When I moved into my first sharehouse, it was advertised in the paper as ‘Surry Hills’. I knew this wasn’t true, because when I looked at a map, it was right by Redfern Station. However Redfern had a bad rep and Surry Hills was highly coveted, so over the years Surry Hills has been spreading like mould, at least in the real estate pages.

Then there are the suburbs that are completely made up – I’m looking at you, ‘Redfern East’. No, I’m sorry, you just plain don’t exist. And then there’s Darlington, its 2008 postcode made up almost entirely of Sydney Uni (and invented specifically so Sydney Uni would enjoy, shall we say, less rigid planning laws than the surrounding suburbs). To me this is kind of a suburb. It’s the one you say you live in when you’re trying to sell your house but you really live in Chippendale.

‘The Shortlist’ is in the semi-made-up suburb of Darlington on the lemming-walk to Sydney Uni stretch of Abercrombie St. There have been two pretty respectable café options on this drag for ages – the laid back Tripod, serving coffee roaster coffee and the incredibly popular but slightly grumpily staffed Café Ella which is never open Sundays.

But for some reason, no one had a thing to say about this stretch of road until The Shortlist came to town. It’s true that it’s a lot busier on weekends now and the breakfast crowd seem to be getting younger. Many new businesses have opened up and, like all of Redfern, gentrification is full steam ahead.

So while I would love to make a pun about The Shortlist having been on my shortlist for a while now, it sort of hasn’t. True, it’s always crowded and it serves Little Marrionette coffee, something that coffee guides seem to universally agree can only be a good thing. But I’ve always gone by and it’s been packed out the front by people crouching uncomfortably on tiny stools, trying to be seen. It’s a tad too Redfern East for Darlington, if you get my drift.

One thing I didn’t know until I had a look at a place a day is that they have a courtyard out the back. Yes, I’m a dunderheaded fool, I thought that doorway was a mirror. That and its proximity to my house clinched it for me so one weekend we trecked on over. We ordered some coffees and an Earl Grey Tea muffin, which sounds like a load of wank but was absolutely scrummy. The coffee was rich and syrupy, short the way I like it. They serve standard cafe fare and the prices seem reasonable. I can’t say for sure if I’ll be back, but that’s only because I’m so spoiled for choice. Overall I’d say give it a go, especially if you can grab a seat out the back, which is pretty easy to do as the seat out the front seem to be the favoured ones.

The Shortlist
258 Abercrombie Street
Darlington NSW 2008
7:00am-4:00pm Monday-Friday
8:00am-4:00pm Saturday
9:00am-3:00pm Sunday

The Shortlist on Urbanspoon

Petty Cash Interior

Who doesn’t love the inner west? With its rockabilly, gritty aesthetic, it’s mostly-gentrified streets, its plethora of ethnic restaurants. There’s always something to do, something to see. Every day is a photo opp for one of those clichéd photographic exhibitions City of Sydney puts on in Hyde Park about the real/dark side of/contrasting Sydney – a nun smiling arm in arm with a drag queen, a beaming Italian man out the front of his bakery next door to a brothel. It’s a Sydney that may or may not exist, depending on where you are and who you talk to.

One place that definitely exists is the Petty Cash Café, a retro marvel on the Marrickville/Enmore border right next to Enmore Park. One Saturday morning Rui and I are just driving around, drinking in the visuals when we spot it on a sun-drenched corner. We pull over next to a couple of drool-worthy vintage cars and high tail it across the road to nab a table. Never mind the fact that we’ve already had a coffee this morning- I’ll break my one-coffee-a-day rule for the chance to try somewhere new.

petty cash cafe exterior

Petty Cash Cafe is one of those places that just begs to be photographed. Perched on the leafy Victoria road it has the retro/rockabilly vibe that I find so much more comfortable than the bare ligtbulbs, concrete floors and upcycled bicycle seat stools of the hipster aesthetic, although those things have their place as well. I love the clashing green/orange/red/warm timber, the retro furniture, the zany sugar bowls, the clientele and staff in the kind of getup I could never even envisage. It’s a feast for the eye.

