Sunday, 21 September 2014

Rupert and Ruby

Scores:
Coffee: 17/20
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 33/40

Come to it before it goes. It’s tempting as a blogger to ignore a pop up spots that have a short life expectancy. Yellow House was one example, which I loved but sadly did not get around to writing about. Stanley Street Merchants is another, which I tried to review but could never get a table. And Rupert & Ruby is another pop up, which in this case I have!

I can't even begin to imagine how hard it is to run a pop-up restaurant / café/ bar. The ‘build it and they will come’ theory does not work in a competitive Sydney scene, you have to have a hook. And if you have the hook (limited time only + creative menu), how do you maximise your profit in 3 months for it to even work?

Nerd 2 and I popped into this new (almost old for the site) café for a Saturday breakfast, post a deadlift filled gym session. Walking in, there was a clear 11am Darlinghurst buzz to the place. It’s that morning Darlinghurst mix between people flirting with a wine list and those clearly steering towards the orange juice (nerd 2…).

The vibe was chilled, the café dark and famous cartoon dogs (Snowy and Santa’s Little Helper) painted on the walls, it’s my kind of place.

Coffee was first up, St. Ali was the bean on the grind and I stumbled through asking for a latte, much to the amusement of the staff member. Food wise if you're interested I went for a great scrambled eggs thing, nerd two a smoked salmon breakfast option, both delicious.

On St Ali Coffee for a second, is a bean that is increasing becoming Melbourne regular and signal that a café has got their shit together (think Campos/ Toby’s Estate a few years ago in Sydney). Its house blend is a lovely bean and seems to travel well. Their signature/house blend, which I assume R&R are using, is a good choice with milk.

In between having a whinge about my back post gym. The coffee came out (I’m sure to Nerd 2 relief), proportions of it excellent, style fantastic (love the spoon – very old school Double Roasters like), great ‘leaf’ design and colouring constancy nice.

The aroma of the drink was sweet - chocolate like, however a little more complex than just that.

Tasting wise it does have the pleasant sweet dark(ish) chocolate flavour but also something quite fruity (citrus/sour). Perhaps a mixture between an apple and cherry? A super easy drink with a bit of a bold kick to it.

The meals came and went and while I do not review food was interesting Americana like stuff. Well worth checking out.

Overall, it’s a great place (while it’s open). The food is top notch, the staff have a great attitude, the décor is stylish and most importantly for me the coffee within the Darlinghurst scene a total standout. Well good enough for me to want to check it out again. As I said, come to it, before it goes!

Scores:
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 9/10
Experience (taste and smell): 8/10
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Coffee total: 17/20
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2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like):
Cool?: 8/10
Service: 8/10
-----------
Cafe: 16/20
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Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 33/40


Rupert & Ruby on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Toby's Estate (Sydney Airport) T2

Scores:
Coffee: 10/20
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 19/40

I love flying. The are a few things you can buy which really signal of possibility and opportunity more than jumping on a plane to somewhere amazing. The excitement of flying is something I've had since I was a kid and as Nerd 2 knows far too well, I like to get to the airport far too early just to savour the experience.

One thing I don't like about flying however, now I'm all grown up, is the coffee at the airport. Food at SYD airport has improved remarkably over the years (there is now more than just a McDonalds), however coffee options have in general continued its average trajectory.

Flying to MEL this morning I was excited to see a few new coffee options in T2. By scoping out the place quickly in the main food court (right after the security point) I spotted three options that looked okay (maybe even good), Brasserie Bread (seem to have coffee in something other than paper cups although questionable coffee), Toby's Estate and the other place, whose name I have forgotten [ sorry!] (All Press). In general you typically have time for one (and money!) so there is a huge element of risk to the choice.

Now I just had one coffee so please forgive my inadequate review, but perhaps you've tried the other two (or know somewhere else), but I went Toby's Estate. Why? Well firstly, I work with brands and would hate to break the advertising mentality that 'big brands are successful because they are big'. Second I've reviewed Toby's Estate well on City Road. Third, I really wanted a good coffee and hoped they could pull it off.

Lining up I saw glasses and cups which gave me some hope that perhaps I could get a sit in drink. However as I ordered a latte “saying for here”, my hopes dashed as my order was written up and a paper cup was put into the production line.

