Altogether now: Italian brekkie board with two poached eggs, prosciutto, avocado, Persian feta and marinated olives served with sourdough. Photo: Fiona Morris
Gasolina is situated on Rocky Point Road, a relatively major traffic artery. This means that, as you tuck into the bacon and egg panini and lusty flat white, great big freighter trucks thunder past just a few metres away.
It can be deafening and stops a conversation. But Sydneysiders are used to having their cafes beside busy traffic and no one at this just-opened corner spot seems particularly fazed this morning. All the outdoor seating - a mix of tables, chairs, stools and wooden-topped green milk crates - is filled by family groups, couples, solo newspaper readers and the odd tradie waiting for his piccolo.
We are perched on high stools at a wooden bar in the front window. Just above are shelves of gourmet truffle oil, olives and more, all for sale from food importer Salt, Meat, Cheese. Opposite, behind the impressive Synesso coffee machine and a glass cabinet of pastries and banana bread, is an open kitchen, humming with efficiency.
The corner cafe Gasolina. Photo: Fiona Morris
This is the overriding mood at Gasolina. Founded by Aki Daikos, formerly of Marrickville's Vesbar, it buzzes with cheery and knowledgeable staff who whisk away empty plates, suggest menu items and check on us without overdoing things.
We order an Italian breakfast board, bircher muesli and a bacon and egg panini. The breakfast board looks splendid. Slices of toast hold two deftly poached eggs beside an entire, sliced avocado, a ruffled pile of prosciutto and dishes of olives and feta. All are lip-smacking and ideally matched when jammed perilously together on sections of bread.
The bircher muesli is like a breakfast lasagne - fat layers of soft nutty oats, vanilla bean yoghurt, honey, poached pears and berries. The panini features two fried eggs, crispy bacon and lashings of spicy relish on crunchy bread that soaks it all up.
The small girl at the table is very taken by her kids' milkshake with its dinky little glass bottle, stripey straw and lick of gooey chocolate oozing down the glass insides.
But when two of Gasolina's house specials arrive - a Nescafe classic frappe and a Nutella frappe - her attention is diverted. This may be because they come in glass tankard-like mugs with straws. Or, more probably, because their thickness means the straws stand straight up and are virtually immobile.
Nescafe is not a word you hear often in modern-day cafes but it is a Greek speciality treat. At this Italian food spot there seem to be many Greek frappe-seeking fans sucking like mad on these lip-smacking burly brews.
Gasolina's decor carries the fresh energy of its founder, staff and menu. White subway tiles bear large blackboard menus and some graffiti-style artwork. The front counter has a bare brick frontage, while seating is a mix of chic industrial-style stools and chairs. The floor is reclaimed wood, stamped with brand names. Water glasses are cheery yellow tumblers, coffee comes in pale green Grounds of Alexandria-branded cups and each table has Olio olive oil and Greek Kalas sea salt at the ready.
Gasolina features breads by Brasserie Bakery, coffee by Grounds of Alexandria (take-home bags are available) and gourmet goods by Salt, Meat, Cheese, also in Alexandria.
Perhaps the most impressive sight is the cafe's glass cabinet of doughnuts. Sizeable, housemade and groaning with sugar and spice, they come plain or, for the thrillseekers, with ricotta, jam, Nutella or chocolate.
With breakfast finished we are fairly full but these marvels are displayed, perhaps unfairly, near the till. It's a cinch to add three varieties to the bill as takeaway. They are soft, perfectly doughy, and heightened by spectacularly sweet fillings - the perfect armour to face the rumbling semi-trailers passing by as we leave.
Gasolina Espresso and Kitchen
1/226 Rocky Point Road, Ramsgate, 9583 2858
THE PICKS ITALIAN BREAKFAST BOARD; NUTELLA FRAPPE
THE COFFEE THE GROUNDS OF ALEXANDRIA
THE LOOK MODERN RUSTIC
THE SERVICE CHATTY AND ATTENTIVE.
THE VALUE VERY GOOD. BREAKFAST, $5-$18