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Cafès | Posse

Coffee by the horns

January 20, 2015 at 3:19 pm

When passing through dense CBD corridors in Sydney, there’s a limited possibility you could stumble across some coffee action that’s as good as that in Melbourne. There’s the odd coffee shop bustling with caffeine-crazed commuters around the railway corridors, but buried in the northern end of the city is an iconic little place whose main focuses are coffee, coffee and coffee.

Cabrito Coffee Roasters is nestled proudly within the walls of history; the heritage building it’s positioned in teaming with regular activity behind the brick archway and pouring onto the sidewalk. With roaring chitchat from happy customers, owner Kit Cheong and his business partner Michael Cookson have stripped the building down leaving the original wooden flooring, rustic beams and patches of ‘historic paint’.

It’s a business design for success – but the Little Goat (that’s what Cabrito means in Español) would be nothing without the brewing talents of their baristas. Whether your poison is a full-bodied espresso or a rich and creamy cappuccino, they’ll work their magic and deliver every time.

For a spot not out in the open, being hidden away on Bulletin Place has served them well. Those who are in the know are treated as royal regulars and fresh faces are welcomed just as enthusiastically – it’s a comfort knowing their cosy location doesn’t leave them disadvantaged. Cabrito is basically just a Hispanic, goat-filled version of the Little Engine that Could.

With kitschy Keep Cups lining the shelves (in an array of sizes and materials, mind you), you’re well aware that they’re conscious about the planet’s waste. Though we feel it could, maybe, not likely, but possibly have something to do with the fact that if a takeaway cup is made of glass, not paper, any billy goats roaming down Bridge St would leave you the heck alone.

The cheesiest toasties can be found here. Image by Sheena and Thomas Southam

And food, glorious food… Well, there’s no hot sausage and mustard. But you will find some delectable sweet treats and savoury eats. From the famous cheese-loaded (ricotta, mozzarella and jamón) toastie and sandwiches to the rotating selection of contemporary LusciousKiki lamington flavours (think raspberry cocount, pink velvet or salted caramel) and pastries, there’s always something to accompany you on your journey to caffeine heaven.

If you’re having a downer of a day and in need of a pick me up, take action and swing on by. Grabbing the goat by the horns is exactly what you need to keep your spirits up.

Southwest Sydney’s cafe food of Angils.

January 16, 2015 at 3:51 pm
Bacon & egg brioche with provolone, aioli and smokey BBQ. Source

Bacon & egg brioche with provolone, aioli and smokey BBQ. Image by Katrina Pham

A lot can be said for a man who introduces great coffee to a region of Sydney long untouched by inner-west coffee connoisseurs in favour of something a tad closer to the city’s art-filled laneways and beachside barista hangouts. 

Frank Angilletta – who we believe to be an angel in disguise if his Italian last name isn’t enough – has successfully sculpted a café setup that suits the burgeoning southwest region of Sydney and become a mecca for Liverpool’s coffee-deprived residents.

Having grown up in the area, Angilletta says he “could see there wasn’t anywhere decent in Liverpool to get a cup of coffee.” And that’s how the idea for Ristretto & Co, his cosy Surry Hills-like terrace café that sits proudly next to St. Luke’s Church on Northumberland St, was born. He saw the opportunity, and like an angel, descended upon the narrow block of land with a plan to resurrect the area’s associations as a caffeine-dead-zone with that of abundant life.

Espresso Ristretto

Campos Coffee brewed to any bean-hunter’s top standards, every hot-drip beverage is a knockout. Flat white to foamy cappuccino, every cup is guaranteed to be a winner. And then there’s the rest of the drink menu – creamy hot chocolates, a T2 selection, and fresh orange juice, which we guarantee is 100% fresh – we witnessed a trolley load of the citrus fruit being delivered to the store room upon arrival.

Moving onto edibles, Ristretto is open for brekkie or lunch, but for anyone ready to take on the chef’s Italian cooking skills, lunchtime is where the menu has been weaved together from regions around Italia. There’s paninis and pastas of the day, traditional beef lasagne, pizza e toglio – and a vegetarian’s dream: bruschetta with grilled eggplant, zucchini, roasted peppers, Persian feta, rocket and pesto.

