Heart Cafe Bondi, where the feelgood runs high

Cacao and puffed quinoa granola at Heart Cafe.
Cacao and puffed quinoa granola at Heart Cafe. Photo: Louise Kennerley

 

Coffee already makes you feel good. So how good would coffee at Heart, a social enterprise cafe run by The Wayside Chapel, make you feel? Off the charts, obviously, knowing that your money was going to Wayside's new Wingspan initiative, a training program that helps turn vulnerable young people into work-ready baristas and front-of-house staff. And that just by being there, you're endorsing Wayside's unconditional love, care and support for people on and around the streets of Sydney since 1964. Damn, that feels good.

Space

Putting the heart back into coffee.
Putting the heart back into coffee. Photo: Louise Kennerley

Heart Cafe is almost supernaturally light and bright, slap-bang on one of the best corner sites in Bondi. It's a big, open-hearted room, dripping with greenery, with windows on both sides of the corner lined with Bondi-gorgeous young things perched on skinny stools.

Interior designer Grant Cheyne, stylist Jason Grant, and Jason Chongue​ from The Plant Society pooled their talents to come up with the pitch-perfect boho-beachhouse look. Wooden tables and benches are repurposed and weather-beaten, some set with jars of coloured pencils for kids.

I'm here before the Wayside Chapel's Wingspan training program kicks in, and at this stage, staff offer the same sweetly hopeless service common across most Bondi cafes.

Heart Cafe Bondi is a big, open-hearted room, dripping with greenery.
Heart Cafe Bondi is a big, open-hearted room, dripping with greenery. Photo: Louise Kennerley

Food

Breakfasts are healthy granolas of puffed quinoa, nuts, chia seeds, shredded coconut, cacao, yoghurt and berries ($14) and zucchini corn fritters ($15) with avocado and haloumi. It's all bacon-free, except for one "traditional" breakfast ($16) of poached eggs, bacon and roasted tommies on sourdough, with, weirdly, Adriatic roast potatoes.

Because breakfast runs all day, the Middle Eastern breakfast ($16) multi-tasks as a great lunch, with its colourful spread of poached eggs, super-smoky baba ghanoush, haloumi, roast capsicum, Turkish ezme salsa, and sourdough toast courtesy of social enterprise baker The Bread & Butter Project.

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Plus, there are croissants ($5), Heart rolls of chicken, chorizo or vegetables (from $10), a seared-tuna bowl with quinoa and brown rice, crunchy with toasted nuts and seeds ($15), and even twice-cooked pork belly with glazed dutch carrots and romesco sauce ($18). A new dessert menu lands later in February; until then, there's the odd pastry or chocolate brownie.

Coffee

Gun specialty roaster Gypsy Espresso delivers its classic three-bean house blend – Colombian, Brazilian and Costa Rica – in a smooth, rich, full-bodied coffee that tastes like a toasty chocolate almond croissant with a little berry tang on the dismount. You can choose Sungold jersey, Bonsoy, Milk Lab Almond Milk or Macamilk – because, Bondi. And because, 2019.

Seared-tuna bowl with quinoa and brown rice, crunchy with toasted nuts and seeds.
Seared-tuna bowl with quinoa and brown rice, crunchy with toasted nuts and seeds. Photo: Louise Kennerley

Drinks

No booze (steady on, there's a Chapel upstairs), but plenty of probiotic beverages such as Lo Bros kombucha, smoothies and organic coconut water for the locals; milk shakes for the kids, and restorative Tea Craft teas.

Heart Cafe Bondi

Address 95 Roscoe Street, Bondi, 02 9581 9150, heartcafe.com.au

Open Daily 7am-4pm

Loving How chef Pascale Rose uses vegetables and herbs from the Wayside's own Bondi Beach garden.

Not getting People who stay on their laptop using the free Wi-Fi for the price of a single cup of coffee. For an hour and a half. In a social enterprise cafe. Move on, people, and free up that table. Consider it a donation.

Vegan factor More vegetarian than vegan, but very flexy.

Overheard "I'll never finish all this chicken, it's enormous."

Caffe latte $3.50