Snapshot: Sydney Cafés V

Tuesday, 12 August 2014



Sydney is now home to a swathe of new cafés, quickly swelling to Melbornian proportions (well, almost). Quite frankly, the industry has become a rather perplexing beast swaying under the pressures of sky-high rent, keeping up appearances on social media and somehow having 'an edge' over everyone else. Because let's face it, the standards of coffee and café fare at the moment are nothing to be sniffed at (go us :D). Now the rest of us can go forth and reap the spoils! Sydney café society is very much alive and kicking, particularly in the Inner West. Suburbs like Chippendale, Enmore and Marrickville are running red hot at the moment. Here are a few that are leading the charge:

Brewtown Newtown

6-8 O'Connell St, Newtown

I may just have a thing for great typography and signage. Here are the 23 karat gold leaf efforts by Lynes & Co Source: Lynes & Co

Ever since my time as a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed undergrad (back in the day) I've always had a soft spot for Newtown. Not only for its accessibility and character but also all the cafés, bookshops and quirky boutiques that line King Street in their dozens, not to mention $6.50 thai food. It's utterly irresistible. It's a little cultural hub and if I ever lived there...I might never well leave! Ever since opening last year, Brewtown Newtown has had a dream run. I'm thinking the alliteration might have a role there. Taking over the old Berkelouw bookshop site with an 'industrial' revamp, this airy space is now home to a café, micro-roastery and boutique of nice things in O'Connell Street Merchants upstairs.

And so, the battle of the coffee ferns ensues... After watching the Latte Art Smackdown at the Aroma Coffee Festival this year I have a new appreciation for the pouring of milk. Crazy. Person. I feel as though coffee in Sydney has reached a plateau, but in a good way. Not quite to the ridiculous standards of Melbourne (ruthless) but we try!

It's a familiar story, these lads (and ladettes) are serious about their coffee.  Sourcing green beans from a far off plantation in Panama, they are then roasted onsite where all the magic happens under the name of Gnome Coffee Merchants. Brewtown prides itself on showcasing seasonal blends as well as single origin brews. Take your pick from espresso, cold drip or filter; it's all there and if you don't know what I'm going on about, just order your go-to like I eventually did. A regular cap, s'il vous plaît! The menu is nice and concise with options appealing to all. I zoned in on the most unhealthy thing on the menu - there were cronuts involved. I have to say that Brewtown is hitting all the right notes with their set-up. Definitely worth a try if you can get a table! Good luck with that.

Baked polenta with mushrooms, grilled asparagus, poached egg & parmesan ($15). A super popular dish on the Brewtown menu, this is a lovely combination perfect for lunch or brekkie. The eggs were poached well, with the polenta to mop up all the yolk

Elvis burger: ground beef, savoury cronut, canadian bacon, gruyère and mayo with chips and relish ($16.50). It looks half eaten but actually this was the perfect serving size considering how calorie laden every mouthful was. Hidden under the innocuous disc of cronut was a proper hamburger, and very indulgent at that. The relish was a nice touch and potato wedges go with everything...

Brewtown Newtown on Urbanspoon

Bion Societé

Cnr Layton & Lambert Streets, Camperdown

A decent cappucino, or maybe I was just dying for caffeine at that point!

Not far from Sydney University or RPA, Bion Societé is tucked away from the chaos of Parramatta Road. Like a suburban oasis for locals, this is the perfect local coffee shop by all accounts. The interior is quite striking with floor to ceiling windows, larger communal tables and a green wall. With a very warm welcome we are ushered to our table, crowned with a huge pot plant which I discreetly pushed to one side. With coffee orders placed, I was already in my happy place.

Another rather swanky and super appealing café interior Source: Bion Societé

Chef Cherag Baria and the team have devised a very thoughtful café menu featuring plenty of crowd favourites from the all day breakfast  as well as a few dishes with a Bion twist. The crispy skin ocean trout dish with harissa looked delicious! As soon as the dishes hit the table we were pleasantly surprised by the care put into the plating. From the get-go I was pretty impressed by the whole package. The food was also a cut above (in the café food stakes) with a nice attention to detail. A big tick from me!

Persian breakfast: oven baked eggs and spiced lamb slowly cooked in tomato, capsicum, ricotta & coriander sauce with toasted sourdough ($21). The eggs were perfectly cooked, nice and runny to trawl through the dish. A good effort although I do look back fondly at Kepos Street Kitchen's version

Smoked salmon stack: sourdough toast, avocado puree, feta, smoked salmon, trout roe, fresh herbs, pesto olive oil & marinated black olives ($14.50). A thing of beauty, you wouldn't dream of doing this kind of fancy work at home. And the perfect serving size

BION Café breakfast: 2 eggs (cooked to your preference) with caramelised tomato, herb butter, mushrooms, chorizo, bacon, wilted spinach & toasted sourdough ($20). Old faithful = the perfect hangover cure (not that we were hungover :D)

Thanks for reading!
xGourmand
Bion Societé on Urbanspoon

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