Pablo and Rusty’s gets industrial chic on your inner city lunchtime
The Pablo and Rusty’s cafés have been circling the coffee wagons in Epping, Lane Cove, Sydney Olympic Park and Gordon. But now they’ve finally taken the plunge and set up shop in the heart of the city.
Their latest café is the gatekeeper of a slick, new food courtyard on Castlereagh Street. Exposed brick walls, wooden beams and a set of terrariums hanging in macramé nets soften the new development sheen of this floor-to-ceiling glass corner. Plus they crank LCD Soundsystem and have roof-mounted vintage desk fans to direct cool blasts of air con down onto diners.
There are only three well thumbed menus between nine on a communal table but that doesn’t stop an enthusiastic waitress asking if we’d like to order just seconds after we sit. From there things are largely phoned in. Pepper mills arrive empty, coffees appear long after our cake is finished, and one drink order goes renegade, never to be seen again. Two floor staff – one in training – proves insufficient for the lunch rush.
Perhaps they need all hands in the kitchen for their ambitious lunch menu. A huge serving of slow-cooked lamb has spent a little too much time in the oven and as a result is a little cottony. The accompanying spiced quinoa with toasted almonds on the side might also have seen a little too much heat – what look like coffee beans are actually almonds.
Finding somewhere to do you a decent cooked breakfast in the CBD is no cake walk. But here the breakfast menu is served until noon, which means a plate of two poached eggs with (extremely) thick-cut bacon, a spicy, nutty, pepper sauce and fried potato rounds can be ordered for lunch. It also comes with toast so it’s a double carb win for those who work hard, and anyone who played a little too hard the night before.
We reckon you’ll have better luck with take-away here. Enter off Castlereagh Street, join the cordoned-off queue and make a quick getaway out the side door with a roast chicken sandwich in one hand and a carrot-cake cupcake in the other. Or perhaps a dense, custardy bread-and-butter pudding slice topped with a tart raspberry compote and a thin spear of rhubarb is more your taste. They’re really across their sweets here, best demonstrated by the killer strawberry milkshake that comes with smashed-up pistachio praline sprinkled over the top.
Lunch in the CBD is a smash-and-grab affair for many people so for the essential city trifecta of sambo, sweet treat and coffee, Pablo and Rusty’s do a fine job in much nicer surrounds than your average speedy café.
|Venue name:||Pablo and Rusty's|
161 Castlereagh St
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 6.30am-5pm; Sat 8am-4pm|