In Short: Blackbird & Co. cafe and restaurant in Erskineville offers a welcoming, communal café experience and a sophisticated menu with an Asian flare. Outstanding coffee in a fresh, open, and inviting space that’ll see you lingering for hours.
In our world of social media friendships and virtual relationships, there’s something so comforting in sitting down face to face IRL (In Real Life) with good friends over a stellar cup of the good stuff. Cafes are our generation’s new community gathering space, so when we find a real communal café, like Blackbird & Co in Erskineville, we indulge in its welcoming atmosphere.
Under the leafy canopy of Blackbird’s patio, and in the perfect spot to catch a soft summer breeze as it flows into the cafe’s bright, fresh space, we chit-chat with our super friendly server who gives us his tips on menu favourites. Orders in, it’s not long before a bevy of coffee concoctions are at our table.
You know when you get into a habit of ordering your ‘go-to’ drink without even thinking of all the other tempting possibilities Blackbird & Co.’s barista can contrive? Well, lately for us it’s “cappuccino please” that slips from the lips even before we’re asked. Sometimes though, going with your go-to can pay big dividends, and this is one of those ‘sometimes’. Extracted from Gabriel beans, the cap is a single origin beauty that pops on the palate and finishes smooth and creamy.
Turning the chocolate notes up a notch for the next cup, we test Blackbird’s skilled barista with a mocha. Its froth tickles the lips with a rich, creaminess and follows with deep dark chocolate notes that balance the natural sweetness of the coffee.
With the subtly sweet tastes of the mocha still lingering, how better to chase that than with the Buckwheat Pancake Stack. Slicing into this fluffy stack of rustic, buckwheat-based bounty, the knife slips through layers of fresh kiwi, mango, and strawberry. Trickles of miso caramel syrup blend with slowly melting coffee mascarpone in a decadent jus that soaks into every bite. Needless to say, there’s not much talking when this dish is at the table.
The playfully named Blackbird Bennie belies a plate bursting with complex and subtle flavours in this delicious interpretation of the café staple. Hollandaise can be a greasy, heavy-handed sauce in unskilled hands, but Blackbird’s chef has conquered with this light and tangy truffled take that compliments all the components of this plate. The addition of succulently soft smoked salmon, all resting atop lightly toasted English muffins, definitely quashes any remaining conversation in favour of mmm’s and ahhh’s.
Any seasoned café goer has to have a special place in their heart for Haloumi. Just hearing that magic word starts the mouth watering. Combine that word with ‘stack’ and it’s game over for the diet. Blackbird & Co.’s Haloumi Stack is just what it sounds like, a tower of squeaky, tender haloumi atop a base of crusty, rustic sourdough, with a toss of grilled mushrooms and poached eggs, all punctuated by caramelised onions and a balsamic glaze.
Eggplant is one of those veggies that can be so much in the right hands. Stuff it, fry it, even tempura it; it can take it all. Our fav though is the simple art of charring this versatile veg. The smoky, richness of flavour in the Avocado & Eggplant Toast, mingles with the textures of the smooth, smashed avo, fresh greens, juicy beets, buttery mushrooms, tomatoes, and pickled onions. Sprinkle this orgy of flavours with a dash of sesame and pumpkin seed over an eggy topper, and it’s bliss on a fork.
With good friends to share good conversation, our brunch slips into lunch as the Sydney summer day heat rises. As too do our hands, to summon our trusty server for a new batch of refreshments that will lower our inner mercury. The iced coffee adorned with fluffy cream does the job of cooling us down quite nicely. Lifting the Gabriel brew with sweet cocoa notes, to a deliciously desserty chiller.
The banana milkshake finishes this Blackbird & Co. brunch off with a tropical taste that leaves nothing but sweet notes to be remembered.
Blackbird & Co. brings together the pleasures of a relaxed, community café with cultivated café fare and an Asian essence, that is sure to gain compliments from even the most traveled café connoisseur. We’ll definitely be back to try their dinner menu.