Macchiato and picolo @ Petty Cash cafe

We plonk ourselves down at a chessboard table and order our standards. The food is served on mismatched china, although we don’t partake. The cafe offers what you’d expect- all day breakfast, gluten-free baked treats, lunch offerings and delicious coffee. I’d love to come back and have breakky some time but we don’t seem to do that much anymore.

Miss Petty Cash

Our coffees arrive and there’s no need to rush. I sit and look out the window at the park which, from this angle actually looks pretty amazing as Rui, true to form, plays with his phone. I people watch inner-west parents weilding SUV-sized prams, goths and hipsters taking their Saturday morning stroll side by side, kids clambering over the newly erected playground and an old lady wheeling her groceries back from the Metro. Now all we need is a nun and a drag queen and we’ll be right to set up in Hyde Park…

Miss Petty Cash
68 Victoria Road
Marrickville 2204
(02) 9557 2377

Petty Cash Cafe on Urbanspoon

‘We need to go out and have coffee,’ Senhor R said sternly one morning. I sighed. ‘Fine!’ I said ‘Let’s go!”. Oh wait, that’s right. I like coffee. But when someone tells me to do something, I straight away want to do the opposite.

Not to mention that these last couple of weekends have been like mini coffee tours as we try to drink and photograph as many coffees as possible, preferably on a Saturday. This is because I started falling behind. I got a bit busy, I got a bit lazy. I got a job. I graduated. It was my birthday. These are all good things, but let’s face it, they don’t leave much time for coffee dates. I really need to get my priorities straight.

When Senhor R and I sit down in a cafe, every single time without fail, they give me his coffee and they give him mine. This happens whether the same person who took our order brings us the coffees or not, whether I order or Senhor R orders or whether we both order. Apparently a piccolo latte is a ladies’ drink, while a macchiato is super-machismo. Ah, well. I don’t mind wearing the metaphorical pants for a while.

Crave espresso is a place I’d been meaning to revisit for a while, and Senhor R kept suggesting it. So naturally, like any good girlfriend, I put it at the bottom of my list. After all, it’s not far from home and we could go there anytime. And I do wear the pants.

The cafe part of Crave espresso is located above their warehouse in Alexandria. It’s one of those you’ve-gotta-know-where-to-look places but they do pretty good trade from the surrounding apartments. When we arrived on a Saturday morning they were relatively full, but it soon cleared out. We ordered our usuals, swapped coffees and sipped. Impressive flavour, more so than I remembered. In fact, we liked it so much that Senhor R got them to grind us a 250g bag of whatever we were drinking to take away. I know, I know. I should’ve been taking notes. But frankly I was too caffeinated to care what I was drinking. I was too busy enjoying it.

I recommend checking out crave espresso if you get a chance. The owners are friendly, the coffee is solid and you can take some home if you’re that way inclined. And don’t do what I do when someone tells me to do something. Don’t do the opposite.

Crave Espresso Bar
Unit 72, 20-28 Maddox St
Alexandria 2015
(02) 9516 1217

Crave Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

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While it might be a common occurrence for other food bloggers, it’s not usual for me to receive invitations to, well, anything. So when the folks at Campos asked me if I’d like to come check out The Cupping Room above their flagship store in Newtown, it’d be an understatement to say I was excited, especially since it had been on my to-do list since forever.

the pour

When I arrive at 5 to 3 on a Saturday, it’s hot and crowded and I can’t move for the customers. I’m not surprised, it’s one of the reasons I don’t come here that often, but when my partner in crime arrives, she’s shocked. ‘It’s as if there aren’t any other coffee shops in Newtown,’ she marvels. Well, for some, that may be true. We elect to wait outside. 10 or so minutes later we’re led through the crowd to the back of the store, up the steep stairs lit by a single dangling light bulb. Like an old-time speakeasy, a panel in the door slides open and a pair of eyes peer out. ‘Two?’ Asks a voice. We nod. We enter.

explaining cupping

The space is pitch black save for a long wooden table, stainless-steel edged and lit by a line of spotlights. Our host, Todd has laid out 6 small bowls of coarsely ground coffee for each of us to ‘cup’ or taste. Cupping, he explains, is standard practice for roasters all over the world. The idea of cupping is that because you’re removing all the variables inherent in brewing coffee, you’re leveling the playing field and you really are just tasting the coffee. Each step of the cupping is usually given a score and that’s how a coffee is chosen by buyers.


