Category Archives: Sydney – Western Suburbs

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Excelsior Jones, Ashfield – Rating: 19/25

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Look out!  Café fever is heading west.  This week we discover Excelsior Jones, a hip new café in Ashfield, which  is just as happening as any in Surry Hills.  We bundle into the car early on a Sunday (10am is … Continue reading

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Café On Strand, Croydon – Rating: 17.5/25

This gallery contains 7 photos.

After neglecting Croydon for far too long, Café On Strand is our first review in the suburb!  With no spare tables outside, we seated ourselves within.  The interior is spacious but we found it far too loud and echoey.  All … Continue reading

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Circa, Parramatta – Rating: 22.5/25

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Circa Espresso is a testament to fabulous interior design and the ability to turn a narrow space into something very special.  The normally bustling centre of Parramatta is deadly quiet on early Sunday mornings.  And another plus is the fact … Continue reading

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PS Café, Dulwich Hill – Rating: 19.5/25 (now closed)

This gallery contains 6 photos.

PS Café is a new arrival on the Sydney scene that is already expanding its premises.  We luckily arrived early and although we tried to brave the weather outside, we eventually spotted a vacant table within.  There were others braver … Continue reading

Parramatta Park Café, Parramatta – Rating: 14/25

Parramatta Park Café

Parramatta is best known for Church Street, a popular restaurant and café strip.  However this week we ventured away from the hustle and bustle of a city centre and relaxed in the Parramatta Park Café.  The Park is well maintained with a creek and river running through it.  There is a bicycle track and numerous open and shady spaces to relax or enjoy some sports.  The Parramatta Park Café is right at the centre of this green getaway, serving more than what you would expect from a park kiosk.  There are numerous seats both inside and out with most tables having a view of the river.  Table service is provided.

Strawberry and banana smoothie

The jumbo strawberry and banana smoothie ($5.50) seemed like a safer bet than the avocado smoothie.  It was served to us overflowing and we got very sticky while we sipped it.  The fruit was fresh however the ice cream used did have a tangy aftertaste that was not very favourable.  There are numerous other bottled cold drinks as well as teas and coffees so we’d recommend choosing one of them.

Bundaberg ginger beer

The Bundaberg Ginger Beer ($3.50) was thirst quenching and delicious.  Not much more can be really said except we were given a glass with ice in it, which was appreciated.

Chef’s omelette

One of three specials on the menu was the chef’s omelette ($14.50).  There was no shortage of vareity and amount of ingredients.  Enclosed in the omelette was bacon which would have benefitted from longer frying on a separate pan, chorizo, salami, tomato, parmesan and rocket.  The one gripe we had was that it was not cheesy enough – we wanted to cut the omelette and have strings of cheese between the pieces.  Otherwise, we enjoyed the dish as it was not too dry and boasted plenty of flavour.

Turkish toast with avocado

The Turkish toast with avocado ($10) was overpriced for what it was.  The avocado looked slightly bruised and wasn’t presented very well but was ripe and delicious nonetheless.  We would’ve liked some lemon on the side and some salt and pepper too.

Seasonal fruit salad

The seasonal fruit salad ($8.50) was also disappointing. It didn’t look very fresh and was served in an unappetising manner squashed into the bowl.

The café has a great location so if you’re out enjoying the park it’s convienent to stop buy.  The waitress who took our order was very helpful but we did not receive the same service form others.  Cutlery, food and drinks were cast onto our table in a fashion we’re not used to.  You’ll pay relatively high prices for average food so don’t come with high expectations.

Parramatta Park

The Park is gorgeous and has a large bike track for cyclists.  Bring along your picnic rug and Razor scooter for maximum enjoyment.

Taste: StarStar
PresentationStarStarStar
Service: StarStar
Atmosphere: StarStarStar
Value: StarStar

Overall Rating: 20.5/25

Website: http://www.ppeventcentre.com.au/cafe.html
Phone: 9630 0144
Address: Parramatta Park, Parramatta, 2150

Payment Options: Credit cards, EFTPOS, cash

Le Pain Quotidien, Leichardt – Rating: 19.5/25

Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien

You’re definitely not hard pressed finding any variety of restaurant or café on Norton Street in Leichardt.  Nestled in amongst the many Italian eateries you’ll find Le Pain Quotidien.  There are a handful of tables outside but a more enjoyable experience can be found inside especially at the long communal table.  There is more room at the rear of the café with a room for functions as well as in the courtyard to the rear.

More pastries and tarts!

Pastries and tarts

The first site to greet you upon entry is the vast array of pastries, tarts and homemade organic bread.  A large cabinet in the centre of the café showcases some of the spreads (both sweet and savoury) that Le Pain Quotidien use in their dishes and that you can buy yourself.  The music was an eclectic mix which we found ourselves describing as “ghost train” and fairytail soundtracks!  We hope the management rethink this choice for the sake of their patrons.

Skim Cappuccino

Skim Cappuccino

The coffee tasted fantastic.  One of us ordered a regular skim cappuccino ($4.65) and was greeted with a large bowl.  Almost soup bowlish in size, you’ll need two hands to enjoy this one!

Home made mint lemonade

Home made mint lemonade

What a refreshing beverage this was.  The home made mint lemonade ($4.75) which is also available sans mint tasted fantastic and is a must for any fans of homemade lemonade.  As far as the rest of the available drinks goes, there is organic bottled orange or apple juice ($4.75 ea), Phoenix fruit juices (orange, mango & apple or apple & guava or mango & passionfruit, $4.95 ea), a large variety of teas ($3.50) and coffees (small $3.65, reg $4.65) and pots of hot chocolate ($5.50).  A great range for hot and cold weather.

