Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fremantle’s most famous café, all icon but not so good on quality

Recently on one sunny Saturday, a friend and I visited Fremantle to for breakfast and since we were in the mood for people watching we chose Fremantle’s most iconic café Gino’s or more formally Gino’s Café and Tattoria.

Firstly, this is what I love about Gino’s – I love its familiarity, I love the location and its charm.

But what I didn’t like so much during my last visit was that the coffee was nothing special and the food was disappointing.

With Gino’s being such an iconic Fremantle café I would have thought that the coffee would have been visually perfect while full of flavour, but it can be only can be described as not bad.

The food wasn’t what I had hoped for either. I ordered a fruit salad with Greek yogurt but the kitchen staff hadn’t had time to take the green leaves off the strawberries and the yoghurt was a little sour. Since the strawberries and plums were not super ripe there was nothing but a few dates to make the overall dish sweeter. A drizzle of honey or vanilla yoghurt would have been a good choice to counteract the sourness of the fruit.

Besides, if you're going to pay for something you want to get something that has had a bit of preparation and effort put into it. I got the feeling that I could have put this dish together in half the time at the fraction of the cost and I'm not even a good cook.       


While I liked the handful of dried fruit (the dish could have done with a few more plus a few dried apricots maybe) that was thrown in but between the strawberries still with their stems on and the sour plums/yogurt it wasn’t really a breakfast that I enjoyed that much.

This café has so much potential but I don’t understand why the coffee isn’t better and the food is so slapdash. I want to love this place, I want it to be perfect and I want it to be something I can write home about. I hope that it manages to makes some changes to live up to its iconic fame.  

Gino's Cafe & Trattoria on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Coffee out in Sydney

There is no doubt that I am addicted to coffee and so when I went to Sydney recently I had to visit some great cafes.

The first was Bondi’s Gertrude and Alice. Named after Gertrude Stein and her partner Alice (who were both influential in Paris’ intellectual/artsy set in the 1920s) and so in many ways Gertrude and Alice is a stereotypical café. It seems natural that a café and bookshop that bares their name would attract the creative types who lean towards being arty and bookish.  

With its walls that are piled high with new and second hand books, I couldn’t help but linger awhile over a Long Mac and make progress with Hemingway’s Farewell To Arms as well as pick up some books to fill my already bulging bookcase.

It is a great place to people watch while getting inspiration for any creative project that you may have. The coffee is great, the food is wonderful and the vibe is just brilliant.

Gertrude and Alice on Urbanspoon

Since I used to live in Sydney, I just had to go and visit my old ‘hood. While Vesbar Espresso in Marrickville wasn’t around when I lived there, it hasn’t let the suburb down when it comes to great coffee.

You can always tell a good café by how busy it is on Saturday or Sunday morning. When I first walked past this joint on the Saturday that I was there, it was bursting at the seams with a few people waiting for a table.

So when I went back the following Monday or Tuesday I had high expectations.

Luckily I wasn’t disappointed! Their Long Mac was smooth but had flavour and their gluten free brownie was divine; it was light, chocolaty and perfect.  

Great food, great coffee and great service!

Vesbar Espresso on Urbanspoon

It is almost traditional now in Australia to go out for breakfast on the weekends. With the weather being what it is and the coffee being what it is, it is so nice to enjoy a great breakfast while catching up with mates and/or the weekend papers. It is common to find queues coming out of many of the capital cities best cafés, so find out where they are and get in early!

In the inner city suburb of Surry Hills it is a wonderful place to meet up with friends to visit one of the many and often small cafés that are in the area.

During my time in Sydney, I caught up with a friend and we visited Gnome Espresso and Wine Bar. It was packed when we got there but it wasn’t long before we scored a table in a prime location for people watching.  The coffee was good and the food was great while being reasonably priced.

Gnome Espresso and Winebar on Urbanspoon

After a packed couple of days of people watching and coffee drinking, I managed to squish in a visit to a Sydney icon and institution – Café Hernandez.

The café that never sleeps is famous for being open all the time and being a little quirky. Being in a short walk from the Cross, it is perfect for a late night espresso or a hot chocolate prior to heading home. But is great to visit anytime, really!!

I love the décor and the general vibe of the place. The coffee wasn’t bad but the Cinnamon roll was a little dry but ok.     

Cafe Hernandez on Urbanspoon

I hope that this post helps in choosing where to go for coffee in Sydney because there are so many great places to go.

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