Latte glasses of water and metal spoon glint in the light as Todd explains the process. The first step, he says, is smelling each grind. We inhale each cup (well, not literally, but you know what I mean) and leave the descriptions to the expert. Next, Todd lets the coffee steep in 93° water for 7 to 15 minutes. We then break the ‘crust’ of grounds that has formed on the top, careful to expose rather than destroy the crema. Once we’ve ‘crusted’ each cup we are to taste each one in turn without speaking – this is the time to form our initial impression. Each coffee must be taken with a single, sharp sip from our spoon. Todd makes a loud definitive ‘slurp’ with his, practically inhaling the brew but we’re more timid.


Afterwards we take our time though the 6 grinds, which have been set up in a very deliberate order, and we discuss the flavour profiles of each one. Todd says there’s no wrong answer here and encourages us to describe the coffees. I find this very difficult to do, but as soon as he mentions a flavour, for example ‘citrus’ or ‘earthy’, I find his description fits what I’m tasting, and it’s more than just the power of suggestion.

Campos Raw beans

The coffees we taste are:
Indonesian Toarco Jaya – a solid, well rounded base.
The Ethiopian Lekempti – fruity, lemony. Yum!
Panama Emporium – I’m not sure how to explain this, but I don’t like it. It reminds me of that nauseous feeling of having had 5 or 6 coffees.
Colombian el tiestro –I liked it but I don’t remember much else about it.
Kenya Gethumbbwini – Very strong and zesty, like lemon peel.
Supermarket coffee – tastes like nothing.

Campos cups a variety of beans every day in their warehouse to maintain the consistency of their signature blend, ‘Superior’. They will roast on a Monday, cup in a Tuesday and adjust the ratios accordingly on a Wednesday, and this cycle continues each day. Visiting coffee plantations and tasting their crops has been recreated in a much more pristine and theatrical setting here at the cupping room. I ask what coffee producers would think of their gleaming setup and he admits they’d probably find it pretty bizarre.

The Cupping Room
193 Missenden Road,
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9690 0294
Sessions Tuesday to Friday at 7:30 and 2.00pm
Saturday’s at 8:30am, 1:00pm and 3:00pm

Campos Coffee on Urbanspoon

Killing two, three or possibly even 10 birds with one stone has always been my bag. Thus I’m always on the lookout for good coffee and, simultaneously, good cafés to feature on Corridor Kitchen. So when I noticed a partially constructed hole-in-the-wall coffee bar on Redfern Street about a month ago, I have to admit I started stalking it.

coffee tea and me entrance

I was looking up City of Sydney planning applications that very day to try and figure out when they’d get permission for outdoor furniture – I figured that’s when they’d open. I walked past most days ‘just to check it out.’ Soon a tantalisingly nonspecific ‘coming soon’ sign materialised. I checked out other cafés, but I wasn’t interested in any other cafés. I wanted to check out Coffee tea & me.

Then one morning I walked by and miraculously, it had opened. And, true to form, I didn’t have my camera on me. Blast! I grabbed a coffee anyway and it was pretty damn good. Campos, which contrary to popular opinion is not the best coffee in the whole of Australia but does ensure a level of barista training and screening that few brands adhere to.

5 images coffee tea and me

I returned a couple of days later. The place looked like a hipster paradise with only enough floor space for coffee and sandwiches. As the Redfern Street area continues to gentrify with the likes of Baffi and Mo, Eathouse and Pitt St Diner, it’s hardly a surprising location for a teeny-tiny espresso bar.

exterior coffee tea and me

Coffee tea & me is literally on a bus stop and next to a hardware store. It’s easy to spot its scattering of battered vintage school chairs, bicycle seat bar stools and laminate tables to perch on. I was there around 8am and not surprisingly most orders were takeaways. It’ll be interesting to see what the vibe is like on weekends.

pic and macc at coffee tea and me

The coffee was good, syrupy and golden as I’ve come to expect for Campos. The two guys working there were friendly as a clump of eager takeaway customers awaited their coffees. Overall I was impressed and will definitely return.