The ultimate bread board. Source

The ultimate bread board. Image by Katrina Pham

Despite the generous selection on offer after midday, breakfast is where the star players come out. From the simple, but sublime burnt fig and raisin toast to the extravagant bread boards layered with grilled truss tomatoes, poached eggs and a variety of meats or vegetables, there’s plenty to stress over when ordering. But the top dog is Angilletta’s favourite – “it would have to be our signature dish, the uovo in pomodoro,” which is free-range egg poached with chorizo, spinach & pomodoro sauce in a terracotta pot, served with toasted sourdough. The cost of this saucy monster? Less than $15.

Fig and raisin toast, Ristretto

Fig and raisin toast, with jam and butter.

Perhaps the greatest ensemble of coffee beans, Italian-esque delicacies and kitsch, mismatched furniture we’ve ever come across (you’ll also love the ferns dangling from the awning in the courtyard out back), guardian angel Angilletta has commenced construction on a second venture – and it’s almost finished.

Opening January 27 at 7am for the Monday rush, pop-up The Shed will bring new life to Bigge Park, servicing customers from the mega-sized Liverpool Hospital, TAFE and nearby transport interchange. “It’s a beautiful space on the grass,” Angilletta says. “The building is actually an old changing room that we’re fitting out.”

Opening soon... Source.

Opening soon… Source.

More of a tuckshop than hit Ristretto, the focus will be on easy meals and coffee. “But there’ll be sandwiches, salads and other produce made onsite at Ristretto and delivered daily,” he points out.

Regardless of the downsize to the amazing menu, The Shed will be a welcome addition to Liverpool’s café culture. Sitting on the grass, iced frappe in hand and munching on a grilled panini seems the perfect way to spend a lunch break, or heck – any time of day.

Being situated so close to the station, there’ll be no excuses from any inner-city coffee fiends not to pop by and revel in the new Liverpool that Angel-etta is helping create.

Tiny packs a large, hazelnut punch

December 17, 2014 at 4:02 pm
Bombs away - The Nutella Bomb's a taste explosion. Source

Bombs away – The Nutella Bomb’s a taste explosion. Source

After first visit to Piccolo Me, it’s difficult to determine whether they take their name from a translation of the Italian word for small – their adorable hole-in-the-wall setup and a pint-sized coffee hit both coming to mind – or that of the lesser-known woodwind instrument. 

Much alike the Pied Piper leading a trail of tiny beings behind him, the growing café chain’s specialties seem to wield a similar power, beckoning foodies near and far. Success for them is in the menu; their unique creations not found anywhere else in Sydney.

One key item reappears several times as you scan the menu for the most weather-appropriate sweet treat: Nutella. Deliciously rich and creamy hazelnut goodness whipped together in a family-run factory found in the hilly region of northwest Italy.

Every creature on this planet – I once saw a squirrel nibbling on some from a tossed-aside jar in Germany – is a fan of the good stuff. Its mother company Ferrero would probably win the title of ‘Best chocolate factory of all time’, runners up Lindt, Cadbury and the completely real Willy Wonka all kicking themselves in jealousy.

But down here in Sydney, titles don’t really matter – it’s all about the flavoursome qualities of a product, and this is where Piccolo Me have found a business winner, now operating seven citywide cafés that stretch from their latest shopfront on the CBD’s King St to Bella Vista in Norwest Business Park.

For the caffeine savvy, there’s the Esprookie – a store-baked choc chip and Nutella cookie cup sprinkled with crushed hazelnuts and accompanied by a hot espresso syringe. It’s ideal for those who mightn’t wish to fill their ‘mug’ to the brim.

Chocolate chip + nutella + espresso = happiness a.k.a The Esprookie. Source

Chocolate chip + nutella + espresso = happiness a.k.a The Esprookie. Source

Then there’s the equally delectable Nutella Bomb – a thick block of hazelnut chocolate on a stick plated beside a glass of hot milk, which can be made into a hot chocolate or mocha. Slurp this down with their latest creation, the Crotop (Nutella-stuffed mini croissant bite topped with peanut M&Ms or hazelnuts), which is bound to infuriate the most conservative Frenchman alive.

And for the affogato lovers? They’ve got you covered with two menu regulars – the Nutellagato or The Cookiegato (with that delicious choc chip and Nutella cookie base), both complemented with vanilla ice cream, double ristretto and chocolate flakes.

