In Short: Benzin Cafe may be the new kid on Dural’s cafe block, but this is one cafe that focuses on serving good coffee and food with a spin that characterises their love for travel, experiences, and a fusion of flavours that will will reel in those who like a little adventure for brunch.
The once semi-agricultural Dural has seen an increase of good coffee options in recent years, yet a new cafe with a contemporary concept of food and good coffee is always welcome. So it is with outstretched arms and excitement that we extend a warm welcome to the latest addition that is Benzin Café.
Benzin cafe’s owners Calvin Leung and brothers Daniel and Tim Karjadi clearly love cars and motorbikes as much as they love food and travel. This is why Benzin Cafe is decorated with lots of cars and motorbike-related memorabilia, from the array of silver car hubs on the wall, to photos of race cars. There is even an epic cartoon race car driver mural by Le Grizz on the wall.
Overall, the cafe layout is spacious and clean, with black and grey paneling on the walls. A long communal table takes pride of place at front of the cafe, and there are smaller tables along one wall and generally, enough room to really laze away a morning or afternoon. There is even space out front to dine, and definitely a front row spot for when the gleaming sports cars roll in.
Speaking of cars, Benzin Cafe may have only just opened in December 2019 but they have already garnered popularity not just with the locals but with the car enthusiast clubs as well, with weekends being popular for groups to drop in as they cruise Old Northern Road out towards Wisemans Ferry. There is also a very young vibe to the café and kids are made to feel very welcome in this kid-friendly café.
You can tell that there is a lot of emphasis on fresh, yet hearty food in the menu. Co-owner Daniel loves to travel, so a lot of his food is inspired by his travels as well as his love for Japanese food. That would probably explain why Benzin Cafe has items like Katsu sandwich featured in the menu. But at the same time, his travels have inspired dishes like the Poke Salad bowl, which he professes is done like no one else in Sydney, because it features Shoyu as the main dressing instead of mayonnaise.
Head chef Fook Lim has previous work experience from KIN By Us Cafe as well as Carlingford RSL, and now hones his skills at Benzin Cafe, where he showcases his cooking skills.
We started with the Benny Croissant, consisting of smoked salmon, 2 poached eggs benedict, with hollandaise sauce, oozing out from a soft crusty toasted Sonoma croissant, garnished with orange and red cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs and flowers. It is hard to fault Sonoma croissants as they are buttery, rich, soft on the inside and flaky on the outside. Paired with luxurious smoked salmon filling and the creamy hollandaise sauce, it is pretty much a classic Aussie breakfast done really well and the flavours were as pleasing to the palette as the dish was to the eye.
To complement a croissant, one must sample the perfect Flat White. Benzin Cafe use Gabriel Coffee for their beans. Gabriel’s Easy Tiger blend is on show here and delivers a medium bodied coffee. I love those initial notes of cherry that’s bright, yet mellows out to a chocolate and nutty finish. Latte art is exquisite, as is the silkiness of the milk.
One of Benzin’s calling cards is their Poke Salad Bowl. According to Co-owner Daniel, this salad was inspired by his visit to Hawaii and realising that the Poke bowls available here in Australia are quite different from the OG in Hawaii. Hence he came up with the Hawaiian salmon poke bowl, with mixed leaf salad, corn, avocado, spanish onions, cucumber, and fried shallots with a spicy shoyu dressing. Cubes of plump fresh salmon sashimi are scattered around the salad, with white and black sesame seeds, avocado, corn, carrot, red cabbage, rocket, all dressed in a delicious dressing that has sweet, salty, umami flavours, but has a slight spicy kick. My favourite part of the salad is the hit of fried shallot throughout, which gives it a different texture and flavour. Dan also mentioned that in the autumn menu, they might switch up the salad with some rice as well.
When you think Pulled Beef Taco, your immediate instincts would be Mexican flavours all round. Here is where Benzin Cafe’s version plays with your mind, as their beef is actually slow cooked, sous vide pulled wagyu beef rendang. With this Asian flavoured beef filling, you also get a rainbow slaw and pickled cucumber together with 3 mini sides comprising of black beans, tomato salsa, and guacamole. I never thought that one day I would be sitting in a café in Australia, eating Asian pulled beef rendang with Mexican guacamole, but as bizarre as it sounds, the flavours actually work harmoniously together. Kudos to Benzin Cafe for pulling this one off and completely owning it!
There is also a good menu section for kids, just so that they don’t have to fight with you for your food. Little Coco and Viner Sammi had her eyes set on her own Pulled Beef Sandwich. The portion of beef filling, covered with delicious BBQ sauce, is so generous that it was near spilling out from the bun. To complete the dietary requirements for a growing little one, there are also cucumber slices and lettuce leaves. Uncomplicated yummy food, just the way kids like their meals.
To wash down your delicious meal, Benzin Cafe has an amazing array of drinks and shakes. Like Elvis Presley, I love my peanut butter, so I had to try Benzin Cafe’s PB&B Shake. The PB stands for Peanut Butter and the other B is Banana. This combo of flavours are well balanced and you get a hint of honey sweetness. There is a peanut butter and crushed peanut crust around the rim of the glass, to further enhance the peanut flavours. I found it delicious and enjoyed every sip of it.
Benzin Cafe hits the right notes. It’s relaxed, the food is immaculate in its presentation, and coffee and beverages are quality. An exciting addition to the food scene in Dural and the greater Hills region of Sydney.