Shop 4, 68 Gladesville Road Hunters Hill, New South Wales 2110
|Opening hours||Mon-Fri, 6.30am-4pm; Sat, 7am-4pm; Sun, 8am-4pm (kitchen closes 3pm)|
|Prices||Moderate (mains $20-$40)|
|Phone||02 9879 4619|
"Come. Sit. Stay." It's more an inviting request than a command, and it's directed at you, not your dog, though he's welcome too.
Dachshund Coffee, which opened in Hunters Hill a few months ago, has the name and a profile of one of those long-bellied hounds on its logo. Some cute menu items include the terrific Spanish Dog, but that's where the dog associations end - no puppycinos, no homemade gourmet dog biscuits on the menu. The owners - twin brothers Matt and Alex Williams, and business partner and lifelong friend Rob Stein, who previously worked together for Sydney roaster Pablo and Rusty's - simply wanted a name with personality that had nothing to do with coffee. "Something we could make our own," as Matt explains.
When we arrive on a Saturday morning, the cafe is almost full. The location, at the opening of a little arcade next to the Hunters Hill Hotel on Gladesville Road, means it's very noisy, as rumbling buses pull up at a stop just outside. What sounds like someone's iPod on shuffle is tossing out random pop, Yothu Yindi followed by The Kinks, but the noise doesn't seem to deter anyone. Families occupy most of the tables; there's space for prams and dogs. Groups with small kids sit in the arcade, where a tiny picnic table offers a jar of colour pencils.
Inside, the atmosphere is a little calmer. Bunches of native flowers sit on a large communal table and a long bar is framed by copper piping. One wall is lined with gorgeous tiles in different shades of sea green.
The menu ranges from the simple (brekkie roll with haloumi, eggs, house-smoked bacon and greens, Bircher muesli with poached fruit and natural yoghurt) to large, substantial variations on the grains-and-greens-topped-with-an-egg theme. It also points to the kitchen's use of good-quality local eggs and milk and devotes a page each to coffee and tea. Kids can choose from a junior jaffle with ham and cheese, bacon and egg on toast or (please mum and dad!) Nutella jaffle with banana.
Reformed Avocado is a slice of thick sourdough toast piled with quinoa and tabbouleh with creamy goat's feta, tiny, perfectly ripe tomatoes and crushed avocado, optional poached egg (though it's highly advisable) and crispy, salty, fried sage leaves. With the crunchy herbs and quinoa, silky egg and the richness of the cheese and avocado, it's vibrant and well-balanced.
Kumara hotcakes, meanwhile, are a smoky-clean contrast: three soft kumara hotcakes blackened on the grill with a chipotle mayonnaise on red cabbage, quinoa, braised kale and tomatoes, a poached egg again proving it's a rare dish that's not improved by the addition of a perfectly cooked egg.
Meanwhile, the Spanish Dog is passed around our table. The consensus is that a deliciously messy mix of chickpeas and corn with grilled slices of smoky chorizo, crushed avocado, herbs and crumbled corn chips (and, of course, a poached egg) is a winning combination. It's so substantial the toasted ciabatta it comes with isn't needed. The optional addition of double-smoked bacon probably isn't either, but we have no regrets.
There's a strong focus on coffee, supplied by local roasters Fat Poppy. A house blend of single-origin Brazilian and Ethiopian beans produces sweet and chocolatey milk coffees. Black coffee is made with a single origin bean of the week, and arrives with an explanation of the chosen bean and a small glass of sparkling water. The obligatory kale smoothie is made with almond milk, nut butter and honey, salted chocolate and peanut butter milkshakes come in kids' and grown-up sizes, and Sydney's Tea Craft supplies the loose leaves.
The good people of Hunters Hill have suffered enough lately, their suburb overexposed in the press as journalists descend on the home of notorious local Eddie Obeid each time the ICAC saga develops another twist. It's about time they were thrown a treat like this.
THE LOW DOWN
Kumara hotcakes, Spanish Dog
Fat Poppy blend of single-origin beans for white coffee; weekly single-origin bean for black coffee; filter coffee available
Friendly, everyone-is-a-local style
Good. Breakfast $6.50-$19.50