It is with a little unease that I approach Euforia. The name is Italian for euphoria but its use here reminds me of boutiques that talk about ''klass'' instead of class. They're almost always never classy, or even klassy. But in this quieter part of Balmain, perched atop a hill on a corner with views of the Harbour Bridge, sits a perfectly presentable cafe.
The peeling old poster on the wall outside adds character, while inside it's all tonal variations of grey, white and black. The big bay windows let in plenty of natural light. It's worth using your elbows to get a spot on the stools or communal table right by them because it's a bit spare and dim at the tables further away.
The Mecca coffee ($3.30) is very good - robust and smooth - and you can buy bags to take home. But we're even more excited by our Belgian chocolate milkshake. With a dollop of gelato at the bottom, it tastes like a chocolate brownie in a glass. We pass it between us, watching to make sure the other doesn't slurp too much. The teas are by T2, and a fancy-looking bottled water called Antipodes carries the weighty tagline of the ''best water in the world''.
Decadence is on the agenda this bright Sunday morning. Among the usual breakfast choices - porridge, bircher muesli - and the more unusual such as Belgian waffles, are the brunch platters, including smoked salmon and chorizo with all the trimmings. Our American comes with baked beans, bacon, perfectly poached eggs, sauteed mushrooms, tomatoes and a dense, cinnamon-laced waffle with maple syrup ($14). It's entirely excessive and immensely enjoyable. The toasted flatbread egg-and-bacon roll with scrambled egg and tasty chutney is hearty and filling ($8). The staff are attentive and friendly, and my earlier misgivings have been cancelled by a mighty good chocolate milkshake.
Euforia Address 58 Darling Street, Balmain East Open Tue-Fri, 6.30am-3pm; Sat-Sun, 8am-2pm.
- Opening Hours - Open Tues-Fri 6:30am-3pm, Sat & Sun 8am-2pm.
- Author - Annie Stevens