Blackwood Pantry, Cronulla

The Grounds Coffee. Shop 5, 33 Surf Lane, Cronulla. I saw this one via Instagram activity, and it looked like a perfect storm of coffee and food enthusiasm. For a place that has only just opened, they’re doing spectacularly well – the front-of-house staff are courteous and efficient, the coffee-making staff are skilled and knowledgable and the kitchen staff are professional and churning out delicious, creative food.

Blackwood Pantry, Cronulla. Shop 5/33 Surf Lane.

We arrive in time for a late lunch and find the place is crowded, and there’s a wait. We’re immediately added to a waitlist, and seated well in advance of the expected waiting time – always good to under-promise and over-deliver on wait times.

An initial coffee order is taken while we look at the Summer menu; there’s a small set of kids options which are well explained (the fruit paddle pop is actually a frozen fruit puree, not a fruit kebab) and delivered ahead of the grown-up meals.

Blackwood Pantry, Cronulla. Where the Magic Happens

But it’s the coffee that’s a pleasant surprise. Among the coffee options are aeropress and V60. I order a V60 – the coffee on offer changes each week; this week’s is from Small Batch Roasters in Melbourne, the previous week was Reuben Hills. Staff choose the filter coffee in a cupping session, and fill in the tasting notes themselves.

Blackwood Pantry, Cronulla. V60 Ethiopian Chele'lektu

Their milk coffee game is strong too: it’s a well-presented standard Grounds offering.

Blackwood Pantry, Cronulla. Flat White

It looks like this place is going to find a solid customer base for Cronulla locals who want creative, well-made food paired with changing coffee.

Official website – http://www.blackwoodpantry.com.au/

Hatch Espresso, Chippendale

Hatch espresso, Ultimo espresso di manfredi coffee.

The Grounds Espresso. 10 Little Regent St, Chippendale. Next to the Mercure hotel near Central Station, in prime position to take advantage of foot traffic waiting for a bus is a hole in the wall, that’s big enough to hold a full kitchen.

Where the magic happens - Hatch espresso, Chippendale

When I first visited a couple of weeks ago, they were doing a $3 happy hour from 8am-10am, but this has stopped now – they’ve transitioned from Espresso Di Manfredi to The Grounds coffee, and upgraded their espresso machine.

Hatch espresso - now serving grounds coffee.

Sadly, their prices are back to a level of being competitive with other nearby providers of coffee, but it’s certainly competing on quality. Worth a look, especially if you have a craving for the Grounds coffee. And  they have a dedicated decaf grounder.

Gasolina kitchen and espresso, Ramsgate

 Gasolina Kitchen and Espresso, Ramsgate

The Grounds coffee. 1/226 Rocky Point Rd, Ramsgate. Ramsgate’s latest cafe is beautifully fitted out, and already churning out great coffee and food. You’d like more detail than that? Sure.

breakfast plate - Gasolina Kitchen and Espresso, Ramsgate

The menu is standard cafe breakfast items with an emphasis on high-quality breads – a brioche roll for the breakfast burger ($10), and a breakfast tasting plate ($18) that includes two poached eggs in addition to avocado, feta, olives and prosciutto. 

where the magic happens - Gasolina Kitchen and Espresso, Ramsgate

Inside, the counter gives emphasis to the ready-made pastries, like the Nutella-filled donut. When we visit for the grand opening, they have a selection of miniature versions available (two embarrassingly large bites, or perhaps four more reasonable ones), but the full-size version ($4) is somewhere around the size of a Krispy Kreme. There’s self-serve water at the counter, infused with fresh cucumber: very refreshing.

Gasolina Kitchen and Espresso, Ramsgate

I was skeptical when I read about the “Nescafe Frappe” ($6), but asking around, this is a very popular Greek traditional drink, and it’s expertly made here – the texture is cloud-like: it really can keep the straw vertical. If you’re more traditional in your tastes, the tricked-out Synesso (complete with digital timers for each of the three group heads) is being used to good effect, with expertly made short blacks and lattes.

This place deserves every success.