Is your mouth ready to give a few of these a go? You won’t even have to leave your office – a number of Piccolo Me stores do catering.

And then there’s the most important question for any brides-to-be – have you got your wedding catered yet?

Marlowe’s Way the right way

December 16, 2014 at 3:23 pm
Beat the rush in this laneway setup. Image supplied.

Beat the rush in this laneway setup. Image supplied.

A soul-filled slice of Sydney CBD takes the form of Marlowe’s Way, writes Ryan Auberson-Walsh.

For a slick little city café with vinyl plastered across the walls and over doorframes, you’d certainly expect a bit of noise to be blasted from the in-house sound system – an old-school record player. But a mini construction zone set up in front of the laneway coffee stop is temporarily hogging a visitor’s first impression.

Walk past the grey concrete and bouncing jackhammers however, and Marlowe’s Way sits, proudly as ever, tucked in the side of a beautifully ageing Bridge St building. As you creep closer to the robust caffeine aroma wafting from the gleaming countertop appliance, the sounds of James Brown or Jimi Hendrix blare soul and rhythm into your eardrums – the cacophony of street sounds and blues slowly morphing into a symphony of urban noise.

Perhaps a reminder of a bygone era when outdoor festivals and record bars peaked in popularity across the world, the friendly décor and quality croissants (among other amazing nibblies) cement this record bar as a colourful addition to Sydney CBD’s eclectic café scene.

Construction ruckus aside, one would be a fool not to swing by, let the barista whip up a stupendously smooth latte and munch on one of the menu’s numerous delectables. From the simple flavours of the avocado toast with lemon and seasoned olive oil to your choice of three breakfast boards (think boiled egg and mayo with prosciutto, salmon or provolone on rye crispbread), brekkie is a treat.

And lunch you ask? The tastiest salads in the city’s north, or a generous selection of heavier treats – but we think that if you’re sitting at a messy office desk and in need of a bite or coffee top up, we advise you to “get up offa that thing” and visit this groovy hole-in-the-wall for yourself.

Wine and dine at Wynyard’s Panzerotti

December 2, 2014 at 8:36 pm
Panzerotti-Bar-96

Poached eggs for brekkie anyone? Source

The freshly relocated Panzerotti is back with a bang. And Ryan Auberson-Walsh is pretty happy with the new offerings.

A favourite restaurant contender for the busy CBD crowds, Panzerotti is generally open for breakfast through to late lunch weekdays, whipping up some of the most filling Italian-style dishes in Sydney.

Having recently moved to a new location with more room for the lunchtime rush, they’re now wedged underneath a heritage sandstone church with views opposite of Wynyard Park. But it’s also meant that their humble café has transformed into a new after hours bar and restaurant, becoming a hub to unwind and relax after a stressful day in the office.

Panzerotti bar snack

Lamb croquettes – part of the new bar menu. Source

With the move has also come a new menu – having been granted a liquor licence they’ve come up with some quirky cocktails that are just as delicious to taste than they appear on paper. The Bees Knees is exactly as it sounds, blending whiskey, pineapple, lime, honey and mint, while the Days End is something wicked to wind down with – bison vodka, basil, lemon and white vermouth.

Beers include the inevitable Peroni (what Italian bar is complete without this), Vale Ale, Stone & Wood, Balmain Pale Ale and Hop Hog. But for something a little fuller, there’s a neat selection of Italian, Australian and New Zealand reds, whites and rosés on offer.

Panzerotti-Bar-57

Super slider – one of many scrumptious dishes. Source

When it comes to food, it’s obvious from the lunch menu that Panzerotti take their pasta seriously – a highlight for dining in or takeout, there’s a choice of penne, linguine and homemade gnocchi with a generous selection of toppings and sauces. Alternatively, how down a wagyu burger with taleggio cheese or for the carb-conscious, the smoked trout or beetroot and feta salads are must tries.

It isn’t, however, all about pasta. We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and here is where your choice won’t leave you feeling worn out by midday. Two favourites include the 3 egg omelette with king brown mushrooms or the French toast, doused with honeycomb butter, lemon curd, raspberry, mint and pear.

Panzerotti-Bar-14

Panzerotti’s Dessert of the Day. Source

Whatever time of day it is, the new Panzerotti Bar won’t leave you disappointed, and sitting in for an easy-going lunch is much more spectacular now that they’ve opened up to the world and offering an even snazzier food and drink selection.

