14 February 2012

Circa Espresso: Coffee café, Parramatta (12 Feb 2012)

21 Wentworth Street, Parramatta NSW 2150

Parra-does-matta café

Forgive me if I'm wrong but it seems aliens have transported a rustic Melbourne laneway cafe into the outskirts of Parramatta central. Circa seems to have picked up some social media interest of late to the annoyance of the locals that probably wanted to keep it all to themselves — too bad. I first noticed it mentioned on a tweet by The Heart of Food and not long after I had the impression Adam Dunn might have taken up residence to eat his way through the menu, perhaps he actually did. Upon arrival I had to first decide on my preferred spot to sit which I likened to deciding on the lesser of the two evils. Inside was noticeably noisy due to the coffee machine in a very confined space but was covered and outside had the unshaded protection from the hot sun which also had the added attraction of flies trying to share your food — we chose the later with a baby on board. If you're young and hip you won't notice the uncomfortable nature of sitting on a crate with tiny tables that made me feel like I was sitting at a kids tea party. But I guess this has all helped to keep the menu costs down to keep you coming back for more.

With the hope of a good coffee the Cappuccino ($3.50) was well-liked for its smoothness and medium roasty flavour and their latte art rosettas just as impressive as Cafe Ish. The Banana bread with house passion fruit butter ($6) came with ridiculously thick slices to easily share between two if not more. One of the favourite dishes of the day was the Baked eggs with sujuk, danish feta, tomato and hint of chilli served in the pan ($13) with good flavours. A bit of butter on the side for the toast might have been nice too. The Portobello mushrooms, danish fetta, basil pesto, caramilised onion and baby spinach ($8) was also good but more awkward to share. My main reason for visiting was to try the French toast with poached rhubarb, labne & pistachio ($13) with flavours that worked well together on the thick slices. I didn't mind the saltiness in the labne in moderation. The Breakfast wrap ($8) was probably our least liked dish. Maybe it was the thickness of the wrap that didn't appeal to me, making it harder to appreciate the contents. My Affogato ($5) was satisfying but would have been even better with a smoother and richer flavoured vanilla bean ice cream like at Cafe Sopra and Jamie's Italian. The Honey Soaked Chai with bonsoy ($4.50) was enjoyable for those who like a bit of spice. I like how they've served it with Turkish glasses and a heavy tea pot. Hopefully I'll have a chance to revisit to try other reasonably priced menu items.

PROS: Reasonably priced menu that tastes pretty good, Seem to make good coffee with nice rosettas
CONS: Low level seating and small tables can be awkward and uncomfortable, Seems very noisy and rather squashed inside, Limited shade outside, Watch out for flies and rain outside, Limited street parking nearby
MUST TRY: Baked eggs with sujuk, Portobello mushrooms, Coffee
BABY ON BOARD: No room to fit a pram inside and toilet too small for changing a nappy

Sydney tap water, Phoenix Organic Cola ($3.50)

Cappuccino ($3.50)


Banana bread with house passion fruit butter ($6)

Baked eggs with sujuk, danish feta, tomato and hint of chilli served in the pan ($13)

Portobello mushrooms, danish fetta, basil pesto, caramilised [caramelised] onion and baby spinach on sourdough toast ($8)

French toast with poached rhubarb, labne & pistachio ($13)

Breakfast wrap - scrambled egg, chilli jam and baby spinach ($8)

Affogato ($5)

Honey Soaked Chai - Freshly crushed spices steeped with breakfast loose leaf tea; your choice of milk but we recommend with bonsoy ($4.50)

Baby bottle on board with affogato and Honey Soaked Chai

Watch out for flies when outside, they like the food too — little bastards!


Tony the owner and barista

Seating inside

Back room

Coffee bag seating


Cake and bread display

Laura sparkling beverages

Wall decor

Head out the back for the toilet


gaby @ lateraleating said...

Great-looking food. The banana bread looks a bit "supermarket-bought" but I like the idea of passionfruit butter on top (without the fly, of course).

cherrypix said...

The banana bread and baked eggs look amazing, personally I don't mind noisy cafe's, but I don't have a little one :-) I feel like going there right now!

Ashley said...

Wow I would have never thought such a place existed outside Surry Hills and Newtown, let alone Parra! The cupcakes look gorgeous and I'm a sucker for banana bread, although I'm just a classic butter-on-bread type of girl. How did the sweet&sourness go with the banana bread?

Simon Leong said...

hi gaby, if you go you'll have to ask them if bought in or baked homemade. flies give the protein but can't have too many of them ;-)

hi cherrypix, it's all very different with a little one that's for sure. hard to relax when you're thinking they're going to wake any minute. let me know if you go and what you try.

hi ashley, the passion fruit butter worked OK on the banana bread but like you i'm more a plain butter on toasted banana bread.

Miss Kimbers said...

The banana bread with the passionfruit butter looks so good. I also like the idea of serving the eggs in the frypan; saving water:)
This looks like a nice cosy place. Too bad there are no places like this near me.

Simon Leong said...

hi Miss Kimbers, Revolver cafe do a baked eggs in a pan too http://simonfoodfavourites.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/revolver-cafe-cafe-annandale-13-aug.html

muppy said...

I seriously love Circa, a great place for coffee so close to home! Yay! We too have young children and yes we never take the stroller, fortunately tony is very sweet to the kids and even takes special requests from my daughter such as strawberries on toast with honey!

Simon Leong said...

hi muppy, sounds like your daughter has a Signature Dish to put on the menu perhaps?

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