The coffee was made quickly and the solo barista while being flooded with orders did put effort into the pour. He did a nice heart (which would have looked even better in a glass) and handed it off to me. Looks, as takeaway coffee goes, was nice, I like that they put in the effort into the pour and you are given the option put own your own lid.

I went no lid - and walked for 50 meters to grab a window space. Now while I like the idea not having a lid on my coffee in walking to a seat I quickly realised that a smarter move would have been to get one, as I did some fancy footwork around some hyperactive kids.

The coffee's aroma was almost non-existent by the time I sat down, the silky milk had began to settle and dry and I'm not sure the cardboard helped the experience.

Tasting wise, it was as far from City Road as you can get for Toby's. A little bland and slightly overheated and I could not really get any sort of discernible favour other than the milk (perhaps some caramel). The coffee just not what you'd expect from the brand.

Perhaps the quantity of milk needed to fill up a whole takeaway cup is either just not that suitable for the lovely and often more punchy bean. Perhaps the pour was a little under-extracted, due to inattention by the barista, due to the pressure he was under to pump out coffee so people will not miss their flights.

Enjoying the view I allowed the coffee to cool and steep. I found the flavours, once the coffee had cooled, were more to what I'd come to expect from the bean - I noted that a delicate and rich milk based cocoa, milky sweet caramel like flavours with an interesting earthy edge to it was starting to develop.

Overall, I'm perhaps being a little harsh on Toby's Estate however, I do it out of respect to their other key stores they own. If we start thinking about coffee at the airport and not in an absolute Sydney terms, it's a fine option for a caffeine hit on the go, just not one to savour.

In future I'm not sure why I went a latte in this situation. If I were you, go a mac, long black, espresso or piccolo and hopefully you'll see the bean at its best.

Scores:
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 5/10
Experience (taste and smell): 5/10
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Coffee total: 10/20
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2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): An airport
Cool?:5/10 – I like airports and watching planes…
Service: 5/10
-----------
Cafe: 9/20
-----------
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 19/40



Toby’s Estate on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 16 August 2014

The Grounds of Alexandria

Scores:
Coffee: 15/20
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 31/40

Look I admit I've been a bit shit of late. You see, while I've been writing drafts upon drafts of different places, I’ve been terrible at getting them up online… not to mention, I may have been a little Darlinghurst centric of late in my reviews. Hopefully this is set to change with a review that likely should have occurred in 2012.

A work away day on a cold Thursday this week finds me arriving 40 mins early to the Grounds of Alexandria to give it a spin before we dive into a brainstorm.

The Grounds is a place I’ve been meaning to come for a long time, it has been one of those it Inner West cafés people love to love, and love to talk about even more (this must be one of the Instagramed locations in Sydney?). Even if you’re not familiar with the place (unlikely if you’re reading this blog), surely you heard about the pig (Kevin Bacon), which got pig-nabbed last year?

If you’ve not been here before you’ll likely be as lost as me when you walk in. Walking around the grounds of the Grounds is not an unpleasant experience though. Say hi to the pig and macaw as you search for the coffee machine.

Once I had located the café itself and as it was 815am, I decided to ignore the signs telling me to ‘wait here for a seat’ (don't try this on a weekend) and instead walk on in and grab a table near the back of the inside cafe.

The inside space was loud, colourful, cold and very barn/warehouse like, I loved it. The atmosphere was fantastic. Retro-ish music played, busy chatter mixed into the high ceilings and the sounds of an espresso machine pumping away was a constant only broken by the baristas emptying out the coffee grinds into the bin.

Food, often modern twists on classic home cooked meals for breakfast flowed around me, reminding me that I had infact skipped breakfast that day. Note, the breakfast burger, which I had later was amazing.

The coffee appeared. Looks wise it had the classic pour heart, more rustic than perfectionist thing, which I must say surprised me a little for a place priding itself on the coffee and presentation. The coffee had clearly taken a bit of a round about way to get here as the frothed milk while still silky had the signs of drying to it.

The aroma was a little spicy to the nose with little hint of the roaster. Taste wise, coming from their still pretty unique (for Australia) La Marzocco machine I found it to be one of the more delicate coffees I've had of late. Initially you may, like me, struggle to discern what's behind this bean, letting it sit, revealed a little more.

The wait brought forward some interesting fruity honeycomb like flavours mixed with a bit of an interesting slight spice, which if you paid me I'd not be able to guess. An espresso I had later in the day revealed more of a full bodied and rich experience some reasonable acidity and that added complexity of sweetness going on which I found in the latte.