Coffee tea & me
93b Redfern Street,
Redfern NSW 2016
(02) 90087121
Monday-Sunday, 6:00am – 6:00pm

Coffee Tea & Me on Urbanspoon

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So by now you probably know the macchiato is my current coffee of choice. I love an espresso or a ristretto, but a few too many black-coffee-on-an-empty-stomach days on a Portuguese holiday kinda cured me of the habit, as did my frugal nature; $3 or more for a shot of coffee with no additions just seems like bad value. A macchiato is also a bet-hedging drink; the milk tempers a short black which may or may not be brilliant, hiding any extra bitterness it may have. Here’s a list of 3 places I think make a great one (in no particular order).

1. Plunge Coffee, Summer Hill
This had been on my wishlist for ages and I wasn’t disappointed. Sitting on a street that real estate agents would describe as ‘funky’ and local council marketing would describe as ‘a village’, it’s a nice place to sit and there’s plenty of seating. The coffees here are beautiful and taste as good as they look. A bit steep at $3.50 but the milk is silky smooth and so is the flavour. They use coffee alchemy coffee.

Plunge Cafe
48 Lackey Street,
Summer Hill NSW 2130
(02)9799 9666

Plunge Cafe on Urbanspoon

2. Le Grand Café, Clarence Street
The café in the foyer of Alliance Française sells scrummy looking pastries by Bécasse and does more substantial food as well, but I’m more interested in their coffee. All coffees are $3, unless you prepay and buy a bunch at a time and then the work out at $2.50 each. They use Allpress coffee which I like and their macs are not too long with a generous daub of froth. The service is good too.

Le Grand Café
257 Clarence Street,
Sydney CBD NSW 2000
(02) 9267 1755

Le Grand Cafe on Urbanspoon

3. Single Origin Roasters, Surry Hills
This macchiato is so ridiculously expensive I considered not recommending Single Origin on that basis. It is also hipster paradise and only open on weekdays. That said for $4 you’ll feel no qualms about returning it if it’s not to your liking. I’ve been there quite a few times and have never had to. You also get a choice of beans if you so desire. The branding of this place is such that 250g bags are sold at 15 bucks a pop. Not so rapt on the tiny stools and tables either.

Single Origin Roasters
64 Reservoir Street,
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9211 0665

Single Origin Roasters on Urbanspoon

What makes a subject blogworthy? In certain blogs, such as interior design, wedding, craft and food blogging, it’s the photos. There are very few blogs on these subjects that can successfully publish image-less posts. Recipe blogs will almost always feature photos (check out this popular wordless recipe) and even brief reviews of restaurants and cafés will feature pictures of the food and the setting. This makes sense, as in its current incarnation, we cannot smell, taste or feel things through the internet.

Images can illustrate a blog but also act as a kind of pornography. ‘Food porn’ is a common term these days, and a comment made by John on my last post got me wondering- should we be blogging the supposedly unblogworthy? Does only blogging the gorgeous, the visually appealing, the photogenic serve to undermine the genuine, ‘authentic’ feel blogging creates, making food blogs less like personal cookbooks and more like glossy food magazines? I know of a recent example in a certain wedding blog featuring so-called ‘real weddings’ as inspirations for brides which turned out to be a professional photo shoot complete with a six figure budget and models in place of the bride and groom. Hardly a real wedding.

Of course, I’m guilty of blogging only the beautiful. At one stage my recipe content was skewed heavily in favour of desserts, sweets being generally easier to photograph than savoury dishes. Once it expanded to include café reviews I wrote my own brief (cafés I would go to, newish, solid places with a focus on coffee) but soon realised I had an implied brief as well; cafés that would look good in photographs. I know this skews my content in a particular direction and perhaps leaves out some valuable examples of great places to get coffee. But at the same time, I appreciate good interior design and these are the kind of cafés I like to visit, so the implied brief is still a genuine one.

So when I came across this gorgeous description of a new Stanmore cafe ‘Paper Cup’ in Amanda’s blog, ‘the cake + the knife, a love story’ I knew I’d have to get there asap. In fact, I went the very next morning, keen to check out the new endeavor from Clipper Café’s Adriano Matteoni. I was not disappointed.

