Gamon and egg toastie at Little Lord in Camperdown. Photo: Michele Mossop
It's not great when your husband catches you staring at the barista.
We are in Little Lord in Camperdown, and in my defence I was actually looking at the back of his Young Henry's T-shirt. But I do concede that Graeme Alexander, who owns the cafe with his wife Jax, has astoundingly clear blue eyes ...
Now, where were we? Ah, Camperdown. There aren't a whole lot of cafes in this neck of the inner west, most preferring to crowd around Enmore and Newtown, but Little Lord has been pumping since it opened mid-December in the old Pigeon Ground Records and Clothing shop.
The food at Little Lord is worth the wait. Photo: Michele Mossop
It wears its inner west pride on its sleeve: the coffee is from Sample (roasted in St Peters), the bread is by Two Chaps (Marrickville) and the meat and eggs are from Feather and Bone (Marrickville).
With Pigeon Ground's vintage records, clothing and knick-knacks packed off to Manly, the shop has been revealed as a bright, light little space.
A nanna-brown table and sideboard sit up the back, with vinyl chairs and a sofa. A collection of board games, including Mastermind, The Alf Game and the Twiggy Game, are perched invitingly on the shelves.
The crowning glory: homemade rocky road. Photo: Michele Mossop
Think Grandma's lounge room minus the lace doilies, thick floral carpet and TV in the corner blaring The Price Is Right and you're almost there.
Tempting as the board games are (who wouldn't want to roll the dice on Twiggy's swinging '60s London style?), the food's the main game.
A small menu covers the day, from basic toast with a choice of spreads, to apple and cranberry granola, poached eggs and toast with sides such as leg ham and ajvar, avocado and herb ricotta, or field mushroom, and a seasonal salad with apple, walnuts and celery.
Husband and I lock eyes over the three-cheese toastie ($10) – aged cheddar, bocconcini and grana padano on a brioche loaf. He protests that due to my flexitarianism (ie no red meat – mostly), I can't experience the toastie at full throttle, with spicy salami and passata added for an extra $5. I back away gracefully and plump for the gammon and poached egg toastie with pineapple relish, though flexitarianism dictates that the gammon is swapped for a field mushroom.
After ordering at the counter, it doesn't take long for our drinks to arrive – a French Earl Grey iced tea for me and a Sample Coffee latte for husband, which again comes with Nanna's touch: a Bowral Tulip Time souvenir teaspoon.
While the drinks are quick, the food is slower, owing to the fact it's put together in the world's smallest kitchen behind the counter (technically, it's called a bench). Fortunately, it's worth the wait.
The pineapple relish on my toastie is tart but not overwhelming, a good balance to the egg and mushroom, while husband's thick toastie oozes with cheese and sweet, rich passata. Nuggets of salami add a good spicy finish to a cheesy wonder.
Both dishes are small but satisfying and leave enough room for the crowning glory we've been eyeing off on the bench since we walked in: rocky road.
Another coffee for husband, an orange juice for me (they also stock Capi sodas) and an enormous slab of rocky road. Packed with honeycomb, cherries, rice crispies and marshmallows slathered in milk chocolate, it's to die for.
It's probably not what Twiggy would have ordered, but she can get back in her box.
102 Salisbury Road, Camperdown
Tue-Fri, 7am-3pm; Sat-Sun, 8am-3pm
Three-cheese toastie with spicy salami and passata ($15); whatever is under the old wire cake cover
Bright and light with retro furniture and board games
Friendly and chatty
Good. The produce is all organic or ethically sourced, which helps explain a $15 toastie