Overall, it's a killer joint. The staff seem cool and to manage the ebbs and flows of traffic well. The space is a great urban barn and undoubtedly still one of the more unique cafe propositions in Sydney. And the coffee one of the most delicate experiences you can come across.

My three bits of advice. First, come here on a weekday if you can, the lines (what scared me from coming) are non-existent. The second is with your espresso coffee skip the latte and go something with considerable less milk. And the third is perhaps their filtered coffee could be the best experience yet.

Scores:
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 7/10
Experience (taste and smell): 8/10
-----------
Coffee total: 15/20
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2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): an urban barn
Cool?: 10/10
Service: 6/10
-----------
Cafe: 16/20
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Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 31/40



The Grounds of Alexandria on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Marcelle on Macleay - Potts Point

Scores:
Coffee: 15/20
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 32/40

A Saturday stroll up William Street and then down into Potts Point finds me walking amongst one the most random areas of Sydney, Macleay Street. The area is a true mix of socialites, walk-of-shame revellers and fitness fanatics all clash with one another every Saturday morning.

What Macleay Street for all its NYC or London like cosmopolitanism charm (and/or trash) seems lack, is a café of style and substance with some quality coffee thrown in. There are some wonderful exceptions on the street to this blanket statement, namely Coffee, Tea and Me, however most coffee joints on Macleay, particularly close to or before the 'line' (the mark between Potts Point and Kings Cross) look quite unpleasant regardless of the hour.

The good news is that about 6 months ago someone read my mind and opened Marcelle on Macleay. Found right across from the iconic Potts Point Fountain you'll be sure to find it by either the queue of peeps outside the cafe or by the small tables on the footpath.

Having spotted an outside table (that on most winter mornings could have been dangerous, however on this sunny one, majestic) I made my move and sat down.

A girl came over to the table quickly. Deciding to follow the guys beside me I went for a piccolo latte (and a scrambled egg with spicy tomato relish sandwich for breakfast - bread naturally from Brickfields).

While soaking in the sun, sounds and smells of Potts Point, the coffee soon appeared and was done presented with a classic heart pour.

The coffee’s aroma was quite dominantly nutty and a little bittersweet to the nose, you can tell the roast they use is not your typical Sydney milk chocolate affair.

Taking a sip, the nutty flavour seems to be distinctly almond like in flavour. There was also an interesting dark cocoa flavour which tended to linger then the nutty flavour. I would describe the coffee as an initially bitter and punchy experience followed through by sweeter rounded slightly ashy flavour with a hint of honey thrown in somewhere. All in all, a wonderful over analysis of a drink if I do say so myself.

If you leave your drink a while, the dark bitter flavour remains, however there is a lovely bit of something more sweet to the aftertaste, a flavour I can't quite put my finger on this morning, any thoughts?

Overall, I’m sure impressed with the place. The staff were wonderfully pleasant. The atmosphere, sitting on the footpath, sheltered from the wind, in the sun on a glorious Sydney morning was amazing (although I do admit a little hard to replicate. It was just one of those classic Sydney morning moments.). Food, thanks for asking, tasty. Although I could have used a knife and fork to eat the egg with (don’t turn down the cutlery like I did). And coffee (likely the house blend by di Gabriel), a wonderful and brave experience by a café not afraid to reject the normal milk chocolate or caramel flavours we're all coming to expect from the Sydney coffee scene. Killer spot, nice coffee.

Scores:
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 7/10
Experience (taste and smell): 8/10
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Coffee total: 15/20
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2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like):
Cool?: 9/10
Service: 8/10
-----------
Cafe: 17/20
-----------
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 32/40



Marcelle on Macleay on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Art Gallery of NSW - Cafe

Scores:
Coffee: 10/20
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 23/40

A wet long weekend finds Nerd 2 and I at the Art Gallery of NSW, having seen the Treasures of Afghanistan exhibition (wonderful). We headed downstairs for a late lunch.

There are two eating destinations at the Gallery, The fancy upstairs joint and the downstairs café, we headed down.

From initial appearances the cafe presents itself well. An open kitchen, inside and outside sitting options and a nice colour tone with lots of white marble throughout (as you'd expect from the Gallery).

Given it was the Sunday of a Long Weekend the line was long. Nerd 2 and I worked as a team to fight through it. I'd order, she go on table duty.

