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.
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.
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.
Their milk coffee game is strong too: it’s a well-presented standard Grounds offering.
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/
Golden Cobra Coffee. 6a/2-6 Cronulla Street, Cronulla. Just up the hill from the grave of the original Grind cafe (now a convenience store) is this place. I’ve often walked past, wondering what the coffee is like, but with a toddler in tow, it never seemed like the right moment.
Imagine my surprise, when I finally walk in, to find it full of families with toddlers. Sure, “full” is a relative term: there are only 3 or 4 families that will fit with the small number of tables and chairs, but kids are well supplied. A range of tiny cups and saucers sits on a shelf at the back of the cafe, and the kids are drinking their babycinos out of them.
The milkwork is really solid, and I wish I could talk about the coffee, but after I order my decaf latte, they remember that they’re not selling decaf anymore. A shame – this place looks so promising. Perhaps someone else would like to weigh in on the caffeinated coffee in the comments?
The hot chocolate (what I end up drinking) is good.
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Witham’s coffee. 28 Cronulla Street, Cronulla. Visiting Cronulla when a sudden downpour hit, we looked for a place that would shelter us from the rain. Obviously from the name, being a cafe is not the main goal of this place, but they have a Witham’s sandwich board and a breakfast menu, so it doesn’t seem too much of a stretch to include it.
You have a choice of outdoor eating undercover, in Cronulla’s mall, or indoors, in a carpeted space with brown-painted tables and a choice of high-backed chairs or low-to-the ground cubes. On the back wall, a large TV plays some kind of sporting contest, but it’s far enough away that it’s not a distraction. There’s a high chair available, and the staff seem reasonably content to have children around.
I found the service to be varied: some waitstaff were friendly, others were less happy to be there. If you’re looking to order breakfast, be aware that there are no variations permitted on the menu items: it’s what you see on the menu, or nothing – this was the strangest part of the trip.
The decaf tasted a little stale – there’s no decaf grinder in sight – but was still drinkable. As a licenced restaurant, I suspect that coffee isn’t their main game.
Mecca Espresso Coffee. With only one other restaurant between it and the water, this is a great spot to have a leisurely breakfast and take in some ocean air. Worth noting that it has been completely refurbished, and ownership has changed over since my last review here.
The new chef is from Danks St Depot, and as such, the menu is much more varied and up-market. Sure, the prices are a little higher, but this is a level of food that I haven’t encountered anywhere else in the Shire, much less in Cronulla – perhaps there are a couple of restaurants that are playing at this level, but no cafes.
Coffee (the decaf is freshly ground, and they receive coffee deliveries three times per week to ensure freshness) is really good. They have a team who know what they’re doing, and it’s a good complement to the food on offer.
If you’re down at Cronulla looking for a place to actually catch a glimpse of the waves, while enjoying fantastic food and really good coffee, then I would look no further.
Campos coffee. Shop 6/28 The Kingsway, Cronulla. As you can tell from the photo, it’s pretty cramped here – one group of customers have a stroller with them, and so it’s a little tricky to move through to get a seat. Once seated, you will realise that it’s order and pay at counter, and have to walk back around to the counter, where the menus are – perhaps they should be available on the tables too?
The ambience of the place, though, and the food, and even the coffee, more than makes up for these inconveniences. A lot of character, and some quality fixtures and fittings have been crowded into this space.
Coffee is brought out, and passed across the divider that spreads this small shop into two columns by a friendly waitress. It’s a worthy cup of Campos decaf that’s brought out – the milkwork, the flavour, the aftertaste are all good, and the pancakes, too, are very tasty.
Ducale coffee. Family-friendly pizza restaurant / café overlooking the water (from across the park). A woodfire pizza oven in the corner provides aromas, and a mix of patrons provide the soundscape of this licenced pizza restaurant that stops short of having tablecloths.
Coffee – no decaf on offer – is not the main game here, but they at least spice the machine before making their first coffee of the day. As you’d expect, it’s not fantastic, but would be a perfectly acceptable compliment to an italian meal.
Mokador coffee. Shop 4, perryman pl, cronulla beach. The outdoor tables (mostly) have water views, and all can hear the ocean. A big range of breakfast choices, q little expensive, but big serves.
Coffee is slow in coming out, and it’s served hot – too hot to pick up at first. The decaf latte is served with a too foamy head. Though the first sip is bad news, it improves with time, and gets to a point of being drinkable.
Grinders (giancarlo) coffee. Opposite rydges, closer to the beach.lots of natural light, tiles floor, casual furniture with blue and white the dominant colours, with a broad mix of ages from 5-50. Licenced: not sure what the mood would be here at night, but in the morning, there’s some triple-j music playing just loud enough to blur the conversation at other tables. If you time your arrival right, you would have a reasonable view of the ocean from your table.
Coffee seems a little slow: though there are four staff, the one stationed permanently on the coffee machine seems to move a little slowly filling the orders. On the plus side, I can hear the grinder working for each shot.
Coffee is hot (but not too hot):and thick: well foamed. Better than I was bracing myself for. At first taste, there’s some bitterness, but the aftertaste is good.
Single Origin Roasters coffee. How is Cronulla institution (I’d rather be at) "Grind" going with its transition to a larger premises? Everything is coming along nicely, even settling into a routine. Veteran staff, and some additional new faces to help make the transition to seven days a week, the familiar attitude, and the very familiar coffee have all remained the same.
it’s very odd to be at Grind in the middle of the week. The biggest changes are the lack of customer photos on the wall, and the space. As a regular customer of the miniature version of Grind, it seems that part of the charm of the place is the tiny size. The new venue has space – there’s more seating, and there’s more room above the customers – it must have 14 foot ceilings at least. Despite the larger venue, the menu is unchanged. This means that there’s coffee and biscotti, but (as yet) nothing more substantial.
Coffee as ever is excellent: the beans are as fresh as ever, and there’s a choice of house blend or a regularly-changing “special of the day” – advice is always available on how best to drink your choice of beans.
Belaroma coffee. 22 Cronulla St, Cronulla. Bright, well lit seating inside and outside with a well-stocked bar. Staff buzz around, friendly but not outgoing. Water is only brought out on request, ditto the all-day breakfast menu if you arrive at lunchtime.
Coffee takes a while to arrive, and while the glass itself is too hot to pick up comfortably, the coffee is sweet at first, and just the right temperature for sipping. It’s a bit thin, with an unpleasant aftertaste, about on par with expectations for a place with a pricey food menu and full bar.