Two Good Co Cafe review

Cakes and sweets are displayed on a mirrored plinth.
Cakes and sweets are displayed on a mirrored plinth. Photo: Flavio Brancaleone

262 Liverpool St Darlinghurst, NSW 2010

View map

Opening hours Mon-Fri 7am-3pm
Features Outdoor seating

When you arrive at Two Good Co Cafe, housed at Yirranma Place in a 1927 heritage-listed former church, a smiling concierge approaches on the front steps with a cheery welcome.

"Hello," she says. "Come on in. How have you been?"

Cafe customers are not usually met before entering, and then offered, as our gracious guide, or "Goodcierge", does, an explanation of the building's history, the current inhabitants' purpose and the various permanent and temporary art works on display.

Chocolate cookies and coffee.
Chocolate cookies and coffee. Photo: Flavio Brancaleone

This is because Two Good Co Cafe, tucked inside the former Church of Christ Scientist site, is more than a place to eat luscious orange and olive oil cake, sup Kua coffee from speckled earthenware ceramics or sample a cauliflower cheese toastie created by Three Blue Ducks chef and co-owner Darren Robertson.

Part of Two Good Co, a multifaceted social enterprise established by former engineer Rob Caslick, the cafe is one strand of many parts. Starting with a soup kitchen at St Canice's in Kings Cross founded in 2010, Caslick's drive to help others has developed into a wide-ranging organisation which supports, empowers and employs women who have experienced, or are at risk of, homelessness, domestic violence and complex trauma.

Yirranma Place, which roughly translates as "place of many creations", is a philanthropic hub led by the Paul Ramsay Foundation. Housing social enterprises and non-profit and advocacy groups, it features Two Good Co's first cafe outlet.

Darren Robertson's cauliflower cheese toastie.
Darren Robertson's cauliflower cheese toastie. Photo: Flavio Brancaleone

Our "Goodcierge" explains Barkandji artist and Elder Uncle Badger (William Brian) Bates's forged iron gates, three intricate three-metre-high panels fronting the portico and telling stories of the Dreamtime. We hear about his ceiling mural above, depicting the Emu in the Sky, and view an interactive digital installation exploring 100 years of Darlinghurst.

Next is the cafe. Designed by SJB Architects, it's a wondrous space. A hugely tall ceiling holds artist and Quandamooka woman Elisa Jane Carmichael's suspended sculpture of woven dusky orange discs.

A tall curved-top window framing sky, trees and the Art Deco apartments opposite, spills light on staff beavering away below. The cafe's small open space means their coffee-making and delivering of tarts, cakes, biscuits, salads and toasties has a shared feel. Conversations start with customers about ingredients and recipes like we're dining together.

The social enterprise cafe is part of Yirranma Place.
The social enterprise cafe is part of Yirranma Place. Photo: Flavio Brancaleone

Shelves feature Two Good Co products, including skincare, candles, muesli, granola and a cookbook, and Black Cede citrus salt and granola.

The menu, which ranges from coconut chia pudding to bacon and eggs on a potato bun, soup of the day, fresh cut sandwiches and a chilli and maple-baked pumpkin salad, is prepared in a kitchen further back in the building, staffed partly by graduates of Two Good Co's training programs.

Here at Two Good Co the cakes, tart and biscuits are out and proud, displayed triumphantly on a central mirrored plinth like trophies of handmade baked goods.

Italian sausage, pear, lentil and watercress salad.
Italian sausage, pear, lentil and watercress salad. Photo: Flavio Brancaleone

It is all I can do not to ravage this laden-plate spectacle, particularly the the daily tart featuring sweet potato, warrigal greens, goat's cheese and caramelised onions.

Instead our "Goodcierge" suggests sitting on the marble banquette, upholstered with peach-hued padding and lining one wall. This allows time to play funhouse mirrors with the central plinth's elongating reflection. But, be warned. Anyone sitting close to the huge wooden doors nearby will be thumped by their swift automated opening.

Two glorious golden slabs of orange and olive oil cake go in with a good flat white, followed by slices of dark, plump icing-topped banana cake sprinkled with Black Cede's Deadly Medley rich granola.

Tucking into a cauliflower cheese toastie, one of partnering chef Darren Robertson's creations for June and July, reveals a creamy little number oozing tender vegetable spriggets inside Bread and Butter Project seeded bread.

Robertson's other dishes, including a lushly fragrant Italian sausage, pear, lentil and watercress salad, and a whacking great chocolate biscuit, will be followed by menu contributions from cookbook author Belinda Jeffrey in August, and Aria's Matt Moran in September.

Two Good Co cafe is a humbling, beautiful and inspiring place. We sit tracing the wall shadows thrown by Carmichael's gently rotating sculpture as more customers arrive, ready to meet the people working for good all around us.

The low-down

Two Good Co Cafe

Vibe Top-notch nosh from social enterprise Two Good Co in tiny architecturally awing cafe.

Go-to dish Italian sausage, pear, lentil and watercress salad, or orange and olive oil cake.

Insta-worthy dish Daily tart, including the recent sweet potato, warrigal greens, goat's cheese and caramelised onion version.