Apothecary Coffee (Chatswood NSW)

 

I have a friend who has recently moved to Sydney and so I trekked up to see him this weekend. His main complaint about his new home city is the fact that the general state of coffee is nothing like as good as you’ll generally find south of the Murray. According to his observations, there are a number of cafes who use run of the mill beans and see coffee as just one of the things that they sell along with food, soft drinks, etc, etc. The likelihood of finding a dedicated coffee outlet, using speciality branded beans is significantly lower than in Melbourne and Geelong.

I made it to Chatswood (on the northern side of the harbour) just in time to visit Apothecary Coffee and I’m really glad I did. Whilst they sell the occasional pre-made sandwich and cake, the primary focus is their coffee.

Using the increasing well-known and well-liked Sensory Lab beans, the coffee is really, really good and according to my friend, the best he has found in Sydney so far. Conveniently, the shop is directly over the road from his office!

To get to Chatswood, you’ll need to cross the harbour from the city and get off the train at the sixth station past the bridge. Once you get there, it is a walk of around 400m to Apothecary Coffee

Yes it is a fair way out of the CBD but from what I’m told and what I tasted – it is well worth the effort if you are looking for coffee in Sydney!

 

Address: 6 McIntosh Street
Suburb: Chatswood NSW
Web Site: www.apothecarycoffee.com.au/
Telephone: 0419 011 291
Open: Five days per week (closed Saturday and Sunday)
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Sensory Lab
Headline: A Melbourne quality coffee in the suburbs of Sydney – a rare find. Well worth checking out if you find yourself a few railway stations north of the bridge.

Fika & Co On Pako

 

This is the first time we have reviewed a cafe that shares an address with a previous review. This location was formerly home to Fabretto Bros, which closed its doors earlier this year to relocate as Secret Society further south in Pakington Street. In that incarnation, the cafe was small and had very limited seating.

As Fika and Co, the new owners have pushed the back wall further back and probably tripled the amount of cafe space. This has changed the entire vibe of the location – what was once a place to go and buy a take away coffee, it is now a place where people can sit and chat whilst drinking their coffee. In fact, the name Fika and Co comes from a Swedish word that supports that new approach.

Despite being relatively new and still finding their feet, the coffee at Fika and Co is really good. As I have said in previous reviews, if you don’t make outstanding coffee in an environment like Pako, you are going to struggle.

Smooth flavour, great crema, correct temperature, correct cup … hard to give it any other rating really!

 

Address: 16 Pakington Street
Suburb: Geelong West 3218
Web Site: www.facebook.com/FIKA-CO-ON-PAKO-592071830961111
Telephone: 03 5221 5271
Open: Five days per week (closed Saturday and Sunday)
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Unknown
Headline: Only open since late June, they have changed the entire vibe in what was another coffee venue. More space and more variety than previous incarnation. And really good coffee to boot.
Coffee Rating: Four and a half stars

Denny’s Kitchen

 

I had previously visited Denny’s Kitchen as part of a charity event earlier this year but on that occasion it was all about wine and not coffee – so today was my chance to sample a long black.

On the previous visit, they were a significant number of people in attendance – this morning, there were only a few which, along withe low level of lighting, gave it less atmosphere and, as a result, slightly less welcoming.

The coffee was served in the right cup (hooray) and displayed a reasonable crema – always a good start. And the flavour, whilst not being a standout against other coffee I have tasted in Geelong, was certainly very acceptable. No table service was offered – order at the counter and take a table number – which also meant that you had to get your own water and glasses if you wanted it.

All in all, the coffee was very good but from a coffee experience, it might have just lacked the spark that would demand a return visit ahead of others.

 

Address: 66 Brougham Street
Suburb: Geelong 3220
Web Site: www.dennyskitchen.com.au
Telephone: 03 5223 2536
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Unknown
Headline: Located in an iconic Geelong building – the Geelong Wool Museum – the coffee is very good but first thing in the morning, it lacked a little atmosphere. A bit too big for the number of customers which presumably is not the case at other times of the day.
Coffee Rating: Three and a half stars

La Due Sorelle

 

A chance opportunity to visit Bannockburn on a Sunday morning gave a me an opportunity to try another of the village’s cafes. This one, Le Due Sorelle is located towards the south-western end of town (the other end of town to the railway crossing).

When I arrived, mid-morning, the cafe was close to full with plenty of “happy noises” coming from the gathered folk – individuals, couples, families. I ordered breakfast and a long black and was disappointed to be asked whether I wanted that in a mug. There still seems to be this thought that “more is good”, which doesn’t apply when talking about great coffee. If I want more coffee, I will finish my first cup and then order a second one … but I digress.

When the coffee arrived, the crema was acceptable without being brilliant and after a minute or two had disappeared completely. For a consumer of black coffee, the crema is one of the more important and enjoyable parts of the whole experience – cafes really should pay more attention to producing that thick and intense golden surface.

The taste was more than acceptable – it was pretty good, in fact. I ended up ordering a second cup – more to do with the fact that a friend arrived just as I was completing my first cup. If she hadn’t have arrived, I probably wouldn’t have had a another. I guess that translates to coffee that is good enough to order a second cup, without feeling that I was missing out if i didn’t.

 

Address: 2/38 High Street
Suburb: Bannockburn
Web Site: www.sorellecafe.com.au
Telephone: 03 5281 2023
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Espresso di Manfredi
Headline: A nice family environment where the coffee and food are both good. A great place for Bannockburnians to have a leisurely breakfast on a Saturday or Sunday.
Coffee Rating: Three and a half stars

Capeside Coffee (Heidelberg)

 

For those of you who took my advice and visited Ora Cafe in Kew, you may well have met Parv and Hannah who were employees there. They had a dream to set up their own establishment and that establishment has opened as Capeside Coffee in Heidelberg – the north-eastern suburb of Melbourne, not the city on the River Neckar in south-west Germany.

The first thing you notice when you walk in the door is a clean, fresh and open feeling with a big front window and light coloured decor. There’s a better than reasonable chance that you’ll be met by Parv, who variously greets customers with handshakes, smiles and bear hugs, while Hannah works studiously behind the coffee machine. The whole vibe is friendly and family-like – not kids running berserk and falling over tables, more like you have walked in on a family party. There is one large table, one counter corner and a bench seat in the window which encourages people to chat to each other and underlines that warmth and inclusiveness.

As indicated elsewhere on the web site / app, my coffee experiences at Ora were always very, very good and so, the obvious question to people like me who have experienced both is this – will Capeside be able to deliver coffee that is comparable to Ora’s?

The answer, I am very pleased to say is an emphatic “yes”

Trying to describe the flavour of a great cup coffee is like trying to explain a great piece of music – you can probably produce some adjectives but that’s about as close as you can get. So here you go – smooth, flavoursome, intense, really, really good.

It is unfortunate for those of us who live in the Geelong area that Capeside Coffee is around 90kms away. That said, any trip to Melbourne will be enhanced by a visit to this great new cafe.

 

Address: 119 Cape Street
Suburb: Heidelberg VIC 3084
Web Site: www.capesidecoffee.com
Telephone: 03 9942 2536
Open: Six days per week (closed Sunday)
Price: $3.50
Coffee Suppliers: Small Batch / Wood and Co / 7 Seeds
Headline: When you think about the great coffee destinations of Melbourne, Heidelberg is not one that immediately jumps to mind. With what Parv and Hannah and their team are doing at Capeside, that is about to change. Well worth making a special trip!