You’ll find 212 Blu next door to the Newtown Fire Station, but these two buildings couldn’t be more different. Where one is characterised by screaming alarms, Dayglo yellow and modern-day heroes, 212 Blu is an oasis of Nordic-styled calm. The ceilings are high, the walls and floor are white tiled, the counter is polished concrete and they have some indie folk on the stereo keeping the vibe mellow.
The whole space is artfully restrained, which is the MO of fashionable collective the Stables, who also run café and designer boutiques in Surry Hills and Bondi.
Up the back there is a big communal table where you can peruse back issues of Kinfolk and Made and if you have little ones in tow there’s a well pawed copy of Where the Wild Things Are, too. Rough-hewn tables line one wall but the best seat in the house is the one in the window looking out onto Australia Street.
They are trying to do a lot with a small space and limited kitchen facilities so there may be a short wait on food. Though speed is not their forte, coffee is. They have three grinders of 5 Senses beans going at one time and there’s a fourth on standby, by the gleaming white Syneso espresso machine. On our visit they’re using the Tightrope blend for the milk coffees. It makes for a strong, smooth shot that we’d like to do again, and soon.
In the glass cabinet at the far end of the counter there are roast beef sandwiches and croissants. For a breakfast that is as simple as it is delicious order the smashed avocado with lime juice and a soft-boiled, dukkah-dusted egg on the side. Or try a combination of granola and Bircher with cinnamon yoghurt and berries.
In case of fire, call 000. In case of a caffeine emergency, make sure to call on 212.