Enjoying breakfast and brunch is a beloved part of Aussie weekend culture. Imagine the scene…groups of locals waiting on line (sorry, that phrase is the New Yorker in me) for their crack at feasting at preferred cafés and restaurants. It is a common sight found throughout Sydney on any given Saturday or Sunday morning. Sometimes the wait can take 15 minutes, and at trendier places, up to an hour or more.
I’m pretty impatient when it comes to waiting for food. When I’m told the wait will take 45 minutes or more, I’m likely moving on to try my luck at another spot. My favorite brunch moments happen when I unearth a place with wait-worthy food and coffee without the wait time. Enter Waterloo-based café, Barista & Cook.
You know the old adage “people eat with their eyes first”? Well…this holds true at Barista & Cook. Their modern, relaxed layout includes a refreshing neutral color palate, exposed brick walls and high ceilings adorned with heaps of greenery. Some local reviewers have dubbed the style Scandinavian-industrial (I’m still wrapping my head around that one). It is spacious enough for prams and highchairs, making it a family-friendly option. My three favorite design aspects include:
• Open window, bar-style seating, which provides an al fresco-style vibe when the weather is nice.
• An open kitchen where visitors can catch a glimpse of the baristas and cooks in action.
• A gorgeous communal table complete with a stunning Yama Glass cold coffee brewer.
The food and drinks are on another level. The seasonal menu is varied and tasty across the board. Every single item that leaves the kitchen looks almost too good to consume. I’ve only tried the breakfast fare thus far, but I will undoubtedly be back to sample the lunch menu in the near future (Grilled Mac ’n’ Cheese Toastie, I see you).
What I’ve sampled:
Iced Latte: Not only is this beverage tasty, it is also presented in a fun and interactive way: view my video
AÇAI Bowl: Cacao granola • seasonal fruits • toasted coconut • pistachio nuts. It is truly a thing of beauty and it is delicious to boot.
Eggs Your Way: [poached / scrambled / fried] toast • seasonal house relish. They had me at (pickle) relish.
What my brekkie partners have sampled:
Sweet Corn Fritters: Avocado • black bean salsa • poached eggs • soft tortilla • fresh lime (and a good looking hash brown on the side).
I recommend making a stop at Barista & Cook if you are in the Waterloo area. If you go once…chances are they will make a return customer out of you.
Location: 830 Bourke Street, Waterloo, 2017
UPDATE: Barista and Cook closed up shop in late 2018. It was replaced by Hungry Chefs.