Exchange Specialty Coffee – 2013-2015

Exchange Specialty Coffee is just over 2 years old, and like Single Origin Roasters, I’ve loved watching it grow. I was their “first” customer when they opened (technically their second), and in a non-creepy way, this has become my second home in Adelaide. While I admit to having a heavy bias towards and strong familiarity with this cafe, I still benchmark other cafes against the service I receive from here, because why not!

I have a preference for cafes with food (Artificer being the exception), and watching the food here evolve has been fantastic. The coffee is almost exclusively sourced from Market Lane now, compared to the early days when Tom wanted to cycle through coffees from Mecca and Reuben Hills. Like Single O, their food menu and presentation has always been great, but I feel that while Single O has shifted away from my presentation preferences, Exchange has shifted towards what I like to see (and take pictures of!).

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Artificer – 2015

Oh, Artificer! There are lots of places that I hype up for myself and set sky high expectations, that come crashing down as I realise they aren’t half as great as I was expecting. Then there’s this place. A place/two man crew that I’ve followed for a very long time now, ever since Shoji worked at Single Origin Roasters, before he was awarded SMH best barista 2012, and before I’d even heard of Dan until he popped up on my radar and then later, I learned that he’d won SMH best barista 2013. That’s a nigh unbeatable duo!

A great, hipsterish cafe that serves only coffee, I’ve always had a filter coffee that has blown me away here. I believe my first experience was a Burundi batch brew which was so sweet and fruity, it was amazing! For once I didn’t compare this to any previous Burundi experience I had, and I was very very happy with it. Though I’m not sure it was a Burundi, because all they really had was Bolivia? Either way, I found the two taste profiles to be similar as I came back to have all their other coffees – Bolivia Estanislao Pununi being another incredibly sweet coffee – some of the sweetest coffees I’ve had ever! I couldn’t believe how good the coffee tasted every time. And they serve piccolos in their espresso cups! It’s adorable!

The true test was when I had their Columbia El Triunfo, which I knew would taste very different from their Bolivian coffees. It was very nicely brewed, with a more acidic profile than the Bolivia, but also more tea like, again I was reminded of it being similar to a geisha. So, it was great, though I liked the Bolivian coffees better. I also managed to try their Brazil Santa Mariana as an espresso, and now that’s what I call a nutty coffee! Those hazelnut flavours came right out with a great finish! So basically, perfect coffee, all the time.
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Single Origin Roasters – 2011 – 2015

Very seldom do I get to see a cafe evolve through time in a way that makes me feel proud of them. There are currently two in my life: Single Origin Roasters and Exchange Specialty Coffee. The only reason Artificer isn’t here is because it’s too new. Plus being in another state makes it somewhat difficult to assess too.

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Nel – 29 May 2015

So a little place called Nel restaurant popped up on my feed, and I thought it was worthwhile visiting. Sure, there were other places, such as LuMi, Ume, or fancy places in Potts Point. However, for some reason, just the thought of a “Nel” was intriguing.

It seemed like a fairly easy place to book for lunch, and the fare was described as modern British, which was good, since I have a strong tendency to go for Japanese restaurants. I was also a little wary of their price point – $35 per person for lunch. I’ve never seen any fine dining so cheap, apart from prix fixe menus.

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Hartsyard – 28 May 2015

Hartsyard wasn’t a place that had popped up on my radar, however my brother wanted to go. I had no idea of its popularity, fame, or even the type of cuisine it served – in fact on my initial viewing of the menu, I wasn’t sure I’d like it at all.

However, I booked it anyway, and when I checked the menu again on the day, it looked quite interesting – which was a good thing – we needed very large appetites and stomachs for this meal!

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Sokyo – 27 May 2015

Oh Sokyo, whoever thought that you would be so amazing! Having previously had a mediocre experience at Sake, I wasn’t sure what to expect here, especially since I’ve had sushi from Japan which is pretty impossible to match. That being said, Sydney is probably one of the best places to have Japanese, given the large Japanese population here.

I totally didn’t realise I could ask for the omakase when I made the booking, and it turns out a week’s notice is required so that the chefs can age the fish, and the booking process is via email rather than over the phone. If I can’t get into Raita Noda, I may as well put this on my revisit list!
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The Grounds of Alexandria: The Potting Shed – 25 May 2015

The Grounds of Alexandria is a massive complex, filled with themed areas – a restaurant, a cafe, a petting zoo, and a large open dining area. You could spend hours here with all the activities, shops and food they have, however I focused mainly on The Potting Shed (though in hindsight I should have gone to the cafe – that’s on the list for next time!) because a large, colourful macaw was all I needed to convince me to take a look.

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Sepia – 20 May 2015

Sepia, the best restaurant in Australia in 2015. And it’s consistently awarded 3 hats. My brother has been before, but I wasn’t there to tag along, so I was trying to find any excuse to visit – and an incredibly convenient and worthy reason presented itself, so along I went with a friend.

I had spotted on their website that they had a bar area for walk ins, and I assumed that this would just be for their bar menu, but once we got there, we were seated facing the bar and had the option of choosing their full menu, so 9 course degustation it was!

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Sydney Coffee – 2015

A lot of new specialty coffee stores opened in the last year, so much so that I ended up making myself sick from a single coffee crawl because I hadn’t paced out my coffees and ended up dehydrating. Here are the cafes I visited in a two week run; two are specifically left out: Artificer Coffee and Single Origin Roasters because both these cafes have a special place in my caffeinated heart.

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