Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Fine Food Store

Scores:
Coffee: 14/20
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 27/40
Bean: Campos

Finding a good coffee on a weekend, near Circular Quay is tough. If you’ve followed my blog you’d realise it was this very predicament that gave me the urge to start a blog. So one year on I find myself back in the same place asking the same question, doing the same thing - I was at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas last year as well, I’m not just celebrating have a bad coffee 1 year on!

Having experienced some of the worst service in Sydney in Guylian last year, when Nerd 2 asked me “where do you want to go for lunch around here Rob?” I was stumped, ignoring my instincts and Nerd 2’s warning we headed for The Rocks. I thought maybe some Thai food could be the go.

A walk down one of the side alleyways in the Rocks, looking for a Thai café that I could have promised you existed, lead me to find The Fine Food Store, a café which clearly does not serve Thai but it looked good anyway.

Fine Food is an interesting café for the area, because it actually looks like a Sydney café rather then tourist trap crap cafe like City Extra and the like do. Walking in you get a sense that the food should be fine and the coffee possibly good with the café proudly noting they serve Campos Superior Blend (house) on a blackboard.

Walking in from the wind (it’s become quite a gusty day), it’s pleasantly sunny in the café. Nerd 2 and I grab a table in the sunroom (for lack of a better word) pick what we want for lunch and I go up and order it at the counter. Four people before me ordered lattes, and while I was going for a long black, went for a latte at the last minute, Nerd 2 went for a Chai.

The café is unsurprisingly filled with tourist types. There were quite a few people sitting around by themselves writing postcards or checking their Facebook Sydney photo statuses on their iPads.

Oddly, for the look and feel of the café, which honestly felt like a domestic quirky kitchen they had the Deftones going, which I thought was great, if a little bit of a juxtaposition.

The food came over quickly and was given to us by a chatty and friendly American girl. My lamb panini came with salad which was nice addition, Nerd two went with a mushroom toastie which looked great – she reports back it was delicious.

The coffee and tea arrived soon after. Just checking out the latte, it looked good, yes your right, the leaf was not the Campos signature leaf but really who cares, it looked better then most places. Heat wise, it was leaning a little more on the cooler rather then hotter side of acceptable (although still fine). The proportions were quite reasonable for a latte.

The aroma of the coffee was quite sweet and had a bit of a fudge/toffee thing going for it with that developed into a fruity hit that we expect from this house Campos blend.

Tasting wise, it had all that you would expect from a Campos house blend coffee: that reasonably solid full body experience, the lingering toffee tastes, the hints of fruitiness and slight earthiness, but all a little dulled down than you would find at their Alexandra or Newtown locations. My guess is that the coffee was a little under extracted, but on the whole it was a good experience.

Overall, The Fine Food Store is a fantastic coffee option for the Rocks. Whilst it does not have the location, ‘classiness’ or indulgence of , Fine Food has nice food, reasonable prices and reasonable handling of quite a tough blend. The café itself has a cool feel, I commented to Nerd 2 that if I were a backpacker this is the sort of café that I would be attracted to, and that’s simply what it is, a great Rocks option coffee spot.

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): A inner city home kitchen
Cool?: 7/10
Service: 7/10
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Cafe: 14/20
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Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 28/40


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