Tag Archives: tea and coffee

Don Campos and Bread & Circus, Alexandria

Last weekend, we headed out to Alexandria to check out the Art Hunter exhibition, which was a short term show set up by the famous art and design blogger The Cool Hunter.

Afterwards, we headed across the road to check out the Potting Shed, a new bar at the Grounds of Alexandria. BUT when we weaved through the crowded Grounds to get there, it wasn’t opened! This was a bit disappointing, as I had heard it had opened late March and was open from 11am… 😦 The Grounds website doesn’t say anything about it as yet, so I guess it’s still in the works?

Plus it was hot and I was looking forward to nice cold drink.

Thankfully, with the wonders of the Internet, we found some other nearby options at 21 Fountain Street:

Campos Specialty Brewing Bar

Don Campos Specialty Brewing Bar
Don Campos Specialty Brewing Bar

When you walk into 21 Fountain Street, the first ‘stop’ is the Campos Bar. In fact, that’s the only signage you see from the outside. We’d been looking for Bread & Circus and walked right past 21 Fountain Street, because the outside sign only says “Campos”.

Afternoon coffee
Afternoon coffee

Further in past Campos, however, is Bread & Circus! But straightaway, it’s obvious that there is a line of people waiting for tables. Sigh. I’m not a fan of waiting, which is why I always prefer to book ahead or just go somewhere else.

I can never understand the people who show up at Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian and are happy to wait 1 hour! From memory, we’ve waited at Chai Thai in Westfield Sydney (40 minutes!) and Reuben Hills (15 mins).

Anyway, we decide to grab a drink at Campos instead – since we’ll be having a big dinner later.

Affogato
Affogato

D2D orders a white chocolate affogato and I get the peanut butter affogato. It’s so good for a hot afternoon. I can’t taste much difference between the two affogatos, but it doesn’t really matter since anything with ice cream usually just tastes awesome.

Don Campos on Urbanspoon

While we waited for our affogatos, I’d wandered around.

Rosetta Stone Artisan Bakery
Rosetta Stone Artisan Bakery

Next to Don Campos is the cafe and bakery for the Rosetta Stone Artisan Bakery. Behind this small shop front is a large glass walled area for industrial baking! No one was baking this late in the afternoon, but it looked pretty pro.

The breads for sale
The breads for sale

I then snuck up to Bread & Circus and asked how long the wait for a table for two is. It’s only 10 minutes! So we quickly drink up our affogatos and go up….just in time for the line to be cleared except for another table for two! 🙂

Excellent timing…

Bread & Circus Wholefoods Canteen
Bread & Circus Wholefoods Canteen

Bread and Circus Wholefoods Canteen

  • Website: http://www.breadandcircus.com.au/
  • Address: 21 Fountain Street, Alexandria
  • Open: Mon to Fri (7am – 3pm) and Sat & Sun (7am – 4pm)
  • Call: 0418 214 425
  • Bookings: only for weekdays for groups of 5+
  • Communal table sharing available
Busy barista
Busy barista

Signposted with a giant spoon with “Bread & Circus” written on it, this place has a large open kitchen with fruits, vegetables, jars, sacks, pots, and buckets decorating every possible space!

Open kitchen
Open kitchen

I love the atmosphere of this place – kind of like a farmer’s market combined with a candy shop. I’m quite sure that if I tried this at home, it would look like an absolute mess.

I say candy shop because the colour theme of B&C appears to be PINK. Usually this would seem tacky, but somehow they manage to use the colour to make the place look quite beautiful with pink homewares, shelves and menus.

Jars
Jars

The staff here are all smiles and seat us with table water and the menu at the end of a communal table which isn’t too crowded. All the tables here at large wooden tables, seating probably 10 people each.

Check out all these people!

Communal tables
Communal tables

B&C has daily changing menus, which are uploaded on their website! The food menu is quite wide ranging, with Breakfast separated into a “bread” section (covering things with bread/toast) and “things with fruit” section. Lunch is then separated into soups, salads, sandwich boxes and the “daily plates”.

