The impressive range of baked goods sets Luxe Espresso apart from the cafés that populate King Street. Sourdough, rye and fig, soy and linseed loaves just about run out the door while staff from RPA hospital take a load off in the warehouse-style dining room. A pile of flour bags sitting in the corner adds a charming bakery ambience, as do the loaves that constantly roll out of the kitchen, filling the room with the comforting smell of fresh baked bread.
Although there are Luxe cafés in Bondi and Picton, the Newtown chapter is still teething, lacking cold drinks and a phone line. But high levels of enthusiasm and a commitment to good coffee hint that this is a place to watch. Colourful jars of preserved fruits and vegetables line the top shelf behind the counter – baby carrots, lemons, olives – all are used in house-made cakes and breads. Fans rotate lazily overhead and staff are cheerful and attentive.
Cabbage, interestingly enough, is a big feature on the sandwiches here. The salami, sun-dried tomato and cabbage sandwich is toasted on sourdough while ham, cheese, tomato and cabbage is served on untoasted baguette. It's an interesting addition to the sandwich melee, providing crunch with subtle bite. A vegetarian option features roasted eggplant and capsicum.
Everything in the café is house-made. The café's own blend, roasted by Single Origin, has a sweet, nutty finish. Phoenix juices are a refreshing Sydney summer alternative, and a range of tea (in teabags) is also available. Luxe's own retail coffee will soon be available for purchase, as well as the preserved fruits and veg. Glossy sweet treats are showcased in the front glass cabinet: rhubarb tarts, chocolate tarts, croissants and slices. The rhubarb tart is wonderfully light and flaky, with rhubarb providing lovely zing. The chocolate brownies look amazingly sinful and go on our to-do list for next time. A full breakfast menu is forthcoming (as is the chef), but Luxe is certainly off to a roaring start.
It's a brave move opening up next to the legendary Campos – we can see through the window that the adjacent café is stuffed full of people. Even so, Luxe has a respectable parade of coffee and bread lovers traipsing through.