Even though there are plenty of cafes around my area, I still get a little excited when a new one pops up. Word on the street was that there was a new cafe in Artarmon that had awesome coffee and food to boot.
You’d never think that there was a hipster cafe down the little pedestrian walkway leading out from Artarmon train station, but in amongst the Japanese restaurants, convenience stores and bookshops is Salvage Specialty Coffee.
They take their coffee seriously here with the Mecca Dark Horse blend and single origin coffees on offer, and a rather amusing sign saying that any coffee “extras” cost 50c – extras that may or may not include “soy, extra shot, mocha, honey, vampire blood, unicorn tears, kisses from Zooey Deschanel”.
Apart from the normal espresso-based coffees, Salvage also do filter coffees including Aeropress and cold brews. The cold brew comes in a cute Salvage bottle and is served with a sphere of ice in a glass to keep it chilled.
Calling all chocaholics! By now you’ve probably been to Max Brenner, Lindt cafe, Oliver Brown and the like, so it’s time to put The Choc Pot on the top of your chocolate cafe list and get there stat! Mainly because of this….
Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
This is The Choc Pot’s signature dessert, the molten choc pot. It’s like a chocolate fondant, complete with a gooey, molten centre and in case there wasn’t enough chocolate, some extra molten milk and dark chocolate has been drizzled on top.
Back in the day when I still lived at home, Wahroonga was my hood. There wasn’t much around there at the time – a few takeaway food stores, a book store, a florist and a chicken shop (which was also good for post-school munchies) but nothing to shout about.
A lot has changed since those days. The chicken shop is still there, as are some of the takeaway food stores, but some new cafes have popped up and word on the street is that there’s good coffee, the food is delicious and Instagram-worthy, even.
So of course, I had to go and check it out. The Butcher’s Block was one cafe that I’d heard lots of good things about, so it wasn’t a surprise to me when we arrived on a Saturday lunchtime that there was a full house and a 15-minute wait for a table.
We ordered some drinks once we were seated, and apart from the usual coffees, juices and shakes offered at cafes, The Butcher’s Block also has some sodas like raspberry and rose, and blackberry flavoured sodas. The raspberry and rose soda proved to be quite the refreshing drink and not too sweet either.
Coffees were also on the money with the iced coffee being a simple espresso shot mixed with milk on ice.
The menu was very enticing and it took us quite a while to decide what to get. The pulled pork and cheese quesadilla came with a generous serve of sour cream on the side. The quesadilla wedges were topped with an onion and tomato salsa while inside the toasted quesadilla housed some juicy pulled pork and melty cheese.
It’s taken me a while to get to the Grounds of Alexandria. I’d heard about the animals and the pretty surroundings as well as the food, but I’d also heard about hour-long queues for a weekend lunch which kind of put me off. We decided to wait until the hype died down to pay them a visit.
Well, it turns out that the hype never really did die down, and on the Friday lunch we visited it was as busy as ever. There was still a waiting list for a table, but luckily there are plenty of things around the Grounds to keep us occupied while we wait.
We visit Kevin Bacon the pig and Bradley the sheep in their pen at the back, which they share with some chickens. It’s a hot day when we visit so Kevin Bacon cools down by chilling out in the water bowl.
There’s also plenty of outdoor food carts with breads, sweet and savoury pastries, juices and coffee for those who want to grab a bite on the go. On a separate visit we even saw a cart selling jam or nutella filled doughnuts which were freshly fried and tasted amazing!
Paramount Coffee Project has been on my go-to list for some time now, so when a public holiday conveniently rolled around, I made the most of my day off and took the opportunity to pay them a visit.
The cafe space is airy and bright, with a few small tables, some larger, family-style tables in the centre of the cafe and counter seating at the coffee bar. We’re lucky to get a table quickly at the big shared table, but the place is quite popular around lunchtime and we notice some people having to wait until a table becomes available until they are seated.
Coffee is serious business here with coffee beans displayed on the bar and a few coffee blends on offer from Reuben Hills and Seven Seeds. There’s the option of filter coffee or espresso based drinks, but for today we stick with our stock-standard lattes.