I would have loved to try more of their menu, but we’re only here for afternoon tea, so we order:

Six hour organic chicken brown rice congee w/ chilli flakes white pepper and shallot - $10
Six hour organic chicken brown rice congee w/ chilli flakes white pepper and shallot – $14

This seems to be a standing item on the B&C menu and also one of their more well known dishes to try. What can I say? It’s very good and rather peppery – a nice big bowl (think 2-3 Chinese rice bowls) for only $14! You can also get it as a ‘side’ for $8 (not sure how big this is) or takeaway for $10.

Their drinks menu is also impressive. They have a page for a variety of teas, plus coffees, and freshly blended juices etc.

Juice
Juice

Juices are around $8. I can’t recall which one we ordered, but it was delicious and had a nice sour touch.

This place is nice table decorations. Perhaps an easier way to describe B&C is via comparison to the Paramount Coffee Project. PCP can be described as ‘beautiful’ – it’s white spaces, minimalist, crisp, modern, glass, clear. B&C is pastel, organic, homely, real.

Table decorations
Table decorations

Notes: the food and drink did take a while to come out. So it’s best to come when you’re up for some relaxation or have time to spare.

Also, it’s probably best to come in a small group where you don’t mind table sharing. Otherwise you’ll have a wait a while.

They also take credit card and offer email receipts, which I thought was a nice touch towards being ‘paper conscious’.

Deckchairs
Deckchairs

AND, you can also sit outside on these colourful deck chairs for relaxation and a dog-friendly afternoon. Unfortunately there’s a bit of construction going on the adjacent building at the moment so the view from the deckchairs isn’t great (you can see the fencing in the photo there).

All in all, this was a cool find that I definitely prefer over the overcrowded Grounds.

Bread & Circus on Urbanspoon

What else is around:

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Three Ropes Expresso and Circa Expresso, Parramatta

Let’s take a trip out west in Sydney for this post. Well, really, I commute out west five a days, so this wasn’t anything special. But there are some special places in Parramatta that we haven’t blogged out. As the up and coming secondary CBD of metropolitan Sydney, Parramatta is increasingly trafficked by office workers looking for their coffee hit or a bit of lunch.

Let’s go to the breakfast stop:

Three Ropes Expresso

Three Ropes Expresso
Three Ropes Expresso

Three Ropes Expresso (TRE) has made great use of what is otherwise a rather dodgy alleyway that leads towards Parramatta Library and Town Hall.

Cool street art
Cool street art

It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do – and they’ve really glammed it up here with some cool street art with crate type chairs/tables next to their coffee bar.

Just chilling
Just chilling

We get there at 9am before D2D has a meeting and there’s quite a few people enjoying their morning coffee or paper out in the open. This guy in red was giving us a few weird looks because we were taking photos, lol.

Expresso bar
Expresso bar

Here they serve food and coffees. They’ve got things like cookies and cakes etc, as well as some hot food. The foods are written on brown sandwich bags stuck on the top there.

Gozleme
Gozleme

D2D orders a coffee and gozleme for breakfast. I grab a bite or two even though I’ve had breakfast already and it’s quite good – not too oily. They do both takeaway and eat in (or out)  for foods.

Some random books
Some random books

Three Ropes Espresso on Urbanspoon

Next stop, we have lunch at:

Circa Expresso

  • Web:  http://circaespresso.com.au/
  • Address: 21 Wentworth Street, Parramatta
  • Open: M-F (7 – 4pm), Sat (8-3pm) – note, kitchen closes at 2pm all days

On the other side of the tracks (the Westfield side) and next to an Indonesian restaurant called Pondok is a garage style cafe called Circa Expresso. It is run by the same guys as Three Ropes Expresso.

And yes, it’s basically a garage that goes far back inside!

Circa Expresso
Circa Expresso

You can see some more street art on the wall, plus a guy waiting outside. We’ve come at around 12.30pm and because of the slight rain, the outdoor seats are wet. So there’s a 5-10 min wait for a table for two.

Assorted table of coffee stuff
Assorted table of coffee stuff

As you can see, Circa Expresso is a specialty tea and coffee cafe. They have a lot of coffee and tea apparatus.

