26 Bourke Road Alexandria, New South Wales 2015
|Opening hours||Daily, 7am-3pm|
|Prices||Moderate (mains $20-$40)|
|Chef||Ben Abiad and Adriana Ortato|
|Phone||02 9698 8448|
The battle's on between Sydney cafes out-industro-ing each other. The more car-yardy the better. Surrounded by abandoned factory machinery and busted up neon signs? Perfection.
So Mecca has opened in Alexandria smack bang in the middle of a bunch of car shops and the Mitchell Road Auction House (go for the coffee, stay for the rocket lamps). That means you get this interesting mingle of smells - there's the tantalising promise of bargains, petrol fumes and coffee thanks to the roastery out the back where Cam Stephens (ex-Wedge Espresso) is cooking up beans and making them toasty.
Up the front in the old factory warehouse, chevron floor tiles, large communal wooden tables with hairpin legs and about a thousand succulents tick all the "yup, I'm in a Sydney cafe circa 2015" boxes, in the best possible way.
As do the snacks. Ben Abiad and Adriana Ortato are behind the menu here. The pair did time at Brickfields, Love Tilly Devine and Cornersmith and it's reflected in the menu. Check that brisket sandwich with anchovy mayonnaise on a Brickfields bun, embedded with caraway seeds. It's not quite as delicious as the OG at Brickfields, admittedly (the slow cooked beef is a little woolly) but the idea is sound.
This is big lunch stuff. Juicy roast pork and big ribs of crisp crackling, lentils, broken up with a sort of light sauerkraut mixed with thin slices of apple. And depending which side of the scales you're tipping, you could either go for a healthful soup of "bone broth" (gah - I will never stop being irritated by this), sprouts, pickles, kale, parsley, fresh cheese, raw shaved fennel, enriched with a poached egg. Or go full tilt boogie with the Korean-esque fried chicken burger on a soft bun with kimchi and mayonnaise. Phwoar.
Heart still beating? The caramel tart with chocolate ganache with a dusty powdered chocolate top is a sweet post-lunch punch in the kisser.
As you'd expect from Mecca owner Paul Geshos and company (the other Mecca cafes in the CBD and Ultimo pump out some of the best coffee in the city), the beverages here are exceptional, from your regular garden variety flat whites to their "feature coffees" ("We source and roast coffees that are clear expressions of their terroir"). There's also a keffir spritz: a fermented probiotic fizzing soda thing with orange and date. It's a bit like really fizzy, bitter Orangina.
Their booze licence is on the way, too. Imagine all the drunken antiques purchases to be made after lunch. Who says you don't need another 100-year-old lathe?
Pro tip Check out the desserts on the counter. And order a cookie as big as your face.
Try this There are only a few weeks of cool weather left - order the roast pork with lentils and pickles while you can.