Saturday, November 11, 2006

Express

Residents of Newtown, you are lucky bastards. In your midst has appeared a mirage of urban slickness hidden amongst the foliage at Newtown Station Nursery. This is NOT like popping into the cafe while you're at K&D on Saturday morning; this is a groovy breakfast joint with slick service, food and coffee. Real coffee.

A quick perusal of the menu reveals standard cooked breckie options. There are a few interesting additions too: chocolate banana bread, toasted coconut bread, choc hazelnut french toast sandwich or sweet ricotta fritters with honeycomb butter. I'm not a huge fan of the sweet breakfast, so went the poached eggs with mushrooms on the side, despite the urgings of the waitress to try the coconut bread. Next time, maybe. Can't fault the food -perfectly poached free-range eggs, crunchy multigrain toast and yummo mushrooms. The young fella in the kitchen has big shoes to fill (surname is Falconer) and he seems to be doing well so far.

I knew the coffee would be spot on as soon as I spied Steve Skinner behind the machine. Formerly of Criterion St Cafe which he ran with wife Rebecca (she's in charge of this venture), Steve makes coffee the way it ought to be made, and he cares about every drink that he serves. I was not disappointed. I ordered a second, which is dangerous for a breastfeeding mum (yep, Mr 6 months didn't sleep for the rest of the bloody day).

Service can't be faulted - experience shows, and the staff are familiar faces from cafes over the years. I was offered water several times, suggestions from the menu, and smiles. Not a stressed expression in sight despite the packed house and second-week-jitters.

As I lingered over my second long black, I took in the surrounds - 9 well-spaced tables in a vaguely Ikea-like setting. Loads of natural light and an nice leafy aspect into the nursery. Despite being located alongside the bike track, there's no direct access, but you could easily jump off the track 50 metres along the road and backtrack.
Every table in view appeared to be couples (pre- or post-kids) wearing designer specs and reading proper newspapers (ie not the Mercury). I'd say it was a definite "scene", and I spotted one or 2 known faces about town.
The fitout is red and white and leaves an impression of light, bright and a bit plasticky. Not quite how I would have decorated and somehow not altogether in harmony with the green relaxing vibe of the nursery. I didnt feel inclined to linger after I'd finished my people-watching.

I forgot to enquire whether there were any highchairs available, and I didn't see any kidlets there this morning. I wouldn't hesitate taking kids along, but would sit outside in the contained courtyard area so they could make noise and spill sugar without maternal coronaries. I hope there's some sun/rain protection for the outdoor tables.
Edited to add: went back for more coffee today with 2 kids and hubby in tow - omg the place was chockers with kidlets drinking babychinos and enjoying themselves. I was introduced to the "kids shelf" where crayons and paper are stored for entertaining youngsters. V. pleasing to see, and I've awarded an extra point as bonus because it appears v. family-friendly.

In all, a surprising little package, and a suburban cafe to patronise if one is a discerning coffee drinker and consumer of fine breakfasts. I wasn't going to give a rating after only one visit, especially to a brand newbie, but given that they are old hands on board and know the ropes, I will.

Rated 9/10
Express Cafe @ Newtown Station Nursery

11 comments:

littlesnoring said...

Thanks for the review, it sounds great - I must pay a visit with the kiddos soon.

Zelda said...

OOPS I meant to post my comment in this comment section NOT the one on Zum! Sorry!

trendy wendy said...

if I can drag myself north of Burnett I might give it a go..

Rita said...

Hey Nellie - 9/10 eh? That's a big call.
Looks like I'll have to trek on out there and try it soon.
Love the poached eggs pic.
Did you see in the Merc today that Marque IV got big accolades? I know that's not brekky-related, but it's food-ish.
Keep up the great reviews.

foodkitty said...

delish piccy and new colours
v.fresh

tassie_gal said...

I'll agree about Newtown - though I would only give it an 8 due to my poached egg being a little bit small. Otherwise good hot chocolate, nice atmosphere etc etc.

Anonymous said...

I thought someone so clever would know it's New Town, not Newtown.

Nellie said...

Ooops. Bad Nellie. New Town.

foodkitty said...

Finally got there this am - v.noice. Rebecca mentioned her chef problems - first week and chickenpox do not mix!

Historically (yes, glaze eyes now) New Town was either/or Newtown; Newtown Post Office, Main Road New Town is one eg.

Anonymous said...

Newtown? That's in Sydney. In Tasmania, we have New Town.

Mike Hobart said...

I live really close but I've never been there. I must try it once I recover from Christmas.