Brickfields

Jill Dupleix
It's a bakery first, coffee bar second and cafe third.
It's a bakery first, coffee bar second and cafe third. Photo: Edwina Pickles

206 Cleveland Street Chippendale, NSW 2008

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02 9698 7880
Opening hours Mon-Fri 7.30am-3.30pm; Sat-Sun 8am-3.30pm
Prices Cheap (mains under $20)
Payments Cash

Scientific tests have proven people are nicer to each other in areas where there are pleasant ambient smells. In 2012, France's University of Brittany found that more people came to the aid of a stranger outside a bakery than outside a fashion store.

So how nice will we be to each other now Sydney's cafe bakery is such an established trend? As the streets fill with the aromas of freshly baked bread and freshly roasted coffee, there will be no more rudeness and bullying, no queue-jumping, no drive-by shootings and no mothers kicked out of cafes for breastfeeding.

Now you can add Brickfields to your list of freshly baked cafe bakeries, along with St Malo in Crow's Nest, Flour and Stone in Woolloomooloo, Kitchen by Mike in Rosebery, Porch Bread & Wine Parlour in Bondi, Youeni Foodstore in Castle Hill and Labancz in Rozelle.

Breakfast ... soft-boiled egg, fried eggplant, tahini and zhoug.
Breakfast ... soft-boiled egg, fried eggplant, tahini and zhoug. 

Brickfields - a collaboration between Mecca Espresso's Paul Geshos, baker Simon Cancio and chef Ben Abiad - is a cool, contemporary evocation of the old village baker.

It's a bakery first, coffee bar second and cafe third, with its distinct and deliberate lack of magazines, protein shakes, wi-fi and even tables. But the thing is, it's a great bakery and a great coffee bar.

The blackboard lists not much more than four breakfasts, one salad and two fat sandwiches - including, perhaps, a ciabatta roll, filled to order with chorizo and spiced red cabbage. A small display case houses syrup-soaked Persian love cakes and an austerely beautiful plum crostata. There's no skim milk and no tea, either; just a rich, single-origin espresso from El Salvador that's full of hazelnut, mixed peel and nutmeg notes, capable of producing a stunning, oil-rich crema ($3.50) with milk.

It's a bakery first, coffee bar second and cafe third, with its distinct and deliberate lack of magazines, protein shakes, wi-fi and even tables.

For full sensory overload, there's an equally rich, Ottolenghi-inspired breakfast plate of soft-boiled egg halves resting on smoky eggplant and toasted sourdough, with dill pickles, tahini, lemon and dollops of a zingy, green Yemenite herb-and-chilli sauce called zhoug. Snare a swivel stool so you can watch the baker shower flour over sourdough bobs and the chef pull house-made pickles from a jar. And when you leave with half a loaf of their ripper rye sourdough, bury your face in the bag, take a big sniff, and go help a stranger.

Do ... buy bread to take home.
Don't ... ask for tea, they don't do it.
Dish ... soft-boiled egg, fried eggplant, tahini and zhoug, $12.
Vibe ... simple, artisanal and high on detail.

http://brickfields.com.au/