1 Bells Rd Oatlands, NSW 2117
|Opening hours||Tue-Fri 7am-3pm; Sat-Sun 8am-3pm|
|Prices||Cheap (mains under $20)|
|Phone||02 9684 6221|
In my suburban childhood, the closest thing to a "social" was a bowling club gathering with nuggets, chips and a soundtrack of songs about jumping (Van Halen and the Pointer Sisters).
I loved that then, but now The Bells Road Social's version has the edge. For starters: coffee.
Established by husband-and-wife Melissa and Daniel Farr – who previously ran long-time Beecroft favourite Long Shot – Bells Road has fast become Oatlands' claim to fame. The bright corner spot overlooks a playground with bushland backdrop – a bit of a holy grail combo for cafe-loving parents.
The spacious cafe seats about 60 and looks smart with honey-coloured timber tables and chairs, polished concrete floors, clean white walls, black-framed windows and touches of pale blue and grey. Deeper into the cafe, a large service area looks busy by comparison, with a display of wooden chopping boards against a whitewashed brick wall, patchwork tile feature and drink and cake display cabinets.
A small balcony area is prime position for parents with its bird's-eye view of the playground across a quiet laneway (or better still, there are picnic blankets to borrow, and food can be delivered to the park). Kid-free groups get comfy on the brown leather banquette seating away from the windows.
The menus cover a lot of ground, with separate selections for breakfast (until noon) and lunch (from noon) – both filled with crowd-pleasers: eggs benny, dukkah eggs, (very) big brekkies in the AM, leading into vegie salads, fish and chips, burgers and a pasta dish. There are separate kids' menus, too. It's unlikely anyone would complain if the number of options was reduced and made available all day.
The common thread is lots of colour, as in the brekkie crumble – a vibrant mix of blueberries and melon balls (watermelon, honeydew and rockmelon), oat, pistachio and cashew crumble, vanilla mascarpone topped with toasted shredded coconut.
Among the lunch options, the popular lamb and haloumi on Brasserie Bread's rye gets its pop of colour from shredded beetroot and carrot, and a thatch of rocket, while a grilled chicken burger hits the spot with its soft milk bun, fennel slaw and salsa verde, and chips seasoned with a house-made spice mix (onion and garlic powders, smoky paprika, chilli and more). The food doesn't push any boundaries, but it's fresh and flavourful.
Morgan's Coffee Roasters supply the beans, with the Fusion blend used for milk coffees, and a single origin by request for black. An espresso made with washed processed India Ratnagiri Peaberry is full-bodied and robust. The Clever Coffee Dripper is used for filter, and the option of cold drip is added in warmer months. There's also Sticky Chai, Zokoko hot chocolates, smoothies, kombucha and more. For the kids: larger-than-average babycinos ($2) and kid-sized milkshakes ($3.50).
No alcohol – it's not that kind of "social".
The Bells Road Social
Avo factor Smashed on sourdough with rocket, thickly sliced tomato, feta and zaatar, $15.50
Caffe latte $3.50
Loving The beautiful park outlook and bright interior.
Not getting Lengthy separate brekkie and lunch menus seem more work for the kitchen than it's worth.
Overheard "A strong babycino please."