Piazza d’oro coffee. 101 pacific highway, North Sydney. Named after the ground floor, this lobby cafe/restaurant is a haven for suits who are looking for a place to spend their lunch-hour. Not cheap, but still fairly priced for north Sydney. Staff are professionally distant, rather than friendly. A big range of lunch options.
The decaf is ground to order, but lacks freshness, which is a shame. Quite drinkable, the place remains a pleasant spot for a workday break.
Caffe Di Gabriel Coffee. West St, North Sydney. This is a renovated sandwich bar where nothing is as you’d expect. The staff are friendlier, the food fresher, and the coffee is better.
I’ve never heard someone in a cafe say “bless you” to one of the customers – by name – when they sneeze, and especially not when the cafe is busy.
Coffee – a decaf – has swirling latte art, and is a pleasant decaf to boot (perhaps a little on the weak side). A diamond in the rough – look past its fittings, and try something!
Karmee coffee. 50 Berry st, north sydney. Next door to a pub, in the lobby of an office building, this glass-walled space is well lit, and staffed with a friendly barista. A small menu with some classic items, and plenty of space to pause and think.
The decaf is pre-ground, and yet it tastes okay; a bit thin, but eminently drinkable.
Update (1-Aug-2008): the ever-energetic Tony has now bought a small grinder just for decaf. A decaf macchiato that I tried out shows a marked improvement. Not to mention that this man knows how to make a toasted sandwich: the perfect balance of crusty bread and just the right amount of topping.
Jack and the Bean espresso, Di Lorenzo decaf. 107 Mount St North sydney. A brand new café in north sydney: using the special blend made by Jack Hanna, 2007 latte art champion, these guys are serious about their coffee. With brown and neutrals as a colour scheme, and relaxed music playing, this is a good space to be in: it seems well suited to a business meeting, or just to spend time with friends.
Coffee is a good temperature, but the real highlight is the flavour: it actually tastes like coffee! Neat latte art, smooth milkwork – this could actually be a place to buy a high quality coffee in north sydney.
One to watch.
Home Espresso, North Sydney
Giancarlo coffee. Cnr walker and mount st, north sydney. Recently refurbished, this place is going after the suits: wineglasses on the table, and a lot of specials on the menu.
Coffee – the decaf is ground to order – is hot, and there’s a lot of air in the milk – it feels unusually light. Once it’s cooled down, it’s the standard grinders cup: a solid, but unremarkable coffee.
Grinders coffee. 62 West St, North Sydney. Hidden in the back of North Sydney library, this kiosk-style venue has coffees, sandwiches, and wraps.
It’s a rainy day, so not the best environment to test the mood of a place, but the staff are cheery, and familiar with their regulars’ orders.
Coffees are made with some older grounds, and take a while to come out.it’s standard grinders fare, pleasant enough, but not outstanding. 6/10
Espresso di manfredi coffee. In the lobby of the northpoint building. Efficient staff look after all the office people who trek down, and do a roaring takeaway trade too.
Coffee is a bit thin, but still a cut above most.
Caffe Musetti coffee. 121 Walker St, North Sydney. New owners, and now a new brand of coffee. Today they’re settling in to the new brand, so the coffee is free! They also have a new range of cards; buy five, get one free.
A rep from Musetti keeps adjusting the machine, which slows down their normally prompt service. The staff are welcoming and helpful, ever keen to explain the menu.
Coffee is disappointing; where once a different brand made the coffee stand out, it’s now merely ordinary: perhaps this is opening day jitters: let’s hope so.
Primo Caffe coffee. Still getting used to being open, this is a crowded space, but prices are fairly low for North Sydney. Lots of menu options, friendly staff.
Unusually for North Sydney, reminiscent of fish-caf in Newtown, there’s a lot of garlic strung from the roof.
Brasilia espresso machine. Coffee is served very hot, but I can’t say that Primo is anything approaching my favourite coffee.
A good venue for lunch; enjoy the antics of the staff – friendly to customers, surly to each other.
Jamaica blue coffee. Lots of natural light floods this place, in the heart of the shopping centre. Three staff handle the morning rush.
Coffee is made quickly, and is a good temperature. It’s a little on the thin side, but tastes good, in a mainstream kind of way: there are no subtleties to be noticed, but neither is there a burnt taste.