Breakfast menu

Breakfast menu

The breakfast menu was so special(ised) that to do it proper justice we need to reproduce it.  The quality and prices of the dishes was superb.  The current breakfast specials include: organic granola parfait ($9.95), organic natural yoghurt topped with seasonal fruit garnish ($6.95), organic poached eggs with hollandaise sauce, salad and bread ($14.50, with ham $16, with salmon $18.50) and omelettes such as leg hame & gruyere cheese ($15.50), avocado and tomato chutney ($15.50) and smoked salmon and chives ($18.50). Which to pick…?

Organic soft boiled eggs with organic bread

Organic soft boiled eggs with organic bread

It was hard to resist an Organic soft boiled egg with organic bread ($6.95).  The dish was well presented and it came with a great selection of breads.  Although it was picture perfect, the ‘soft’ boiled egg did not deliver and was instead hard on the inside.  This made it hard to dunk the bread soldiers (pictured above on the left hand side of the egg).  We also had to seek out our own cutlery (a teaspoon was necessary to scrape out the egg) and the wait staff were nowhere to be found.  Hopefully these issues are not common experiences for diners as the café had so many other great elements.

Organic baker's basket

Organic baker's basket (small)

The organic baker’s basket (small $10, large $18) contained a selection of homemade organic bread.  Amongst the breads included was rye, spelt, multigrain, walnut and baguette.  Each bread was very different with their own special taste yet everyone enjoyed all of them.  They were served with butter and a selection of jams and spreads – in our case organic apricot, mixed berries and Brunette, a Belgian praliné spread.

Belgian hazelnut, white chocolate and praliné spreads

Belgian hazelnut, white chocolate and praliné spreads

We were then treated to a few more showcase-worthy spreads.  Each person at the table had their favourite.  They were smooth & rich and according to a lady sitting next to us, are one of the reasons why they travel to Le Pain Quotidien.  They could always cheat and buy a bottle of their very own.  The store manager Jad, let us in on an indulgent secret of slicing some baguette very thin, toasting it crisp and then spreading the white chocolate over it.  Jad, you had us at “white chocolate spread”.

  
Toasted ham and cheese croissant with mustard trio

Toasted ham and cheese croissant with mustard trio

A toasted hame and cheese croissant ($7.95 or with mesclun salad for $2 more)...  have you ever seen one as appetising as this?  Here is an establishment that cares about their food.  The golden pure butter croissant was crisp on the outside but melted away inside.  The trio of mustards (one of them more an olive tapenade) each bring their own great flavours to the dish.  Simple but complemented so well by the other ingredients on the board and our table.

Pastries and tarts

More pastries and tarts!

Our one mistake was not leaving room for any dessert but we will return for some of these tarts and pastries like the chocolate mousse dome ($7.95) or the espresso tart ($5.50).  Every item we experienced was worth the price.  Treat yourself next weekend.

Taste: StarStarStarStar
PresentationStarStarStarStar
Service: StarStarStar
Atmosphere: StarStarStarStar
Value: StarStarStarStar

Overall Rating: 19.5/25

Website:  http://www.lepainquotidien.com.au/
Phone:  9564 0099
Address: 54 Norton Street, Leichardt, 2040

Payment Options: CC, EFTPOS, cash

Belle Fleur Café, Enfield – Rating 15/25

Outside Seating, Belle Fleur Cafe

Situated within the gardens of Flower Power nursery in Enfield, this café is a great meeting spot for friends and families.  Children can wander around the ponds and fountains and chatter to the birds in the aviary.  There is a designated smoking area far from the rest of the tables which is a welcome change.  The café was bustling with life when we arrived at 11am on a Sunday.  I booked for a party of 12 people and reconfirmed the day before, however we arrived to a table for 8.

We ordered and paid at the counter where the service was rushed and the wait staff were not particularly welcoming.  The drinks and dishes came slowly from the kitchen and some later orders came well before those that were ordered first.

Flat White

The drinks were tasty and met our expectations.  The vanilla milkshake ($5.00) brought back childhood memories and the coffees hit the spot after a late Saturday night.  Coffees came in two sizes, a cup for $3.25 and mug (tall glass) for $4.20.  We indulged in a cappuccino, mocha, hot chocolate and flat white. The coffee was well roasted but not presented as well as we are used to.

Mocha, Mug Size

The menu stated that ‘fresh fruit frappes’ were available however when asked what they contained the wait staff were not sure.  The waitress then produced a bottle of premade frappe demonstrating that the mixture contained berries.  We were disappointed that the frappes were not made fresh and decided against ordering one.  In addition there were no freshly made juices which didn’t leave a lot of fresh and healthy options for a hot summer morning.

Mini Orange Cake

The mini orange cake ($4) and caramel cheese cake with ice cream ($7.80) were an impressive sight.  Creations made out of toffee impressed all members of our party, children and adults included.  The taste didn’t impress as much as the presentation however they were still delicious.

Caramel Cheesecake

Breakfast finished at 11:30am so one member opted for the Linguine with home made meatballs ($19) from the lunch menu.  Our guest reported that the meat balls did indeed taste homemade and she was impressed with the fresh herbs used in the dish.  She also commented that the prices seemed quite high, ‘…the Fish and Chips were like 22 bucks!’ They also offer a selection of dishes on the Children’s Menu for those under 12 years of age.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Overall, the cafe is a great place to bring children and have a satisfying meal.  Being located within the nursery and close to Henley Park it’s a great way to start a leisurely Sunday.

NB: 10% surcharge applies for Sundays and public holidays.

Taste:
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Service:
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Overall Rating: 15/25

Phone: 9744 6449
Address: 27 Mitchell St, Enfield

Payment Options: CC, EFTPOS, cash