Turramurra’s Hidey Hole

December 2, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Replay Espresso

It wasn’t long ago that the only coffee to be found on the North Shore of Sydney came from Nespresso tins in the pantry or, at best, the local bakery. But fresh, funky little cafés like Replay Espresso in Turramurra are changing all that.

 

Tucked away just off the Pacific Highway, next to Turramurra train station, Replay is the answer to the coffee lovers suburban wonderings of where to find a decent brew. The delicately made Gabriel Coffee is a welcome relief from the mediocre, milky blends that you regularly find once you’re more than 10km’s outside of the inner suburbs.

Replay Coffee

Offering a great range of food from paninis and pastries to healthy salads, there’s something for everyone’s culinary alter ego. Luke Avenue Cookies and Kiki Luscious Cakes have your sweet tooth covered while Oregano Bakery and Brasserie Bread add the element of class to this poky café that most lack.

 

The smiling young waitress recommended the BLT, and didn’t miss the mark. The just crunchy bacon, fresh rocket and tomato were the simple satisfaction tailor made for a Friday afternoon. And there’s something about eating off a wooden chopping board that makes you think: ‘I just became that little bit more in touch with my inner Surry Hills.’

Replay Bircher

With the day’s assorted newspapers sitting just under the funky communal H2O tap, there aren’t many boxes left unchecked on the modern rustic café’s list of must haves.

It’s no wonder there’s rarely a seat left unfilled. Fear not though, Beat the Q’s availability and Replay’s highway vicinity mean that you’ll be in and out with your caffeine fix in a jiffy if your schedule demands it.

A (Dear) Delicious Dulwich Hill cafe

November 28, 2014 at 11:50 am
Avocado Heaven Dear Delicious

In heaven with their top avocado dish and the croque monsieur.

Of all Sydney’s inner-west cafes, Ryan Auberson-Walsh has found one he can’t help but fangirl over. 

Dear Delicious,

What a wonderful experience my friends and I had the other day as we devoured several perfectly blended hot-drip coffees, fudgy chocolate brownies and enough egg and cheese dishes to destroy someone with lactose intolerance’s insides.

Creamy and mouth-watering, hearing that many of the products are made onsite (including that wonderful, wonderful ricotta) just seems to add a huge sense of credibility to your kitchen skills. Kudos to your chef/s for churning out such splendidly plated dishes – I’m currently craving the rhubarb and orange blossom pistachio labneh parfait, the blood red and coconut white hues positioned on the table opposite us were demanding our tummy-rumbling attention.

Breakfast beauties - the Avocado Smash and Croque Monsieur

Breakfast beauties – the Avocado Smash and Croque Monsieur

You’re one of those places that no matter how grand or quaint a meal seems, there wasn’t any food regret. Each of our plates was stacked a few inches high, my Avocado Heaven layered with two perfectly poached eggs, ruby red tomatoes, smashed avocado and baby spinach on top of locally-sourced Brickfields sourdough.

My mates also picked well – I have to admit, your attention to detail when plating dishes is so on point that I couldn’t help but nibble on what they ordered – the scrambled eggs (goats chèvre, spinach and giant field mushrooms) and croque monsieur (free range ham and horseradish clotted cream sandwich with fried egg) were out of this world.

Ready for the taking - cinnamon scrolls and other sweets are sourced locally.

Ready for the taking – cinnamon scrolls and other sweets are sourced locally.

We enjoyed making our way through the whimsical décor and past the open-plan kitchen to the intimate courtyard out back, lounging across a surprisingly comfortable wooden bench in Sydney’s sunshine, sipping at Little Marionette cappuccinos and iced mochas as a gentle breeze kicked up.

You’ve won us over – and we, or at least I, certainly cannot wait for a glorious return to try several other menu items (I’m looking at you, ricotta pancakes and coconut milk chai with nutmeg and star anise). But hearing that as of November 28 you’re staying open a little later for dinner service between 6pm and 9pm, perhaps I’ll have to swing by and munch on an entirely different menu.

Cheers for the eye-opening inner-west brekkie experience. It was, to say the least, delicious.

Sincerely,

Your newest and most-obsessed fangirl Ryan Auberson-Walsh


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