This place more than meets my self-imposed brief. Firstly, it’s easy to get their by public transport. Right next to Stanmore Cellars, Paper Cup is a 2 minute walk from Stanmore station, so I was there in a flash. Secondly, it has a very limited menu, which might sound like a negative but in many cases, communicates seriousness about coffee (and, as a former barista, is my own personal dream set-up). I’ve always been a big fan of simplicity and Paper Cup has only 5 items on their menu, with additional pastries should you feel like a sweet treat. And finally, the interior is small and bright, edged with exposed brick and crowned with a calculated tangle of red wiring and industrial shades. It’s cute, quirky and photogenic. Perfect.

I order a macchiato and sit. The staff seem very friendly and my caramel-y shot is brought out promptly with a carafe of water and a glass. I’m pretty thirsty as I rushed out of the house to get my caffeine fix as quickly as possible, so I drain the carafe. As I’m eavesdropping on a hideous-yet-I-can’t-stop-listening conversation between two inner-west helicopter parents, I gaze around the area. I’m just in the middle of planning my relocation to Stanmore when I realise my glass is being refilled from a fresh carafe. Service with a smile.

I go inside to pay, have a quick chat and snap a few photos. It turns out Paper Cup has only been open about a month and business is going well. I can see why. The coffee is delicious (they also do cold drip if you’re that way inclined), the decor is just the offbeat side of minimalist and the service is prompt and friendly. As I wind my way home on a caffeine high, past the iron-lace-edged terraces of Stanmore, I know I’ve found another great café to add to my ever-growing list of favourites.

Paper Cup
157/161 Cambridge St
Stanmore, 2048
(02) 9000 0000

Monday – Sunday 6:00am – 4:00pm

Paper Cup on Urbanspoon

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There’s an interesting phenomenon when it comes to coffee in the Sydney CBD. It’s fast. It’s cheap. It’s abundant. It’s usually pretty good. But there’s not often time to blow your mind at 9:45 on a Tuesday morning. And come the weekend, going out for coffee becomes a daunting prospect as the men and women in suites retire to the inner and outer suburbs for a spot of R & R and CBD coffee more or less shuts down.

Another phenomenon is the ‘black holes’ all over the CBD. Sure, you’re spoilt for choice on the Surry Hills/CBD border, but what about Chinatown/Ultimo? I struggled to think of anywhere off the top of my head, but then, Ultimo never really occurs to me as a place to go for coffee. Until now.

There are a few well known ‘solid’ cafés in the CBD and Mecca is often cited as one of them. They now have three stores, one at 67 King Street, one at 1 Alfred Street and the newest addition in Ultimo at 646 Harris Street, just down from ABC studios in what used to be Gloria Jeans. Having previously checked out their King Street café I decided to give the Harris Street Mecca a go as it is sort of walking distance from my place and only opened last month.

The interior of Mecca is quite spacious so there’s plenty of places to sit, with polished concrete floors and sheet glass windows. The decor is sparse but welcoming, old-style wooden school chairs and polished black tables arranged in an orderly fashion. Not unlike Don Campos, the decor screams professional, but in this case with a touch of quirkiness.We ordered and payed for our two macchiatos at the counter before sitting down. Our coffees came promptly and were a tad milkier than many macchiatos, but I never consider that a problem myself. The flavour was creamy and rich and it was nice to sit for a while and not worry that we were taking up a table. I’m used to the cramped cafés of Newtown and surrounds which are generally pretty tiny, not the kind of places where you could spend the whole morning.

Mecca also have a breakfast and lunch menu with various toast-with-stuff options for breakfast and sandwiches, salads and Panini for lunch, which all seemed very reasonably priced. There is also a liquor licence in the works. All in all a solid experience and I would definitely visit again.

What are your top picks for places to go in Ultimo?

Mecca Espresso
646 Harris Street Ultimo, 2007
(02) 9280 4204
Monday-Friday: 7:00am – 4:00 pm
Saturday: 7:00am – 3:00 pm

Mecca Espresso - Ultimo on Urbanspoon

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Flint and steel in Marrickville is one of the many cafés I’ve been itching to try for ages now. It’s on Addison Road, one of those hip, up-and-coming main drags in the inner west, the kind of exposed, cracked and uneven arterial Marrickville Council road that make the City of Sydney Council look like an overbearing helicopter parent. It’s dotted sparingly with second hand furniture stores, Thai takeaways and of course, cafés.

