When the train pulls into Artarmon, I almost forget to get off! That says a lot about Artarmon. Yes, it’s on the exclusive lower north shore of Sydney. Yes, it’s only minutes away from Sydney CBD on a quiet day. And yes, it’s only a stop away from the expansive malls and cuisine options of Chatswood, yet Artarmon enigmatically shirks all of that for a village-type atmosphere. It’s almost as time has forgotten this suburb. Up until recently, great coffee hasn’t had the strongest of holds here, but, that’s rapidly changing with a couple of great new cafes that have popped up over the past 2 years. One of those cafes is Salvage Specialty Coffee, which is conveniently located right by the station on the Elizabeth Street exit.
Salvage Specialty Coffee has set up shop on the quieter side of the station. It has brought an energy to the area, that was usually quiet during the day and only sprung into action in the evenings as the Japanese restaurants got going. In keeping with the rustic, village-type atmosphere, Salvage utilises a bunker style setup for the barista and cooks to do their thing, while patrons can bask in the sun on the small tables that fan outwards from the shop front. Be warned though, it can get busy and tables can become a premium, so be prepared for a little wait during peak periods.
Coffee has equal footing at Salvage and to begin with, I try their filter coffee. At present, there’s a lot of love for Ethiopian coffees in Sydney, but here at Salvage it’s a hop across the Atlantic to South America and Bolivia for their filter coffee. I sample their Bolivian Mamani which is roasted by up-and-coming Sydney cafe and roaster Artificer. The aroma is sweet and so is the taste; I get that brown sugar sweetness coming through with very little acidic bite. As any good filter coffee should be, it’s smooth with a tea like finish, with gentle fruity notes. If you have never tried filter coffee I would recommend this Bolivian variety with its amber translucency, and mild flavour; it definitely is not an acquired taste and will go down easily.
I can’t go past tasting the cold drip that sits handsomely across from me. The Salvage Specialty Coffee crew don’t cut corners as the grounded coffee is steeped in cold water for 6-8 hours and then bottled in a small, brown bottle that has the Salvage logo on one side and Salvage’s tongue-in-cheek cold brew serving suggestion on the other. Depending on when you visit, the tumbler will either come with a giant square ice cube (and I mean a symmetrical shaped square!) or a beautiful and smooth cone of ice for you to pour the cold brew over (which I find very unique because most other cafes use regular ice cubes). The flavours of the cold brew are refreshing and fragrant with subtle, smooth, citrus flavours that are delightful to the palate and senses.
On the food front, the quality offerings keep on rolling out. When I first chanced upon Salvage Specialty Coffee, I noticed a Japanese theme running through the menu. Given its proximity to the side-by-side Japanese grocery stores and restaurants, it made sense. Fast forward to today’s visit, and I notice a shift to a European theme that now runs through the menu. There’s nothing more European, than a duck madame. When I think of croque monsieur or croque madame, I think of holidays in Paris. The duck madame is a take on the classic croque madame. Duck is substituted for ham…and what a mighty, fine replacement it is! The confit of duck is just magic – tender, pink, moist and so full of flavour! Each morsel whisks me back to the very best duck I had in Paris. A perfectly poached egg sits on top of the golden toast, and gruyere cheese elevates this little ‘toastie’ into the stratosphere. Suffice to say, after that feast I didn’t eat much for the rest of the day. You will need to keep eye on Salvage’s instagram feed to know when it makes it onto their blackboard special.
With a little encouragement from fellow Coco and Vine foodie Mavis, I sample her creamed corn with Spanish flavs. Continuing on with the European theme, it is another tummy-filling dish of creamed corn, with lashings of Manchego cheese, 2 poached eggs with chorizo crumb, and a chilli salsa. It also comes with a side of 2 slices of seeded, sourdough bread. The presentation of the dish is uniquely Spanish, served in an enamel bowl, which fits in so well with the retro, rustic dining experience at Salvage Speciality Coffee. The flavours of the dish though, are anything but old fashioned! It is creamed corn, jazzed up with heady cheese flavours from the Manchego cheese, and the chilli salsa is sweet with a little kick of heat. Upping the value and yummy factor is 2 perfectly poached and oozy eggs, and when mixed in, provides spoonful upon spoonful of lovely flavours that all work together so harmoniously. Little texture counter notes, like whole corn kernels and the chorizo crumb, are a refined touch.
I round out the experience at Salvage with a cappuccino. For milk coffees, Salvage use an Artificer Blend. The texture is smooth and having had 2 here in the past week, consistently great. I love the mellow flavours, just strong enough, and presented at the perfect temperature. You know a coffee is served at the right temperature, as it is gone before you know it! Salvage don’t sprinkle their caps with chocolate but the fact is, it didn’t need it, as the milk chocolate flavours come through nicely from the blend. It was the perfect way to finish a meal and launch into work.
Salvage Specialty Coffee stays to true to its surroundings, and adds a great vibe to the area, while delivering first rate coffee and delicious food. If you do find yourself browsing the car yards of Artarmon or dodging shoppers in Chatswood, escape to Salvage and let the team take care of you!