This town has more cafés than it knows what to do with. So why are so few of them as good as the Little Marionette?
This Annandale café is the size of a shoebox. At first glance, it’s nought but a couple of tables and a banquette lining big open windows, and a coffee machine in the corner. Out the back there’s a room taken up with a massive roaster – the heart of the business. In a city where coffee is almost as important as breathing, this is pretty much a must in any good café.
If you’re after a big breakfast, or at least more than a slice of toast, you’re going to be sad. Trafalgar St Espresso does little in the way of food. They do, however, buy all their pastries in from Black Star Pastry – Newtown’s shining beacon of baked goods. There’s a huge line in the shop for coffee and pastries. It just goes to show that you don’t need a breakfast chef to make a successful café. It is, however, vital to employ a team of shit-hot baristas. Ben Stronach, Keiran Lloyd and owner Ed Cutcliffe all pull an exceptional coffee. They’re also incredibly friendly and if they’re getting high on their own caffeine supply, they’re hiding it extremely well.
A room hidden behind a wall painted to look like a bookcase is filled with old Persian rugs, bottle-green Chesterfield sofas and wall-mounted deer heads. We can’t help thinking that if they got their liquor licence, this would make an excellent bar. There’s also a tape deck with an iPod plugged into it. If you’re braver than us, you might switch the music, which is the only problem at this otherwise grouse café. We think the Café Del Mar compilations stink as much as the next person, but downbeat, psychedelic post-rave hip hop doesn’t exactly encourage you to linger. Unless you’re still coming down from 1995.
Trafalgar St Espresso is the sort of place other cafés should use as a template. It has fantastic coffee, simple food and friendly service. More like this, please.
|Venue name:||Trafalgar St Espresso||Contact:|
18a Trafalgar Street