Ashfield, we’ve always loved you for your shallot pancakes, soup-filled dumplings, cheap butchers filled with exotic meats and easy access to the electrical tape at Bunnings (don’t ask). But we’ve got a new reason to be all up in you. And it’s this ace café. Onwards and upwards, the Inner West.
The beautiful, bleached-wood space with its high windows and vintage dusty-green awning is pretty much a giant breakfast welcome sign. Inside, you can take a seat at one of the wooden benches running along the window, or wander on through to the main part of the café for some more civilised bentwood seating.
A big, open kitchen hidden behind a pane of glass means you can monitor your pork-hock hash from go to whoa. Here, shreds of smoky shin are mixed in with fried buckwheat and iridescent slivers of shallot, all topped with a perfectly poached egg. Whoa, friends, is right.
We also order off the kid’s menu. We’re not sure if it’s against the rules, but we chance it anyway and James Naylor
(you may have seen him working the espresso machines at Surry Hills café Le Monde
) doesn’t seem to care. We’d do it again, too, for the crisp, golden, fifty-cent-piece-sized chicken nuggets (actually they’re more like a tiny schnitzel than a nugget, but this is only a good thing) and old-school, crinkle-cut chips.
Coffee-wise, we’d consider this a food destination over somewhere you’d travel to for an espresso. Order one, enjoy it – it’s straight-up good and offered in either ‘white’ or ‘black’. No fuss, no muss. Or maybe you’ll order a milkshake instead. There’s classic vanilla, chocolate and caramel, then jaffa, butterscotch and – if you’re a total pervert – lime and coconut.
Out the front by the coffee machine there are big (but sadly, slightly dry) Madeleines and other cakey things, but we’re more about the sourdough pikelets on the all-day breakfast menu. The mini-pancakes come topped with sweet, stewed strawberries and a little jug of light custard. It’s breakfast punctuation at its finest.
Out of all the fine tastiness that comes our way, it’s the juicy cheeseburger that keeps this café front and centre in our hearts and minds. A thick patty of grass-fed black Angus beef wears an overcoat of melted gruyere, tomato relish and aioli, all sandwiched in a soft bun with a side of smashed-then-fried potatoes.
Make a beeline for Ashfield for an (all day!) breakfast menu you’ll want to marry with your mouth. Excelsior!