Ralph Fiennes turns in a great comic performance in this flight of fancy through a surreal story set in a colourful, fanciful, Wes Anderson pre-world-war-two world. There’s a lot of swearing (some would say an anachronistic amount), and some other grown-up content, but to see Anderson’s take on series of action movie tropes is worth the price of admission.
If you’re a fan of any of Anderson’s other work, you’ll enjoy this.
Five Senses coffee. 34 Pitt St, Mortdale. For many years there has been a massive void on Sydney’s Blue railway line in terms of great coffee. There are plenty of places with espresso machines, and no shortage of places with good breakfast options around, but very few that hit the ball out of the park – this is starting to change with Swallow Coffee Traders and Barista Haus in Rockdale, and with Short Black Panther in Mortdale (not to be confused with Short Black in Penshurst).
With all the glass in the front window, it’s no wonder there is so much daylight in side, and combined with the high ceilings there’s a real sense of space. There’s an eclectic range of different chairs and tables, giving the place a rustic character, and the cardboard moose heads and little golden books turned menus are a homey touch.
Coffee-wise, though, it’s serious equipment all the way: Synesso espresso machine and Mazza grinders. I’ve been back three times, and the coffee is consistently good. The espresso has good crema, the milk work is good, and the cold batch brew is light, without too much of a caffeine hit.
The pastries and custom-baked goods (someone arrives with a tray of some kind of baked goods on one of my visits), but there’s a definite expertise with flavours in the rest of the menu. Above, the avocado feta and mint on toast ($8) – hopefully if survives through to the next iteration of the menu.
Short Black Panther on Facebook
Blind Man Coffee. 122 Chapel St, Marrickville. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a cafe that was a converted garage. Last time was a mixed-bag (now closed down), but this time they’ve managed to make a blissful retreat from the densely packed street surrounds.
The exclamation marks on the wall show the menus, and it’s a standard La Marzocco churning out the coffees and the chai lattes.
Beyond the grinders, there is a set of shelves with a range of single origin coffees ($10 for 250g), chai, and teas. You can even buy crockery!
The decaf long black comes from its own grinder, and is a well made one (the lattes have great latte art, and are well extracted). Make sure you try the water from the jug – infused with quills of cinnamon.
Food-wise there are toasties (tomato, bocconcini and pesto or egg, haloumi, mushroom and relish. Both are really tasty.
Oh, and the chai is as great as you’d expect from Sticky Chai.
This place is worth a visit, just to experience the atmosphere (but the food, coffee and chai more than hold their own).
Sensory Lab Coffee. 4/495 Princes Highway Rockdale. In a dark alley near the post office is a little taste of a Melbourne laneway-style cafe. Don’t let the milk crates fool you, there are proper chair and tables inside, and boards to eat off. White tiles, elegant typesetting: there’s a particular interior design that they’re shooting for.
A cold-drip rig sits atop the cabinet of cakes and sandwiches, while the La Marzocco sits in the corner churning out espresso.
Decaf is pre-ground, but still tasty, and they know how to make a good espresso. Heartening to see new offerings in Rockdale springing up: it’s looking like a suburb with a growing cafe culture.
Gabriel Coffee. 71/65 Myrtle St, Chippendale. In the middle of the built-up part of Chippendale is a playground, and a large, paved area with some outdoor tables and chairs. A sign says “The Sconery”, an intriguing name.
Step inside, and there’s a coffee machine, a windowed cabinet with salads, and a range of pastries, biscuits and more. Cold drinks are served in mason jars. Coffee is well made. Careful talking to Jason – he talked me into an almond croissant. It was delicious.