76 Mitchell Rd Alexandria, NSW 2015
|Opening hours||Daily 7am-4pm|
|Prices||Cheap (mains under $20)|
|Phone||02 9319 2826|
You go to see the gypsy to get your fortune told, right? Funny that. Because when I went to see Went to See the Gypsy, I saw the future. I saw a coffee counter like a cocktail bar, with no bulky espresso machines on the counter for baristas to hide behind.
I saw the Modbar AV espresso tap system; the rearing heads of its two steam arms and four espresso taps lined up like trophies on the long, bare, white counter, with all the "working bits" – power requirements, plumbing, drainage, and water treatment – hidden below.
The Gypsy is the big brother (like, 220-square-metres big) to Potts Point's cosy little Gypsy Espresso, founded by Mario Szucs and Will Smallbone with the aim of future-proofing the coffee-driven cafe.
I have no crystal ball, but I foresee queues at peak hour, busy and slightly impersonal waitstaff, and lots of colourful, 'grammable food.
This is one of the busiest corners in Alexandria – and that's on the inside. Designed by Guru Projects, the broad, blond expanse of wood, wicker, straw and granite is blessed with windows running down two walls; white orb pendant lights dropping from the raw industrial ceiling like gypsies' crystal balls.
What was an antique centre filled with precious relics is now filled with young urbans, eager to wile away a rainy afternoon over toasted banana loaf with bruleed banana and coconut milk sorbet.
It's all very Millennial, from kombucha, pandan and chia bircher with almond milk for breakfast, to chicken katsu milk bun with shaved cabbage and a sweetish kimchi mayo for lunch.
The Romanian lunch bowl ($14) is cheery and satisfying, although it feels more Alexandrian than Romanian with its roasted rounds of sweet potato, steamed edamame, green beans and sugar snaps, roasted broccolini and a perfect wedge of avocado, all on a grain salad that's nutty with linseeds and sunflower seeds.
But wait, there's more.
Chef Bryan Loong offers sides of roast pork, poached chicken, hot-smoked salmon ($6 each) or vegan macadamia feta ($4) on the side to "beef" it up.
In fact, there is little that isn't amped up. Even brioche french toast ($21) comes with strawberry gelato, mascarpone chantilly, toasted pistachio, Persian fairy floss, summer berries and white chocolate crumb. For breakfast.
The house blend is Gypsy Espresso's own combination of three South Americans, pleasingly sweet but not too sweet and full-bodied enough so that you can still register the coffee through milk.
The board lists several single origin options that cover the ground from a vibrant, intense Ethiopian washed Wush Wush for the die-hards, to an anaerobic natural Colombian that they say tastes like blackberry cheesecake.
An alcohol licence is a few months off, and will be all about natural wines, local beer on tap, and synergistic cocktails using cascara-infused vermouth, with input from head barista Simon Gautherin.
In the meantime, order a Bob Dylan affogato ($10) of salted pistachio ice-cream and caramelised nuts with a double espresso pour-over, and you won't even miss the booze.
Loving How the Modbar below-counter espresso tap system puts the barista face-to-face with the coffee-lover.
Not getting Why the lunch menu won't let you #putaneggonit.
Vegan factor Breakfast bowl with steamed greens, quinoa and zucchini loaf; Romanian lunch bowls; and more.
Overheard "Can we order from the kids' menu? I want a soft dippy egg with soldiers."
Caffe latte $4