Meet Gerard opened four weeks ago - and it might finally break the curse of ever-rotating cafes that have opened and closed on this corner of Alexandria.
There's a good team behind it - Mariella Traina used to run The Counter in Petersham and Sarah McWilliam was head chef at Marrickville's West Juliett - and the menu definitely has its own spin.
Sure, there's the ever-present avocado on toast ($13), but don't expect the kitchen to simply "smash" some avo onto crusty bread and add a hefty mark-up. Meet Gerard's version has house-pickled chilli "which adds a beautiful hum to the whole dish", says McWilliam, and yuzu-toasted sesame seeds, which gives a citrus-spiked pop to the feta and coriander. You can upsize this with egg and bacon if that's your thing.
Yes, there's a chicken sandwich ($10), but it comes with herbed aioli, rocket and the very unusual-sounding "picnic stuffing" (which isn't just a hastily-rolled blanket shoved into a basket, as it turns out).
"The whole sandwich is a play on the classic roast chook you take on a summer picnic and pull apart, with that special yummy breadcrumb-herby stuffing that you just want to eat on its own," says Traina.
Meet Gerard is not afraid to raise the game, by calling its version the "Best Roast Chicken Sandwich Ever".
The menu also talks up its 'Milk & Honey' dish ($15) as "a breakfast story by Meet Gerard". It's tricky to work out how the yoghurt panna cotta with honeyed puffed rice, house-made granola and berries contains a plot and narrative, but it is a throwback to the first dish McWilliam learnt to make.
So, who exactly is Gerard?
"We named the cafe Meet Gerard because it's at the corner of Henderson and Gerard Street, but also because it's designed to be a meeting place for customers, and it's a meeting of us," says Traina.
"Gerard is whoever you want him to be!" adds McWilliam. " We've got a few different pics of what Gerard looks like to us, but the only constant for sure is that we know he smells like coffee and cake."
Open Mon-Sat, 7am-4pm
54 Henderson Road, Alexandria, 02 8021 7211, meetgerard.com.au