The line flowed well and lunch, plus a latte and a green tea was soon ordered and (hopefully) on their way.

The wait for both latte and food was not too long, although in saying that the wait for the green tea was another 10mins until nerd 2 just went up to the serving area to get it.

The latte's presentation was disappointing, but not overly unexpected given the quantity of people and the solo barista behind the machine. The coffee I would describe looked as stressed as the staff felt. Hastily poured and quickly stirred as it settled before presentation to the table, heatwise it was a little cool to the touch and saucer had remnants of a cappuccino before it.

The aroma of the drink was reasonable and  you would say quite safe with the slight milk chocolate flavour to the nose. Taste wise it was a very traditional coffee (safe) in its flavours aiming to suit everyone (perhaps suiting the crowd?). There was a dominant chocolate flavour, with hints of the roaster with a smoky ting in the nose. It was a very milk dominated drink.

Letting it cool (which was not to hard given its heat at arrival) the flavours tended to intensify around both the milk and chocolate tones, not a bad flavour at all.

Overall, while likely a brilliant and charming cafe on a quiet weekday, come Sunday of a Long Weekend the cafe had stressed the staff and faculties their breaking points. Tables you'll likely you may clean yourself (although they did get this under control). Water glasses rare to find (again they got more staff on and it came under control) and food while good is inconsistent in quality (likely due to wait time to server time – likely to have come under control later in the day). The coffee, while likely a crowd pleaser, is not doing the cafe's location justice. I would have loved to see beans to match exhibitions (like their meals) rather than a stock standard bean.

Just to note I've been here previous on a quieter Saturday and it was a far better staff and coffee experience, I do like the place post gallery run. But for this experience -

Scores:
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 5/10
Experience (taste and smell): 5/10
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Coffee total: 10/20
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2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): A slightly worn-down The NSW Art Gallery
Cool?: 7/10
Service: 4/10
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Cafe: 13/20
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Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 23/40

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Venus Cafe (The Stables Cafe) - Surry Hills

Scores:
Coffee: 16/20
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 34/40

It’s rare when a café hits a lot of the right marks. You walk in and the staff are chatty and friendly, the vibe is chilled and the coffee is wonderfully put together.

I luckily found such a place that hits all these marks (and more if you're into your food). What was once The Stables and now Venus Café (not sure why the name change) is a gem of a cafe in Surry Hills that will make most coffee nerds quite happy.

Found at the back of The Stables clothing store (get in via the alley or walk through the store) across the road from the Beresford on Bourke Street, the café (IMO) has one of the best interiors in Sydney.

The interior, reflects the urbanised Surry Hills vibe perfectly. Venus has huge glass windows to the alleyway, allowing sunlight to stream in what would have otherwise been a very dark space. Polished concrete floors and untreated wood clashes well against a floor to ceiling wall of black tiles behind the counter. On warmer days a balcony opens up to the urban jungle behind and on the cooler ones a wall is put in place closing in creating an “inside outside” space. If you're an Instagram junkie you're bound to find a few shots you'll post up.

The staff greeted me as soon as I walked in with some light banter and a fast coffee order. On this occasion I choose not to follow the order a couple of guys in front of me (who went iced lattes) and instead went long black.

The coffee was both light and delicate in texture with a lovely crema. The flavour was citrus like perhaps and if I was going to put a fruit to it, I'd say sweet lemon. There was a slight acidity that stays with you in your throat after a sip with a little smokiness to the nose.

Letting the coffee sit I had a bit of a scope of the place. If you're into stalking the Surry crowd, the café is undoubtedly a good people watching location. There are a real mix of young urbanites flowing through the space.

Back to the coffee – having let the coffee sit, the acidity of the flavours intensified, bringing out the fruiter edges to the drink (perhaps I was wrong on the flavours, it is perhaps more of a grapefruit than lemon). As an aftertaste there was now something a little more solid than the wispy smokiness then previously mentioned.

Overall, it’s hard not to love the café as there was little to fault with the cafe. The space is very cool, vibe chilled, staff the right sort of attentive and coffee really well made. Just remember to get here early as it starts to close up as it tends to close just after lunch.

