Cafe Paramount Coffee Project

80 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills, Australia

Caf? Paramount Coffee Project: Challenging traditional coffee conventions.
Cafe Paramount Coffee Project: Challenging traditional coffee conventions. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Jill Dupleix

Time was, a project was something you did at school. Now it's somewhere you go for coffee. By tagging your business ''project'', you're telling the world it's a collaboration, a co-op, a work in progress. The Paramount Coffee Project, an alliance between coffee pioneer Mark Dundon of Melbourne's Seven Seeds and Russell Beard of Reuben Hills, is all these things and more.

They could have just agreed on a house blend, but that would have been too easy. Instead, they've shaken up the whole dang thing with a constant rotation of guest coffee roasters and residencies, sending small batches of ethically sourced beans to several different Australian roasters and serving their different interpretations of the same coffee side by side as both espresso and filter. It makes for an instant coffee masterclass in a cup. A single estate Colombian coffee in a piccolo tastes bright and clean, with subdued acidity and aftertaste. A week later, and the coffee is an organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe from the Konga Co-operative; delicately citrussy and as fragrant as jasmine tea. Don't come here if you need a punchy dark-roast coffee, in other words; but do come if you're up for something new and nuanced.

The separate espresso and filter bars and the almost Amish details - white tiles, concrete floors, pinafore'd young staff, communal tables - are held together by the corseted Art Deco bones and soaring ceilings of Paramount House, home to the deliciously restored Golden Age Cinema.

Dish of choice: Sweet waffle, peanut butter ice-cream, dulce de leche  and hazelnut.
Dish of choice: Sweet waffle, peanut butter ice-cream, dulce de leche and hazelnut. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Chef Brett Barbuto's rollicking menu has an American vibe, from double-fried chicken and softshell crab po'boy to a burrito-like arollada. It's hipster food, workshopping melted cheddar, hot dogs, kale, milk buns, peanut butter and jelly milkshakes, potato crisps, avocado and dill pickles. A sharply acidic dressing takes the fun out of a bowl salad of chopped poached chicken, grapes, walnuts and buffalo mozzarella, and there's something a bit weird about eating fried eggs with waffles, even with thick-cut bacon and lemony guacamole. The people's vote (those people I'm with, at least) goes to the giant sweet waffle with peanut butter ice-cream, dulce de leche and hazelnut instead.

But the food's not necessarily the thing here. It's the bravery, creativity, coolness, the beautiful collaborative space, and the challenge thrown to those with a fixed idea of what coffee should be. That's the real project.

THE LOW-DOWN

Do … share a table, not just a wireless hotspot.

Don't … have your usual. Try something new.

Dish … Sweet waffle, peanut butter ice-cream, dulce de leche and hazelnut.

Vibe … Creative, collaborative, cool.

Rate this restaurant

Rate this restaurant:

Use [left] and [right] keys to rate, [enter] to submit, [esc] to cancel.

Rate this restaurant with 0.5 a star Rate this restaurant with 1 star Rate this restaurant with 1.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 2 stars Rate this restaurant with 2.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 3 stars Rate this restaurant with 3.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 4 stars Rate this restaurant with 4.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 5 stars

Write a review

Thanks for voting!

Write a review

80 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills, Australia

  • Cuisine - Modern Australian
  • Prices - Breakfast $7-15, Lunch $10-$18, Coffee $4.
  • Features - Outdoor seating, Vegetarian friendly, Gluten-free options
  • Chef(s) - Brett Barbuto
  • Owners - Mark Dundon, Russell Beard
  • Opening Hours - Mon-Sat 7am-4pm, Sun 8am-4pm
  • Author - Jill Dupleix
Close map

Similar Cafes

Brewtown Newtown

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Reader ratings (99)

Comments

Be the first to comment.

Make a comment

You are logged in as [Logout]

All information entered below may be published.

Error: Please enter your screen name.

Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Please enter your comment.

Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

Post to

You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

Thank you

Your comment has been submitted for approval.

Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

Most viewed restaurants in Sydney

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Melbourne

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Brisbane

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Canberra

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Promotions

Rabbit Ranch is offering readers the chance to win one of five mixed cases of their wines.