5 492 Elizabeth St Surry Hills, NSW 2010
|Opening hours||Mon-Tues, Thu-Fri 7am-3pm, Sat-Sun 8am-4pm|
|Features||Breakfast-brunch, Cheap and cheerful, Family friendly|
|Phone||02 8018 7370|
So who's Mica? That would be Mica Chen, who opened Meet Mica in September because she thought running a cafe would be more interesting than being an accountant.
It is, apparently. Her parents own the building and offered to rent her the site, giving her the chance to work with friend and chef Lee Li, formerly of Tetsuya's and Kensington Street Social.
The on-trend menu is next-gen Asian mash-up in the spirit of Edition Coffee Roasters, Boon Cafe and Cafe Kentaro. "We wanted to bring a greater delicacy to the idea of cafe food," says Mica. "We are inspired by the Japanese ethic of natural simplicity."
It's a simple glass-fronted cafe with sophisticated detail built in by the MarkCo design team, from delicate blondwood tables and honeycomb tiles, to slim copper piping and angular metallic tube lighting. The La Marzocco is powder-coated bridal white with the Mazzer grinder as bridesmaid.
It gets so busy at weekends, you'll need to add yourself to the waitlist app on the iPad at the front counter. This, in spite of lots of staff wandering around seemingly not doing anything.
Toasted croissants spilling over with soft scrambled eggs, crabmeat and corn. Bento boxes of Japanese finger sandwiches served with lotus chips and edamame. Chilled udon noodles with avocado, seaweed and wasabi. If that's too much, stick to the egg and smoky bacon roll with flamed swiss cheese. And if that's not enough, go for the best-selling Insta-magnet that is the matcha french lava toast, a giant green cube speckled with strawberry dust and served with a jug of condensed milk.
The priciest dish, at $28, is lobster congee built on lobster and prawn shell broth with a slow-cooked onsen egg for creaminess, finished with crushed bonito flakes and a flame-grilled lobster tail. It's made with skill but tastes bland. There's more going on in a bowl of fat, swollen, butter-poached barley in a puddle of dashi broth, topped with miso-maple grilled chicken, spinach, shiitake mushrooms, sweetcorn and slow-cooked egg, for $18.
Little Marionette Blend 3.5, aka "Waves Kissing The Shore"; sweet and buttery in espresso, and as silky and nutty as 70 per cent dark chocolate with roasted almonds in a near-perfect piccolo, served in chic-as-hell lipped white porcelain Bevande coffee cups.
Filter V60 and pour-over coffee uses a guest roaster's single origin in a lighter roast – currently Reuben Hills' Guatemalan. Plus Tippity teas, Botanica cold-pressed juice, and house-made drinks that combine tropical juice, turmeric and coconut, or rose black tea, apple and cinnamon.
Avo index: High. There's an art installation of piped avocado and lime puree, heirloom cherry tomato and basil oil on toasted rye, to which you can add smoked salmon, crab salad or poached egg.
Overheard: "This french toast is scary good."
Loving: The American oak and brass group heads on the La Marzocco.
Not getting: Why they close Wednesdays. Who closes Wednesdays?
Caffe latte: $3.50
Score: Two cups (coffee 8/10; food 4 /5; experience 3/5)
How we score: 13-14 = one cup; 15-16 = two cups; 17-20 = three cups