corduroy, surry hills

corduroy cafe, surry hills

Little Marionette coffee. 14 Foster St, Surry Hills. In what could be the best use of space I’ve seen in a cafe, the team behind Corduroy have taken the space around the accessible entry to the building and created a hip space with seating, a capable kitchen, and some top-notch coffee-making gear.

corduroy cafe, surry hills

Here you can see the ramp that leads straight from the entrance / cash register up to the seating, which itself doubles as storage for the cafe. They’re still finding their feet around the organisation of the cafe, but there’s a promising friendly vibe, and they’ve managed to find a good price-point for their offerings that’s a little shy of the big name cafes in the area.

corduroy cafe, surry hills

The coffee is really impressive – I had a sip of a non-decaf latte, but it was the decaf that won the day for me: I didn’t see it made, but judging by the grinders at the front, it’s freshly ground to order.

The kitchen offerings look impressive – I’d like to head back for a meal.

Try and head in via public transport if you’re visiting during the week – street parking during office hours is $7/hr.


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Olive Green’s Cafe

green's olive cafe, ultimo

Little Marionette Coffee. 80 Broadway, Ultimo. Still very much in launch mode, this is a welcoming space with some edgy lighting pieces. seating for about 10 people indoors and another 10 outdoors.

Being on a main road, across from a construction site, means that there’s a fair amount of noise to content with. To drown it out, the background music playing is cheery 90’s pop for the most part – perhaps they’re aiming for a slightly older demographic to the uni students who would be easy pickings from across the road or down the road.

green's olive cafe, ultimo

The staff are friendly and knowledgable, though they’re still getting the kinks out of their procedures – the bags of tea have instructions on the back of them, the sandwiches aren’t quite labelled yet, and the menus aren’t printed, but this is a promising space.

floating latte - green's olive cafe, ultimo

Coffee – roasted by little marionette – is really pleasant. The lattes are served in insulated glasses, so they’re surprisingly hot at first. There’s a decaf grinder, and they know what they’re doing with the milk. Worth a try – we may have a serious contender here!


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the shortlist, darlington

the shortlist, darlington

Little Marionette coffee. 258 Abercrombie St, Darlington. Many years ago when I was studying at Sydney Uni, this part of Darlington was a run of shops, not cafes. Now there are a number of different spots to grab a coffee, but the one with the most promising supply of beans is this one.

From a narrow menu, I pick the roast mushrooms on toast, with feta. It’s a good flavour mix, well made, and quite filling – it looks like the food here is very good.

Coffee is really well made. There’s a decaf grinder on the bench, and – though they’re a bit slow when things are busy – it’s a really good drop. Worth a visit for the food, and for the coffee.

where the magic happens, the shortlist, darlington

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frangipani gelato and dessert bar, cronulla

frangipani: gelato, coffee, dessert - cronulla

Little Marionette coffee. 118 Cronulla Rd, Cronulla. This place moved to these larger premises only recently, and it’s gone – for me – from being a curiosity, and an optional part of a trip to Cronulla to being a highlight.

gelato at frangipani: gelato, coffee, dessert - cronulla

This is among the best Gelato I’ve ever had: creative flavours (try the Xmas pudding while it’s still in stock, if you can – amazing), reasonably priced ($4.50 for a single scoop, $5.80 for a double).

coffee at frangipani: gelato, coffee, dessert - cronulla

The pressure to do a good job with coffee at Cronulla is a cafe that has spent the last 10 years raising the bar of coffee in this part of Sydney. To try and compete, they have chosen Little Marionette coffee, and they’re doing a really good job: the shots are made carefully, and the crema on my decaf espresso (yes, decaf) is better  than I’ve seen in a lot of cafes in Sydney on their “real” espresso.

where the magic happens - frangipani: gelato, coffee, dessert - cronulla

If you’re in the Shire, and looking for dessert, this should be your first choice.

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Deus Ex Machina Bike Shop and Cafe, Surry Hills

deus ex machina, surry hills

Little Marionette coffee. 344 Bourke St, Surry Hills. Come for the pushbikes, stay for the coffee and the service. This place, with seating for around 20 people, adjoins a beautiful bike shop that – if you have the cash on you – may convince you to embrace the lifestyle of the cyclist.

where the magic happens - deus ex machina, surry hills

Coffee – ground to order – is really good. Staff are friendly, and the service is prompt.

Remy and Lees, Surry Hills

Remy and Lees, Surry Hills

Little Marionnette coffee. 547 Bourke St, Surry Hills. This unassuming place looks far better on the inside, but perhaps this is the point. A hub for the nearby community, you’ll see people gathered on the milk crates and outside steps, and people coming and going – dropping in for a coffee, or for a bite to eat.

lamb shank pie with side salad

The food is all provided by Black Star Pastry, and is at their usual high standard. I can personally vouch for the lamb shank pie ($7) with side salad (+$3).

They take their coffee seriously too – with Lee at the helm (Remy is short for Jeremy, and he is absent on the day I visit), it’s a case of simple, elegant coffee served hot (perhaps a little too hot), and the decaf is ground to order.

Black Star Pastry, Newtown

Black star pastry, newtown

Little marionette coffee. 277 Australia St, Newtown. I was first told about this place on twitter: they were recommended as “even better than Adriano Zumbo, but without the post-Masterchef queues”. Naturally, I added it to my to-visit list. Both times I’ve been here it’s been close to closing time, though during its main opening hours the place is generally quite crowded, with some stools out the front for the overflow.

The coffee is variable between good and excellent, depending on who is making it. They even have a decaf grinder, which is great news for me at least. There’s a complexity to the flavour that is too often lacking in decaf, and the milkwork is good too.

Where this place really shines, though, is in its pastries / desserts: they have really creative, gorgeous looking items that taste amazing. If you’re a dessert buff, you owe it to yourself to check this place out.

one of the dessert windows at black star

ginger ninjas, black star