Scores:
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 8/10
Experience (taste and smell): 8/10
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Coffee total: 16/20
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2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): A designer cafe
Cool?: 10/10
Service: 8/10
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Cafe: 18/20
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Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 34/40


View Larger Map

The Stables Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 25 May 2014

The Factory Grind - Surry Hills

Scores:
Coffee: 16/20
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 31/40

A wonderful autumn Sunday sees me climbing out of the Darlinghurst valley into Surry Hills peaks. Having sadly been turned away from Stanley Street Merchants for the second time for not having a booking (post breakfast I think it's more of a restaurant affair). I made this weekend’s destination instead a cool looking café, I've been meaning to check out ever since I passed it on my way home from the Stables, The Factory Grind on Bourke (a post for another time).

The Grind is found on Burke Street in Surry, a little bit towards Taylor Square from the Beresford. An airy spot the café does a good job with its corner location, making the inside feel quite outside.

Grabbing a seat was not a huge problem as Burke Street cafes go into chilled mode on Sundays. I was quickly greeted with both menu and bottle of water and glass. I followed the order of the guys beside me and got a piccolo latte.

The coffee was quick in its appearance and had that charming well-made piccolo look to it. A nice fast free pour heart.

The aroma from the coffee was short and sharp with a mixture of the roaster’s ashy flavours alongside the bean's fruiter sour flavours.

Tasting wise the flavour of the coffee was like its smell. A spicy, fruity (like a berry) sweet the piccolo latte.

Leaving it sit it picks up more sour berry notes, with some coca hints, after each sip is a lingering ashy smoky flavour. A really nice experience and very worth lingering over.

I grabbed a late lunch while I was here, watching people come and go. It is clearly a popular spot with the locals as even as the staff tried to close up, customers continued to come in and grab coffees and teas to sit in. The staff were very accommodating to these requests.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Factory, it’s one of the easier places to sit for an hour (or two) over a coffee and a tasty fresh meal. The staff are highly pleasant, café feel a very Surry Hills affairs and coffee, well presented and full of surprising flavours in a city where you increasingly come to expect just one of four/five roasters.

Scores:
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 8/10
Experience (taste and smell): 8/10
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Coffee total: 16/20
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2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): If a restrained Dalí designed a Surry Hills cafe
Cool?: 8/10
Service: 7/10
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Cafe: 15/20
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Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 31/40


View Larger Map
The Factory Grind on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Pharmacy Cafe - Darlinghurst

Scores:
Coffee: 16/20
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 32/40
Bean: Little Marionette House

Sunday morning finds me retracing my steps from the night previous, where I spied a coffee shop I'd not seen before. My destination was Pharmacy Café. Found just off the corner of Oxford and Crown you'd likely better locate the cafe by its proximity to Shady Pines. A bit of a street/foot level café it’s got a very Oxford Street vibe to the place.

It’s a chilla place, if you can forgive the slang, but it’s a nice word for the café's vibe. At 9:30 there a few people round, but the few who were there, where sitting in the sun or chowing down on their likely kale based breakfasts.

I did my usual thing of ordering what the last person had, in this case a latte. Once ordered I realised that I had no cash on me, the barista, your new inner east hipster type was more than happy to let me sort it out after my coffee. Nice service!

Grabbing a seat near the small espresso machine I had a look around. Pharmacy is a bit of a ramshackle of a place, it looks like the owners moved in and collected chairs, tables and even a piano off the streets of Darlinghurst and threw them in. It works, and you can see they could do a lot with the space in future.

My coffee arrived as we got to the third Cream song in a row (not a problem). The latte was very well done. The coffee was nicely proportioned and sat at a smaller size then you may be use to for a regular latte (nearer to piccolo sizing). The sizing I’d say is a good call as its far better for the flavour of the drink although; clearly not for those coffee value seekers (quality over quantity people, we are all coffee nerds after all). It presented well, a strong bit of coffee art happening on top.

The aroma was a little smoky with a robust cocoa smell to it. As for the flavour I found it reasonably delicate with dark chocolate as the key flavour followed by fruity acidity, I thought perhaps a bit of a bitter plum flavour.

Leaving it to sit, the dark chocolate flavours sweeten a little further leaving it to being more of a milk chocolate like flavour, the fruity acidic flavour tends to disappear.

Overall, it’s a great little shop. The vibe is great. Staff wonderfully relaxed and coffee very well done. A great new addition to the Darlinghurst coffee scene. It feels like a cafe just getting started with a bit of a vision, I'd come check it out if you're in the area.

