Not content with one successful café in the form of Gnome in Surry Hills (which I reviewed at the very end of 2010), owner Charles Cameron has recently joined forces with Simon Triggs (who has managed at Toby’s Estate and Single Origin Roasters) to open the doors of Brewtown.
My guest reviewers and I turned off of the busy strip of King Street and all seemed quiet until we stumbled upon the entrance. The interior offers a sunlit warmth combined and ever-ready smiling waitstaff combined with the aromas of roasted coffee and an assortment of fresh flavours emanating from the kitchen.
With a steady stream of customers coming and going, as we sat and enjoyed our breakfast, it wasn’t long until the crowd started to swell immensely for both dine-in and takeaway. You would be well advised to arrive prior to 10am as the coffee and cronuts (see more later) are indeed highly sought after!
This spot is a buzz of activity (in a good way). Friendly faces, helpful staff and an eclectic mix of customers contribute to an electric atmosphere. There’s an abundance of seating inside and for those after something purely sweet, there’s something special upstairs too…
The Gnome Coffee Merchants coffee ($3.50) was a winner in our books. Beans are roasted both off and on site and it’s obvious that the years of coffee experience at Gnome and other establishments has paid off. Deep, strong flavours abound and we drank numerous cups because of this! Shortly the roasting will be solely onsite for quality control (and to make the neighbours envious).
The ‘healthy green juice’ at Brewtown is thankfully missing the ominous dark green colour of so many of its brethren. This was actually a very tasty rendition. The breakfast juice ($6) offers a fresh, zesty hit packed with kale, apple, celery and ginger.
“Doughnut croutons in your fruit salad, you say?”
This is like the bacon ice cream at Cowbell 808 – it’s just something you have to try because it’s so damned different.
But does the fruit salad ($12) satisfy? Most definitely. Because Brewtown makes sure that all of the ingredients work and are treated with care. The slices of peach and pear are drizzled with a slightly sweet orange oil as well as pistachio and pomegranate. While probably not intentional, the pomegranate was slightly unripened and this sourness contrasted well with the sweetness of the other ingredients. I noticed everyone’s forks continuously dodging and weaving their ways to the doughnut croutons, they were divine!
The mini egg Benedict ($8.50) is a small dish for the peckish as it contains just one egg. The brioche bun is light and melted in my mouth. The hollandaise could have used a touch more lemon and I personally think that a larger version should be offered. Seeing as no-one in their right mind is going to put the top half of the bun onto a poached egg anyway (as the yolk would just explode), the dish could double in size with another egg and more ham on that half.
Now here’s a hearty, savoury meal! The corned beef hash ($15) features falling-apart corned beef and some other ingredients I almost forgot because I enjoyed the beef so much!
The rest of the flavours came from soft roast potato, two perfectly poached eggs, peas and crisp parmesan crumbs.
Order your poached or scrambled eggs ($10) and customise them by adding sides such as Canadian bacon, black sausage, smoked ocean trout, grilled asparagus or sauteed mushroom ($4.50 each).
Even without adding sides, soft French butter and a sweet tomato relish are served with the eggs. Rich and sweet with a fragrant blend of herbs & spices such as smoked paprika, cloves and bay leaves, the relish is a small but appreciated touch and when combined with egg and sides, made for moreish, delicious mouthfuls. The ham and smashed avocado I included as sides were both of excellent quality and the presentation showed care.
The cronut (croissant doughnut) has fast become Brewtown’s must-have menu item. Fine croissant-like layers of butter pastry layered to form a large but light doughnut. We shared a single cronut but we could each have devoured one! This is one snack that definitely isn’t as rich as you anticipate (so you can order another or take some home)!
Some other dishes that will entice you include bircher muesli with seasonal fruit and vanilla honey yoghurt ($12), beetroot cured ocean trout, avocado smash, rye sourdough toast, dill Persian feta & beetroot relish ($16.50) and baked polenta with mushrooms, grilled asparagus, poached egg & parmesan ($15) but be prepared for menu refreshes and updates.
Wander upstairs and you’ll find a quaint little kiosk that is dedicated to selling the delicious cronuts which (as if they weren’t decadent enough) you can also have topped with gelato (pistachio, rum & raisin or vanilla)! Affogatos are also available. Due to popular demand, in the coming months, expect to be able to buy boxes of cakes and pastries from this spot.
The upstairs area will also serve as the roasting location as well as a setting for tastings and other events.
With early months like it has already experienced and a groundswell of satisfied patrons, Brewton is definitely a café I’ll be watching with interest and returning to. Let me know what you thought as well as your other favourite spots in Newtown.
Overall Rating: 20/25
Phone: 9519 2920
Address: 6-8 O’Connell Street, Newtown, 2042
Payment Options: Credit cards, EFTPOS, cash