Apart from house hunting, a few trips to Reverse Garbage and the bogus Marrickville Organic Market (not all of it is organic, not all of the prices are marked), it’s a road I’ve been down without stopping many times. This is not a criticism of the Marrickville/Enmore border; far from it.  Everything you need is there, but not so much that it’s overwhelming. You’re just outside the action, just outisde of Enmore/Newtown, a few bus stops from Sydney’s Little Portugal and a half hour bus ride from the CBD. The area has a lot in common with my current home, Alexandria, with its wealth of industrial conversions, dog parks and cafés. But Alexandria is a 25 minute walk from the CBD and I’m one lazy blogger who cannot drive her boyfriend’s manual car, or any manual car for that matter, so it has always seemed quite far out to me.

I stepped off the ever-reliable 355 bus to find I was more than 10 minute early, again! As I turned the corner I could already smell the coffee roasting. I followed my nose and the smell was even more enticing inside the shop. I ordered a macchiato and sat out the front as it’s quite dark inside. The barista brought out my coffee soon afterwards with a little glass of water which I appreciated. The macchiato was very short, the way I like it, with a beautiful striation. I took a sip and the first flavour I tasted was this overwhelming caramel note, I know that sounds pretentious but there you go. I’m not well-versed in coffee tasting lexicon but it was a very singular flavour, not rich or deep but clear and sweet. I was impressed with the clarity of flavour but I have a preference for something a tad darker and richer.

Waiting for my usual coffee pal, I was a tad nervous as I wanted to take photographs. I knew that Coffee Alchemy is primarily a coffee roaster and training facility, so it only has a tiny espresso bar at the front (Flint and Steel). I was going to have to ask permission. I generally feel ok with photographing interiors of cafés without asking as café owners don’t seem to mind and I consider cafés semi-public spaces. But in a small space it was inevitable that I would end up photographing staff and/or customers so I felt the need to ask.

My friend arrived and ordered a short black. The barista offered her a choice of three single estate coffees, and she chose the Guatamalan, which promptly arrived with a glass of water and had a darker, more chocolatey flavour and a tad longer shot, as she’s specified. We ordered two more coffees for good measure, a piccolo latte for me and another espresso for her. My piccolo had a gorgeous pattern on it, very photogenic. I wasn’t actually in the mood for a milk coffee, I just wanted a point of comparison and that’s the largest coffee I can bear to drink. It was smooth and creamy but lacked the body I was after and I couldn’t finish it. I wanted a short black if I’m honest.

Flint and Steel describes itself as ‘a little café tucked away in a quaint suburb’. While this description may seem a tad corny, it is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of shopfront, if not for the massive logo on the front window. Inside there are a few benches facing the front counter and a couple of side tables, and outside are three shabby-chic stools with large arm rests, so there is always somewhere to rest your coffee. However it’s not a place to wile away the hours and they don’t serve any food whatsoever, as they are primarily a coffee roaster. It wasn’t particularly busy, but then it was 10am on a weekday in Marrickville. We were there about an hour as people popped in and out, mostly getting takeaways, beans or freshly ground coffee to take home. I popped in 15 minutes prior to closing on Saturday arvo and they were a lot busier, with about 8 customers squeezed in sipping coffees and 5-or-so more ordering coffees and beans to takeaway.

Overall, I thought it was definitely worth the $3 each coffee cost. The staff were pleasant and knowledgeable and their attention to detail was impeccable, they were clearly focused on what they were doing and knew their stuff. My friend tried two coffees, the Guatamalan and the El Salvadorean and preferred the Guatamalan  as she found it to be just a little bit smoother, richer and with less of an aftertaste. When I went back on Saturday they had three completely different blends on offer, so there’s plenty to try.

At the end of our visit, I stammered out ‘Uh, do you mind if I take a couple of photos? I write a blog…’ ‘Sure!’ the cheerful barista beamed at me. Phew. No stress.

Flint and Steel (Coffee Alchemy)
24 Addison Road
Marrickville, 2204

(02) 9516 1997
Weekdays: 7:00am – 2:00pm
Saturdays: 8:00am – 3:00pm

Coffee Alchemy on Urbanspoon

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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