Cafe: a review

“Coffee is far more than a beverage. It is an invitation to life, disguised as a cup of warm liquid. It's a trumpet wakeup call or a gentle rousing hand on your shoulder ... Coffee is an experience, an offer, a rite of passage, a good excuse to get together.” - Nichole Johnson

Coffee to me is more than a caffeinated beverage, but a way to explore great new places. I have discovered where there is great coffee, I find great service, good food and new places...

Over the last week in my search for coffee I have in turn discovered some of Sydney's little gems..

1. The Grounds, Alexandria

This was truly a unique experience - a venue that I can honestly say was BUZZING with atmosphere. We arrived and were told a table would be about a 15 minute wait. We took this opportunity to wander around the venue through a pig pen, carts adorned with plants,  vintage watering cans, and pots, a florist, and through a large open seating area reserved for local professionals and take away coffee drinkers.

Once seated we scanned the menu... we had been meaning to come here for some time so this was going to be a leisurely lunch. Starting with some home made chips with chipotle aioli, followed by seared salmon with broad beans and a duck salad. Dessert was all made fresh in house. We decided to share a pistachio and berry cake and a gluten free lemon meringue pie!! Both were AH-MAZING!! We washed it down with a house made apple cider and a famouse Grounds coffee.

My favourite part about the venue was the fact that you could see the roasting room and the bakery where your food was house made. Even the jams were cooked onsite! The Grounds also offers coffee classes and cooking demonstrations for the keen foodie.

2. Bourke St Bakery, Surry Hills

A little hole in the wall - Bourke St Bakery. This bakery offers good coffee, freshly baked cakes, pastries and breads, and friendly service with a smile. Another place I had heard good things about, but had never visited. As a gluten free diner, I settled for just a coffee and a freshly squeezed orange juice. The coffee was strong and gave me the morning wake up I needed. I was met with a friendly smile and nothing was too much trouble. For a quick coffee, I recommend this hidden little gem..

3. Room 10, Potts Point

Having received rave reviews, I just had to see what all the fuss was about..

Another hidden hot spot.. tucked away in a laneway in the back of Potts Point. If you can find it, it is worth a look at. I'll admit, a bit of a tight squeeze for me, small stools and tiny little tables.. not a place for a big group. Dining alone, I found a little seat just at the front of the cafe. The service was friendly and I was well looked after. The coffee was strong and the muesli was a surprising twist on an old favourite. Burnt Fig Granola served with stewed rhubarb, strawberries, blackberries, banana and natural yoghurt.. all sprinkled with chia seeds and dukkah! YUMMMO! I need my personal space though... having customers waiting for their takeaway and nearly standing on top of you is quite off putting when you are trying to wake up...

I would go back, but I would aim for a less busy time.. give myself some breathing room..

4. Dose Espresso, Willoughby

Just off the main drag, Dose was a great little find. A number of gluten free options including breads and muesli. A very "cool" looking space situated in behind the High St shops. Known for it's coffee, Dose didn't disappoint! The coffee was served promptly and packed a punch! I tried their gluten free muesli but found the fruit to muesli ratio was a bit off.. too much melon and pineapple for my taste..

For a catch up with friends over a good coffee, this is a great little spot.

5. Pablo & Rusty's, Lane Cove | CBD | Gordon | Epping | Sydney Olympic Park

.. ah... Pablo and Rusty's...

This is by far my favourite coffee shop on the North Shore. The chain of cafes has conveniently followed my changing professions and gym memberships along the way... I was a member of a gym in Gordon when I first discovered the Cafe, a group of us frequented Pablo's after our weekend workouts. My gym then purchased another gym in Lane Cove, which was promptly followed by a new Pablo and Rusty's (P&R) opening in the village. I took on a role at an event in Sydney Olympic Park, but not to worry - there was a P&R conveniently located in the complex.. I accepted a contracted position in the CBD which I thought would result in me having to find a new morning fix.. but alas P&R, Castlereagh St opened to ensure I could get my fix on my way to work!

A truly consistent brand and product. It provides the comfort knowing you will ALWAYS get a consistently great cup of coffee. The coffee is naturally sweeter all the other cafe's I have tried. It is familiar and it is always nice going somewhere you are remembered.

The baristas are trained by the owner himself and this adds to the ability to maintain that consistent product. To accompany your coffee you have the options of daily fresh breads, Luke Avenue cookies or muesli, fresh baked cakes, or an ever changing menu designed by the chefs of each Cafe.

I would highly recommend P&R to any coffee "connoisseur" or lover of the finer things in life.. If you want friendly service and excellent coffee you cannot go wrong at P&R... 10/10

Until next time... happy drinking...