Genevese Coffee. 645 Harris St, Ultimo. About a block towards Pyrmont from Mecca Ultimo this place has emerged. The most noteworthy feature internally is the wallpaper – it looks like there ‘s a massive library on one wall, but it’s just a picture. They have comfortable seating, lots of sourdough sandwiches in two size choices, complementary water is offered, and they have a good range of cakes – even macaroons!
There’s no decaf grinder – the pre-ground decaf lives in a glass container on a shelf above and to the left of the coffee machine. As a result, it’s okay, but not spectacular. The strength of this place seems to be in food rather than coffee: the sandwiches are very good.
10 Q Coffee. 137 Broadway, Ultimo. I’m always on the lookout for a new place, and after watching this shopfront go through a long renovation process, I was excited to see that they’ve opened their doors as of this Monday.
Obviously, the externals of the cafe are still pretty basic as they get into a routine, but the inside is really impressive: lots of timber, and a room out the back with couches and a coffee table.
I haven’t had a chance to try the food yet, but the decaf is impressive. There’s a decaf grinder, and everything is ground to order. The barista knows what he’s doing, and is making really good milk to go with the coffee.
Try it out before it gets too busy!
Grinders Giancarlo coffee. 73-75 MacArthur St, Ultimo.
Searching for cafes near the Powerhouse museum, I’ve noticed this place a number of times – its most striking aesthetic point, visible even from the street, is its gold feature wall. It gives what is otherwise a normal fit-out a sense of occasion and style. Between the indoor and outdoor seating, there’s space for about 30 people, and there are a couple of IKEA high-chairs in case you bring a small child with you.
There’s a big, printed menu up on the wall behind the sandwich bar, and because it’s early in the day, there’s a big, freshly made fruit salad but no lunchtime salads are ready. There’s EFTPOS for those who are looking to settle their bills without cash, and – though the coffees take a little while to be made, at least they’re happy to take money from either side of the counter.
Sadly there’s no decaf grinder, but when the coffees come out – any takeaway coffees – they’re topped with a small home-made biscotti. A homey touch. On a quiet Friday they have a barista and four other staff working, which makes for a smooth food service. Milk is made with care. Coffee is quite hot, sweet enough, but with some kind of metallic aftertaste, unfortunately.
I think it’s worth a revisit to try the food: does anyone else have thoughts on this place?
Toby’s Estate coffee. 456 Harris St, Ultimo. Immediately next to the Ian Thorpe Aquatic centre you’ll see the umbrellas, or at least tables and chairs of this place. There’s a lot of seating here, indoor and outdoor, and a comfortable, lounge-room style arrangement of furniture.
I’m pleasantly surprised to find they have a decaf grinder. When the coffee arrives, it’s a well-made cup of Toby’s Estate, with all the complexity that goes with that.
If you order multiple takeaways, they have quite clever takeaway trays too: perfect for the long walk back to the office.
Piazza D’oro coffee. 2/373 Bulwara Rd, Ultimo. The ability to sit outside, in view of trees, is a rare thing in Ultimo. This cafe takes full advantage of its location, offering indoor seating to those who want an escape from the outdoors. On a day like this, though, it would be folly to sit indoors, and so I take an outside table. The downside is, of course, the secondhand smoke from the adjacent table. Ah well, if that’s the grumble, the life is good.
The main trade of this place appears to be sandwiches and quiche; a window at the front of the unusually high counter shows off an array of traditional lunch options, any of which can be cheerfully brought out to your table by the waitstaff.
Coffee is okay; first sip is foreboding, but improves after that to be pleasant, if served a little too hot.
Piazza D’oro coffee. 458 Harris St, Ultimo. Part of the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre complex, though you don’t need to buy an admission ticket to buy something from the cafe. The first thing that strikes you as you walk into this space is all the natural light: there are big windows running the length of one wall, and another set of windows behind the cafe overlooking the pool. The second thing is the familiar aroma that comes with a swimming pool – the strong scent of chlorine.
Visiting after the lunchtime rush doesn’t see the counters in the best shape: there are plates that have been removed from the table but not yet properly cleared on the counter: in fact, there’s not a lot of counter space anywhere: there are lots of little food options and signage, and a blackboard with some specials – a free coffee with the larger breakfast items is the current special.
It’s not without trepidation that I wait for my coffee: there’s something about the look of the place that tells me the coffee won’t be quite right, but I’m pleasantly surprised. The latte art is well-executed, and the coffee itself is quite good.
Mecca espresso coffee. 97 Quarry St, Ultimo. There’s seating for 8 people outside, and a little bit of space inside. The coffee machine has pride of place here, accessible from the street, through the window, and also from inside the shop.
Coffee is good: the milkwork is competent, meaning that a decaf latte
– freshly ground decaf – is relatively fresh in flavour. I’m surprised to find after I’ve finished my coffee that it’s from Mecca – there’s no signage to suggest it!
Campos Coffee. 623 Harris St, Ultimo. There are not too many places around Ultimo where Campos is on sale – the distinctive umbrellas and signage had called out to me a few times, but this was my first chance to try the place out.
Don’t be fooled by the street frontage: inside there is plenty of space to listen to the background music, be dazzled by the array of lunch options and sweets: there’s even a bench against the window so you can watch the traffic go past.
Coffee is competently made (though the decaf is pre-ground). My first coffee (a normal sized decaf latte) has some leftover grinds at the bottom of the glass, and the milk is a little too thick. A decaf piccolo latte, though, is just right; served in a half-full piccolo glass, it has great balance between the coffee and milk, and leaves me wanting another.
Allpress Coffee. 769 Harris St, Ultimo. I spotted an Allpress cup on a desk at UTS, and asked “Where can I find it”. The answer was “around the corner from campus”, and indeed, only a short walk from the UTS Broadway campus is this place. With a bare street presence, it’s an easy one to miss, but they’re doing good work.
In the window are a range of pre-prepared breakfast and lunch options: salads, muesli-and-yoghurts. There’s indoor seating in the shop immediately next to the cafe (just walk through the interior doorway and down the step).
Coffee (the decaf is pre-ground) was good: the familiar Allpress flavour is there, and they know what they’re doing in making it.
Toby’s estate coffee. 732 Harris St, Ultimo. Seems to be the haunt of a lot of ABC staff – it’s only a few doors up the road from the ABC Ultimo Centre. Very crowded, but with the vibe that I’ve seen a lot in Toby’s places. Cheerful staff, lively piped music and a range of food that looks perfect and appetizing.
Coffee takes a long while, but the line to order is long enough to warn would-be customers. Coffee is really good. Warm, a little sweet, thick foam and a good balance betwen coffee and milk flavour.