Busy: Part tourist destination, part cafe, and its cheesy burger is a must. Photo: Edwina Pickles
The word tuckshop doesn't mean what it used to mean. A packet of cheese Twisties and a single-serve Nutella was my school-days tuckshop order of choice. It's a far cry from the chicken and kale salad with lentils, quinoa and avocado, and the Single Origin Roasters coffee at this bright cafe - the Hills area's latest hot spot.
The Tuckshop is a joint venture by the boys from The Baron at Castle Hill and retired Parramatta Eels footballer Nathan Hindmarsh. And it's busy, with seats full and the overspill at the park and kids' playground opposite.
A retro postcard slogan painted above the counter proudly and playfully rebrands Glenhaven as Glenheaven, "where it's far from the city and you couldn't care less". Between this and the crowds, it seems as much a tourist destination as a tuckshop.
"The cheesy" burger with skinny chips is hugely popular. Photo: Edwina Pickles
The No. 1 attraction - apart from being something new with foodie cred in an area with limited options - is The Tuckshop's burgers. ''The cheesy'' is the most sought-after. On a glossy brioche bun, it's cheesy by name and nature, with beef patty, thinly sliced pickles, sweet tomato sauce and mustard, and of course, melted American-style cheese glueing it all together. The burger comes with skinny chips; ours are too crunchy but still addictive thanks to a coating of Old Bay seasoning.
My sister, not at The Tuckshop for the first time, orders the Tradie Roll with fried egg, smoked bacon, extra bacon to replace the hash brown (they'd run out), and house-made smoky barbecue sauce. She decides the roll, with audibly crunchy bacon, would be right up her teenage son's alley. He'd also love a malt milkshake and the cronuts, available cinnamon-coated or sugar-glazed. These croissant-doughnut hybrids come care of Brewtown Newtown and are in on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Before anyone sends out an unhealthy-tuckshop distress signal to Jamie Oliver, remember - there's also that kale salad (with plenty of chicken and a light creaminess), plus freshly squeezed juice, the popular Green Smoothie (coconut water with a fruit-shop-full of leaves and fruits) and a ''Little Tuckers'' meal of fresh fruit and vegie sticks.
Approval was recently granted to open one side of the cafe and expand the outdoor seating area. It's a good move; this is one seriously popular tuckshop - albeit free from Twisties (note: Nutella makes an appearance on the menu).
Do … try The Tuckshop's big brother cafe, the Baron at Castle Hill, too.
Don't … panic if it's full; borrow a rug and picnic at the park opposite.
Dish … the cheesy burger.
Vibe … the cool kid at school in cafe form.
- 02 8850 5549
- Cuisine - Modern Australian
- Prices - All-day breakfast $5-$13; burgers $12-$16; salads $8-$13.
- Features - Outdoor seating, Cheap and cheerful, Family friendly
- Owners - The Baron team and Nathan Hindmarsh
- Opening Hours - Mon-Fri, 6am-5pm, Sat-Sun, 6am-4pm
- Author - Angie Schiavone