Barista & Cook

Jessica Rayner
6th Mar 2016
$7 - $21

Earlier this year Bourke Street saw newcomer Barista and Cook join its ranks and it has seriously made an impression. The creation of Alan Thompson, former owner of popular Surry Hills café Bang Bang, the Waterloo eatery has created a bit of a hub-bub with it’s inventive menu, dedication to great coffee and stylish and bright interior.

We swung by on a Tuesday morning, eager to sample the much-anticipated breakfast menu. Despite the early hour, plenty of tables were already filled with people enjoying the sunshine and a queue for takeaway coffee and pastries had started to creep towards the door. ‘We’re always quite busy in the mornings,’ our waitress informed us. ‘We have quite a few regulars who pop in every day for a coffee on their way to work.’

When our flat whites arrived, we could see why so many locals are grabbing their morning caffeine fix here. The coffee is by Gypsy Espresso who are known for their quality brews and Barista & Cook have certainly paid homage to that. ‘We are big supporters of local produce’, Alan shared with us. ‘With Gypsy being known for their beans and the fact that they’re just down the road, it was a no-brainer.’

For the coffee aficionados amongst you, you’ll be happy to know that they really earn the Barista part of their title. The fully stocked Brew Bar also gives you the option of a Cold Drip, Chemex or V60 Pour Over if that floats your boat.

The menu also has something for everyone. If you’re after some standard breakfast fare, you’ll find eggs, avo toast and a pretty stacked looking Bacon and Egg roll on offer. However, if you’re here to indulge, there’s no better place.

The showstopper is most certainly the Smoked Trout Kedgeree, a modern twist on the British classic. ‘It’s an underrated dish so I thought I’d try a fresh take plus, it’s a bit of my heritage,’ Alan explained. The spices, rice, and lemon infused yoghurt almost reminded me of a paella, but the poached egg certainly keeps this as a brekkie dish. Certainly one to try if you’re looking for something different.

The Sweetcorn Fritters are also a great brunchy dish. Served with some smashed avocado and poached eggs, it’s almost a Sydney brunching cliché but the bean salsa and tortilla on the side keeps you guessing. The flavours are fantastic and the portion size means you’ve got a little extra to let your friend have a try (if you’ll let them!)

Other breakfast options include a very healthy and Instagrammable Açai Bowl and Buckwheat Waffles which are much more substantial and less sugary-sweet than their counterparts. Served with pears, berries and a dollop of crème fraiche ice cream, it’s what Alan calls "naughty but nice". "We all like a little treat in a while so a few of the items on the menu are a bit naughty like that but I make sure that all the ingredients come from good sources, making them nice at the same time."

You can certainly see this mentality in other elements of the eatery. Aside from water, there are no other bottled drinks on offer and, apart from bread, the kitchen make everything from scratch. It’s obvious that a lot of love and thought has gone into the space, from the cosy yet chic design of the interior to the tasteful nods to current foodie trends sweeping Sydney. Their Oreo smoothie is a great example of this. While it does edge on Freak-Shake territory, there’s more to the drink that just shock and sugar.

I was very impressed with what Barista and Cook had to offer and am jealous that the people of Waterloo get to have them as their morning coffee joint. I’ll definitely be back for lunch.