You’ll see it stationed on every other table, and all over Instagram. And there are good reasons why the brioche piled with fruit, flowers and hot-pink fairy floss is the pin-up-pretty number that everyone wants to order at this Petersham café. Yes, it’s designed to rack up double taps and approving emojis, but this dish is actually delicious. Served like French toast, the brioche slices are dusted with crumbled pistachio and partly sealed with mascarpone. A ring of mixed berries, Canadian maple syrup and salted caramel surrounds the toast like a security detail. And the crown of Persian fairy floss tastes like pure rosewater, not the oversugared frizz you’ll find at carnivals. For a dessert with an OTT presence online, it’s a surprisingly balanced mix of sweetness, nuttiness and well toasted carbs.
Owners Gilbert and Debbie Colacicco (Leichhardt Espresso, Rozelle Espresso) inherited a version of this dish from the Grumpy Barista, the location’s previous occupants, but they’ve remixed it into the Instagram powerhouse that rules their weekend dockets. Like the brioche and Persian pashmak, plenty of other dishes look good through a lens: pulled pork buns plated with piled-high curls of kumara crisps, eggs baked in a mini frypan with tomato sugo and garnished with a Danish feta avalanche, and a mountain of cheese-sprinkled peas accompanied by creamy burrata, ribbons of aged prosciutto, a big Parmesan crisp and sourdough.
Sometimes the visual elements can seem unnecessary – like the stylish drizzle of pesto that surrounds the smashed peas; its oiliness overpowered a dish that had otherwise aced the combo of salty, rich and fresh flavours. (If decadence is your thing, though, try the 72-hour truffle-infused fried egg, which draws on a Tuscan family recipe – and not truffle oil, thankfully.)
The coffee is an easy-to-drink Campos blend, with a slight caramel undertone that works well with summer-friendly options (get it as an iced latte, long black, regular coffee or, better still, a two-scoop affogato, with the ice cream supplied by a local Italian cake shop). There are also tea blends by T2 and smoothies, including a “green” one that doesn’t suck. Instead of tasting like you’re slurping a salad bowl, the “detox smoothie” tastes more like a healthy Vietnamese shake (thanks to the creamy, nutty addition of avocado). Maybe it’ll make you feel better about getting that fairy floss brioche.