold. My husband ordered a salmon fillet for breakfast with grilled vegetables, and I opted for the eggs on toast with charred bacon – simple but beautiful every time, or so I hoped.
Our order was taken by a not so friendly waitress who really was not loving life, but it was too much of a nice day for us to be down and too hungry to have any qualms, and so we ignored it and moved on waiting for the cappuccino and vanilla dream coffee which we’d also ordered with the food.
The courtyard was very nicely decorated with an almost graffiti style vibe to it; each wall and window pane had some sort of picture or quote on it to pass the time, and I got a few pictures in as I read each one. Quirky!
I also noticed that no area was left untouched; even down to the storage room door near our seat that was painted to look bright but old; the attention to detail was worth a round of applause.
In the center of the courtyard there was a tree covered with wood in the shape of a cone, painted brightly, and carved to appear as though many doors were opening out of it, entering you to many different worlds within the tree. I instantly thought of my childhood and all of those Dr Seuss books I would read before bed, imagining little whos from Whoville living behind those tiny doors; my inner child was thrilled.
Now, about the food….
We waited, and waited, and waited some more, until I literally could not simply wait anymore. (That Dr Seuss tree must have wore off on me for that rhyming couplet ha! You’re welcome.) I was starving and it had now been 45 minutes since we’d ordered and we’d only just received our coffees. I was getting hangry, so I drank my coffee and tried not to pout.
The vanilla dream coffee came in a champagne/Bellini cocktail glass and had four layers to it – a vanilla syrup, milk, a coffee, and a whipped cream layer. Beautiful to look at, and the cream tasted freshly whipped. So far so good.
Almost an hour after ordering, our food finally arrived; the waitress pushed it onto the table without a smile or single word and disappeared, but I didn’t care because I was too hungry to focus on anything other than those beautiful gold yolks looking up at me. I’d been waiting a long time for this.
My first bite; cold. Bummer. Second bite; Luke warm. Double bummer.
The dish was cooked perfectly and although very simple it was always going to be my first choice as long as there were eggs; the fact it was cold was purely heartbreaking.
My husband said that his salmon and roasted vegetables arrived piping hot and delicious, so I came to the conclusion that a rookie mistake had been made back there in the depths of that steampunk kitchen. They’d started cooking my simple dish at the same time they’d started the salmon and veg. Mine had finished – as little was the cook or prep – and my husbands had taken a while longer rendering my plate cold by the time his even knew what a plate was. Oh the misery!
The seasoning was on point, my yolks were creamy and runny, and luckily this dish is a dish that I actually did not mind eating cold. I’m sure it would have been a lot better hot, but I was hangry and I still ate every single bite; following it down with a sip of hot vanilla dream in all its hipster glory.
Mission accomplished; belly full.
Soon after we’d finished our meals we decided to get a cappuccino each, but nobody returned to our table or even peaked their head into the courtyard; must be very busy inside. I got up and walked back into the darkness of the very empty bar area to ask for two cappuccinos, feeling terribly rude for interrupting the waitresses Facebook time.
After 20 minutes we still did not have a cappuccino and it had started to rain, so we moved to a table inside. I wondered if maybe they’d forgotten our order as they stood about passing time, but after we’d waited a good 30 minutes our cappuccinos arrived. Maybe Tuesday was just a slow day at Enigma for the waiting team; or maybe that was the norm everywhere? I had yet to understand. With the drinks finished we paid our tab and left a 20% tip as that was the proper thing to do; the staff were paid a low wage and relied on tips – A fact we had read in an information booklet left by our lovely local Air Bnb host. Even though the service was definitely not with a smile I understand the ways of tipping and would not drop to a level of taking that away from someone unless something awful was to really take place.
I can imagine that this bar is fantastic at nighttime and I’d soon start to learn that many bars and restaurants appeared to be in no rush when it came to service and instead my husband and I delved into conversations and laughed to pass the time; it’s funny how your usually fast paced life can slow down to match the world around you, and in that time you find a place of new happiness and attention you never realized was missing. So even though the service was possibly irritatingly slow, we turned it around and benefitted from it in the most beautiful of ways; spending more time together talking and having fun.
Until next time,