We all have those cafés we wander by on a regular basis and think to ourselves ‘I really MUST remember to check that place out one day.’ More often than not, ‘one day’ never comes as we continue in our established patterns and habits, hanging out in the same bars and cafés as we always have.

One of the reasons I started writing Corridor Kitchen was as a means of stemming the tide of oft-walked-by places. I hoped that the cafés I had always wanted to check out would also be of interest to others, and that perhaps they, in turn, could suggest places to me. I wanted to develop a list of places that, in my opinion, are worth checking out.

I had wanted to check out The Kick Inside in Erskineville for months, which in reality probably means about a year. I finally headed there a few weeks ago when I had run out of coffee at home. It was about 40 degrees that day and I felt sorry for the guys working there- big open front window, no air conditioning. It’s not a great place to go in summer as you find yourself sliding down the retro vinyl furniture in a most unrefined matter.

That said it was all worth it when the barista brought me over a little retro carafe of water and a glass as well as the macchiato I had ordered. The heat was a bonus in a way, as I usually have to skull my tiny coffees but this time case my mach held the heat and I read the food-wank section in the Sydney Morning Herald. I glanced around. Photogenic Interior? Check. Good coffee? Check. This place deserves a review.

I arranged to meet my always-5-minutes-early friend there last Wednesday, and when she hadn’t appeared by 5 past the hour I began to think she wasn’t coming. This is not a reflection on my own impatience (although I am generally impatient), but rather her extreme punctuality. I received a panicked phone call a couple of minutes later. You see, the Kick Inside has no signage out the front, so she couldn’t find it, and like most people, she had assumed Erskineville petered out around the former South Sydney Town Hall. The Kick Inside, however, is located up the Newtown end of Erskineville Road, near the petrol station.

Out of breath and apologetic, my coffee companion joined me at my aqua-coloured side table surrounded by blue vinyl stools. The place describes itself as ‘an old skool lounge room’ and that’s not far off the mark. The Kick Inside is a colour-coordinated mismatch of retro chairs, lamps and tables are thoughtfully placed throughout the hardwood-floored interior, the coffee machine and food prep area stretches along one wall, a decor-matching mural in aqua and orange on the wall opposite. There’s a small courtyard and toilets out the back and a blackboard menu of reasonably priced cakes, breakfasts and Panini.

But coffee is what we came for and coffee is what we had. The Kick Inside uses Golden Cobra coffee, stocked by a limited number of cafés. I’m in a macchiato phase right now and my friend ordered a weak skim latte, but she wanted the same ratio of coffee to milk as you would get in a normal sized latte, so she ordered it with extra froth. This rarely works, as I know from my own unsuccessful attempts at ordering an extra frothy cappuccino only to receive a normal one. I gave up on caps years ago as latte-art obsessed baristas don’t seem to understand the concept of froth. Cappuccinos are one third espresso, one third milk and one third froth. Thus, a frothy cappuccino will have more than one third froth, and thus be quite strong. In Australia, a cappuccino includes a dusting of chocolate powder, making latte art irrelevant as all it does is dissolve the chocolate the cap drinker has been hanging out for.

So how was the latte? Perfect. It was extra, extra frothy but there was no compromise on the texture of the milk. And the mach? No shortcuts here, my macchiato was full cream deliciousness, nice and short, strong and rich. This place definitely deserves another visit.

The Kick Inside
(02) 9517 2255
43 Erskineville Road
Erskineville, 2043

Tues-Fri: 7:00am – 3:00pm
Weekends: 8:00am – 4:00pm

The Kick Inside on Urbanspoon

Do you have an often-walked-by place you’re just dying to try?

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14 Responses to Café Review – The Kick Inside, Erskineville (now closed)

  1. Gaby says:

    How the hell I’ve managed to walk by this place at least three times a week and not notice? And I thought I had good observation skills. Thanks for the review, retro is not my thing but I appreciate well prepared coffee.
    Gaby recently posted…Recipe- Pulpo al olivo

  2. Nikki says:

    out of breath, apologetic & covered in sweat :-) Nice review. I’m still thinking about how well-made that latte was, a week later, because it’s almost impossible to get “baristas” to do anthing differently from how they think it should be done!

  3. Caelum says:

    Very cool Lau – golden cobra is usually pretty damn awesome, served at the falconer on Oxford St (opposite Oxford Art Factory), have you tried them?

    • Lau says:

      That is so weird because I went to The Falconer on Saturday for the first time ever! I ordered a coffee but I was too hungover from the night before to drink it so I can’t comment on it. But it’s another of those places I’ve walked past many times and thought of going in.

  4. looks great. another one for the wish list :-)

  5. What a great find! I have those kinds of places that I always meant to get to and then when I do I’m so glad that I did! :)

    • Lau says:

      Me too. I guess the thing is when there are so many great places out there you just keep going back to the ones you know are excellent- old habits die hard. Sometimes I think I’m too scared to take the risk of trying a new place, to avoid dissapointment. But I am resolved to check out those places that I’ve always wanted to try. Now, if I can only remember them…

  6. You’ve just reminded me I have a bunch of photo’s of this place, and I’m yet to blog it. One day. Seems the ratio’s for cappuccino have changed since when I was a barista 10 years ago. A third foam (or froth) was considered too much back then. Unless of course you worked at a place frequented by seniors that expected their cups-of-chino piled high with a mountain of fluffy froth. I’m cringing just thinking about it!
    john@heneedsfood recently posted…Greenhouse by Joost – The Rocks

    • Lau says:

      It’s always been the strived-for ratio as far as I know, of course you don’t always get there. But there should be froth, that much is for sure. I’ve been served enough choc-topped flat whites to last me a lifetime.

  7. Nico says:

    The Kick Inside is one reason (of many) I love Erskineville.

    Regarding the cap – try asking for a dry cappuccino?
    Nico recently posted…Sexuality in British Contemporary Art @ Southbank Centre 8/6/11

  8. […] week was The Kick Inside’s turn. I had read a review of the place in this cool blog written from a barista perspective and it sounded like a great place for Sunday lunch. Neil, Andrey and I grabbed a table in the tiny […]

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