Coffee apparatus
Coffee apparatus

We get seated and given table water and menus quickly. There’s a nice flower and tin of sugar on the table already.

Menu time
Menu time

I think ‘garage’ is a good way to explain this place, because that is how it’s decked out. There’s a random assortment of things decorating the walls and ceiling – kind of like what you would find in someone’s garage of collected junk or at a garage sale.

Menus sitting in an inbuilt window/shelf
Menus sitting in an inbuilt window/shelf

The kitchen is in, and further behind that are even more tables/seats!

Kitchen
Kitchen

After a while our food arrives:

Salmon dish on a pastry/bread/waffle - $19
Salmon dish on a pastry/bread/waffle – $19

D2D’s salmon dish looks a bit small in this picture but it was actually a regular size. I’m not sure if he was satisfied though, because he was very happy to help me eat half my sandwich, which was really big!

Ham with apple slaw sandwich - $14
Ham with apple slaw sandwich – $14

Apple slaw is very yummy! The sourdough was a big hard and with such a large filling for the sandwich, I knew, before I even took a bite, that I would struggle to eat this neatly or finish it.

Milo dinosaur drink
Milo dinosaur drink

This was really yummy! But you have stir it and break the ice cream down a bit.

Iced mocha
Iced mocha

D2D’s iced mocha was “good”. It’s served in a cocktail type glas

Pastries
Pastries

On the way out to pay (best to pay at the counter), there’s a tray of pastries. Yum!

Outdoor plants
Outdoor plants

It’s refreshing to find more places like this in Parramatta, hidden in alleys and corners, despite there being a massive Westfield in the place.

I think the owners of both places have certainly found a good market here in Parramatta, rather than opening yet another hipster cafe in Surry Hills.

The only signage that this is Circa Expreso
The only signage that this is Circa Expreso
Precious comics
Precious comics
The outdoor seating
The outdoor seating

What else is around?

  • Sweet Street Bakery – great pies and other pastries
  • Lots of other restaurants along Church Street – Thai and Italian cuisines
  • Parramatta Park – lots of grass and tracks for cycling and running

Circa on Urbanspoon

Assembly, Melbourne

For once, we aren’t behind in our posts! So let’s a trip back in time to around Easter 2013, where we flew down to Melbourne for a holiday.

Located a bit north of Melbourne CBD, between Carlton Gardens and Melbourne University is a tiny cafe/store called Assembly.

Assembly

Assembly - coffee
Assembly

As usual, it was raining in Melbourne that day, so after a long, wet walk, we were super relieved to notice this little sign along a road that just looked like a bunch of warehouses.

We went into this tiny shop/cafe, where there was 1 guy happily making coffee. It continues to pour outside, so we decide to order a tea to warm up.

Coffee and tea
Coffee and tea

As you can see, the counter is set up with filters for coffee making, a board with tea and coffee orders and little enclaves hosting tea and coffee wares for sale.

Our host starts brewing our tea for us and then offers us the first brew. He’s quite a friendly fellow and after a few questions, it’s clear that this guy is a tea and coffee expert, like a professor! He even looks the part with his beard!

The place is beautifully set up with a minimalist design and is really quiet, except for the pitter patter of rain outside. Aside from us and the host, there’s another visitor sitting at the communal table reading a book. This must be his refuge from the rain as well.

Compared to the popular cafes in Sydney, this is a welcome difference to the queues and noisy Sunday brunches.

Our tea
Tea

This is our tea served in interestingly designed cups. You can see them on display in the second photo actually. Each cup has a slightly different ‘crack’ in it as well. But don’t worry, no actual tea drips out.

We sit there and enjoy sipping our tea, brew after brew! The host even nice enough to bring out a cold brew that he made earlier. He wants us to try the difference between the cold and hot brew, and maybe it’s the wet weather, but the hot brew is my preferred choice!

Cookies!
Cookies!

There’s also a platter of cookies on the communal table for us – don’t they look good?

Anyway, I suggest you check out what else we have from our Melbourne visits.

Assembly on Urbanspoon