Ever since making the move from apartment life in Pyrmont to buying a house in Erko five years ago, the choice of dining options changed from local cafs & Japanese on the peninsula to sticking around the traps of the Inner West. Heading over to Darlinghurst or Surry Hills doesn’t happen as often as I’d like but lately I’m making more of an effort to see what may be happening in those neighbourhoods. Geez, you’d think I was talking about different cities here but when you no longer have a car it affects your choices somewhat.
My current infatuation with anything French was a little stoked when I paid a visit to a small espresso bar on Bourke Street, far enough from Taylor Square to make it quietly enjoyable but close enough if you need to use a bus to get there. A pair of outdoor brollies and makeshift milk crate tables mark the location. Not that you’d want to sit out there in the wind and drizzle on a chilly winters day, unless of course it was for addictive reasons.
Seating inside this café on (sur) Bourke is fairly limited, I think that’s the appeal, and the eclectic collection of mismatched vintage crockery, decorative oddments and dark walls give the room a cosy feel. The menu is scribed up on the wall for all to see – croissants, basic breakfasts, sandwiches and quiches. I hear croque monsiers and madames are on their way as well. Yan, the owner, originally a graphic designer from Bordeaux tells me his other passion for coffee prompted him to open a place of his own. The wooden benches and crockery rack were made by his father and the dining table has been découpaged with old French Tintin au Tibet comic book pages. Nice touches. Loving the jam that comes with the toasted brioche (4.5) and good to see a jar of fabulous Luke Avenue cookies on the counter.
As I sat dunking the edges of the flaky croissant (5) into my coffee I couldn’t help but stare when I heard a little old lady waltz into the café singing “bonjour” and exchanging air kisses with Yan before babbling away in French. For a second there I thought I was back in Paris and on this particular winters morning in Sydney, it was the next best thing.