23-29 Addison Rd Marrickville, NSW 2204
|Opening hours||Mon-Sun 7am-4pm|
|Features||Cheap and cheerful, Family friendly|
|Prices||Cheap (mains under $20)|
In a world in which we're always on and always connected, going to a matinee is a strangely liberating act of surrender to whatever might happen. Like a cafe, it's a daytime show, whisking you off the street and into a parallel universe full of action, drama and humanity, where, for a short time, you are part of a larger whole.
And so it is, at Matinee Coffee, down the Coffee Alchemy end of Addison Street, Marrickville. In his post-Brewtown-Newtown phase, cafe industry stalwart Charles Cameron has opened the cafe of his dreams, open all day, every day.
The lively dynamic comes from openness to the street, the visible wall of graffiti across the laneway, and the theatrical cast of people that wander in, from young mums with wagon-trains of prams to girls huddled over coffee and homework.
It even looks like the foyer of one of those gorgeous old cinemas that once stood proudly on every main street. But instead of glass cabinets stacked with fading boxes of chocolates, design team Luchetti Krelle has made the dog-leg space bright, bold, fresh and graphic.
One muralled wall references Soviet-style film poster art, another holds an illuminated menu like the Coming Attractions sign of yore. The long broad sweep of the counter is filled with promise (and lemon meringue tarts), overhung with the most perfect pendant lights and backed by glossy white tiles. I'm expecting an usherette to pop by any minute with a tray of Eskimo Pies.
Bread is from Thoroughbread Bakery in Kirrawee, eggs from Newlay in South Coogee, butter is cultured and orange juice freshly squeezed. In the long kitchen, former Brewtown Newtown chef Michael Smith hot-smokes salmon, rolls out saffron pasta, and fries popcorn chicken as a side.
His breakfast burger ($14) is a right handful, stuffed with a crunchy golden slab of hash browns, fried egg and thick, streaky bourbon bacon that feels naughty before the sun is over the yardarm.
A big bowl of Persian rice kedgeree ($15) is like a security blanket, the golden rice studded with currants and shaved almonds, splodged with goat's feta and topped with runny poached eggs. The tight menu has fancier lunch options but is still not above offering you a humble plate of eggs on toast at any time of day, which is just how we like our cafes.
Pastry chef Clarissa Capriati of Bennelong turns out small chocolate and hemp brownies ($7.50) that taste too healthy for their own good, and the cutest lemon meringue tarts ($7) that are miraculously gluten-free and vegan.
Beans are roasted at coffee co-op Collective Roasting Solutions using a three-part blend of Colombian, Guatemalan and Ethiopian that Cameron swears makes it taste like Neapolitan ice-cream – chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. A piccolo is smooth and almondy with a bitter edge, and there's a rotating menu of single-origin beans for filter coffee.
The light and refreshing Grifter Pale Ale ($6) is from "just around the corner" if you're concerned about beer miles, and the wine list has just two wines – the Delinquente vermentino and Ephemera sauvignon blanc for $10 glass. So this is what the world has come to: vegans and coeliacs treated like princesses, and red wine drinkers cast out like pariahs. Hmmph.
Avo factor Available smashed, with lemon, as a side for $6.
Caffe latte $4.
Loving The 16-seat communal table with its glossy cranberry tiles and green velvet seats.
Not getting Why all the sweet things have to be gluten-free and vegan. Are all the people?
Overheard "How do they get those hash browns so damn crunchy?"
Score 2 cups Food 7/10, Coffee 4/5, Experience 4/5