Scores:
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 9/10
Experience (taste and smell): 7/10
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Coffee total: 16/20
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2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): A sunny Darlinghurst alley
Cool?: 7/10
Service: 9/10
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Cafe: 16/20
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Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 32/40


Pharmacy Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 3 May 2014

ALMA - Darlinghurst


Scores:
Coffee: 14/20
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 30/40

In little Darlinghurst there is a three way coffee discussion occurring. Firstly, with the change to Third Village, is it any good anymore? Second, if not Third Village then where do you go? One group says Fragrance another ALMA. And finally a third is still at Bill and Tony’s.

Today it’s ALMA’s turn. On an ANZAC weekend, I can’t express my joy at finding a café open. Walking in the barista (and I assume owner working on a public holiday!) was a super polite and nice lady, who knows her regulars.

Seeing a table front and centre I plonked down the laptop and ordered a long black and an egg and bacon roll (hey, I had been to the gym already this morning!).

The café is very cute, old comfortable ecliptic furniture are scattered across the small store.

The coffee came over to be quickly (given it was the only one in the queue), but yet with a smile. Presentation wise it fitted in really well with the store. A random colourful mix of saucer and cup with a nice full crema.

The aroma had a bit of a smoky, fruity smell to it. Quite nice all round.

Taste wise I found it both a little floral/fruity and a little spicy with a long lasting hit of acidity in the aftertaste and in the mouth there is some stickiness to the drink. Letting it cool, while I devoured the bacon and egg roll, I found the acidity of the drink became more intense with slight sour notes to it. Not unpleasant by any means. I did prefer the initial flavour more though.

Overall, ALMA is a nice local spot. The atmosphere is non-intrusive and cute. Service is killer with some very nice people behind the bar. Coffee wise it presents well and taste wise sites above your average cafe. The standout of the place is clearly their food. With a strong breakfast menu, and even better lunch I’d say the Portuguese lunch options are the real draw.

Scores:
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 8/10
Experience (taste and smell): 6/10
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Coffee total: 14/20
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2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like):
Cool?: 7/10
Service: 9/10
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Cafe: 16/20
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Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 30/40



Alma on Urbanspoon

Red Door Cafe - Leura

Scores:
Coffee: 15/20
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 28/40

The Blue Mountains is home and known for a few things. Bush walking for one, checking out the Three Sisters for another and the obligatory tea and scone.

Coffee, while off the traditional checklist, sits highly on mine so on the Easter Long weekend Nerd 2 and I had away I checked out a few places with coffee in mind around Leura.

First up Red Door. Red Door near the top of the mall (near the roundabout) is a popular spot by all accounts (by ‘all accounts’ I mean the huge flow of people looking for a table at 9:30am on a Saturday).

Nerd 2 and I got our table scouting skills on and managed to dance our way through a whole lot of people to nab a table as it opened up.

Service was fast given the quantity of people (given it was the Easter long weekend), I went a long black as more than enough milk based food was on the horizon (notably chocolate eggs), Nerd 2 a chia latte.

Coffee was a bit of a wait, given the business of the café. So I took some time out to read the weekend paper. There is a real pleasure is reading the Saturday paper with nowhere to go isn’t there? In between News Review and World sections I looked up to see a breakdown of the flavours of the coffee in the grinder with a syphon coffee glass thing below it. My opinion of the place was high.

The long blacks arrival put a bit of a spanner in the works, as it came out with a very broken crema. Two things could have occurred, either the coffee pour was right off or I was dealing with a double ristretto.

Taste and smell wise it was a lovely bean. It had a bit of a spicy sweatiness to it. The aroma smelt a little more of dark chocolate, but the taste led towards more of a caramel sweetness. If I were a betting man I’d say it was a double ristretto.

Letting it sit saw the more caramel flavours subside to the initial dark chocolate like flavours in the aroma.

Overall Red Door, even if it was a single espresso with a shit crema, is an excellent coffee choice in Leura (or even Sydney). It’s a charming place that manages hectic very well. Food, which I’ve failed to talk about was a good café affair. So if you’re in town just for a shop or for a few nights Red Door is well worth checking out.

Scores:
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 7/10
Experience (taste and smell): 8/10
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Coffee total: 15/20
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2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): City chic with Blue Mts. charm
Cool?: 7/10
Service: 6/10
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Cafe: 13/20
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Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 28/40



The Red Door Cafe on Urbanspoon
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