In Short: Bloc145 features a menu that is western with a slight hint of Asian fusion. Like the impressive industrial chic design, the food is equally pretty and packed with flavour. The emphasis on great coffee is on par with the effort that goes on in the kitchen.
With gentrification and renewal continuing unabated, Redfern is fast becoming the place where Sydneysiders go looking for good and interesting cafés that encompass the cultural influences of greater Sydney’s cosmopolitan population. Location-wise, it is perfect, as its not too far from the city, and because this is also a popular working-class residential district, people who frequent the cafes here expect food that is wholesome and down-to-earth.
This is where Bloc145 fits right in. Opened by two Thai ladies, Gan and Peach, on Christmas Day 2018, the café boasts an industrial-style interior design, with lots of white, grey, and exposed bricks. You can sit in the front of the café where the barista Gan does her best work, and have a view of the outside world with your coffee and meal while people watching. But, if you ask me, the best seats in the house are really at the back of the café, where you are transported to the cafe’s own little universe, with lots the natural light coming in from the roof skylight, and relaxing music in the background. The bonus is that you get to watch your food being prepared by the open kitchen located at the back of the cafe as well.
To go with your meal, Bloc145 has a wide array of hot and cold drinks, from coffee to teas to sodas. Sourcing their milk blend coffee beans from Artificer Coffee in Surry Hills and a Synesso machine out front, I knew Bloc145 respect the coffee making process. Chief barista Gan served me the perfect flat white. Latte art was beautiful with just the right thickness to the micro foam. A mouthful of coffee revealed a robust flavour profile with a good hit of caffeine combined with a nutty and chocolate flavour swishing around my mouth. It was so good, I took away another cup for the ride home.
From the cold drinks section, if you are craving something with refreshing flavours, do try Bloc145’s Pinky Fizzy. It is a pink lemonade, that not only looks pretty but is actually really nice to drink! It was not too sweet with the right level of citrus flavours. It was actually Sammi’s drink order but it was so good that I found myself sneaking sip after sip of her drink while she was not paying attention.
The food menu features items like Spag Bol, Lamb Meat Balls, and Pulled Pork Open Wrap. The team at Bloc145 take a lot of pride in the food as all the items on the menu is designed by the owners, and all the food is created and baked in-house daily.
If you are one of those people who always feels that you do not get enough cheese to go with your spaghetti bolognese pasta dish, you seriously have to pay a visit to Bloc145 and try their Spag Bol with mountain of cheese. You better believe every word that is claimed in the description of the dish! Initially all you see is a snowy white cap of shaved cheese in the bowl, with the occasional peep of red coming through from the bolognese sauce, while the pasta is somewhat hidden in there. I am definitely one of those people who can never get enough cheese, so this is my dream pasta in a bowl. Flavour-wise, it was meaty and rich with a zing from the tomato sauce, just like how my mom makes it or how I would make it for little Coco and Viner Sammi! Needless to say, Sammi also enjoyed slurping up every noodle and drop of the meat sauce from the bowl and it kept her going for the rest of the day, given the generous portion.
What do you get when you mix ground chickpea flour with spices and herbs, roll it into a ball and deep fry until golden brown on the outside and soft and moist on the inside? You end up with one of the best tasting Middle Eastern treats ever invented, falafel. Coco and Viner Sacha wanted to try Bloc145’s Chickpea falafel with hummus and jalapeño peppers. The falafels delivered in every way, and were super crispy on the outside but when you bite into it, it’s moist and fluffy on the inside and so addictively delicious, you just cannot stop eating them! The creamy smoky-sweet hummus serves as a nice flavour contrast, but yet complements the falafel perfectly. The jalapenõ peppers are mildly spicy and is not something that you usually see served with falafels and hummus but they work together to make this a delicious and unforgettable plate of food.
For me, I decided to try the Cured Salmon with beetroot, roku gin, lemon cream cheese, beetroot purée, fried capers, fennel and zucchini buttermilk ricotta bread. This is a dish with a Nordic feel to it; clean, beautifully presented, and delicious with each mouthful. The salmon is cure in Roku Gin, which has a floral yet citrusy green tea note by itself. It is the perfect liquor to cure salmon as the flavours work perfectly together and the salmon is kept fresh and mild flavoured with a sweet finish. The beetroot puree has a punchy earthy tone to contrast with the salmon, while the zest of the fennel provides a palate cleansing effect. The other highlight of the dish for me is the cubes of zucchini buttermilk ricotta bread. It is light and warm, with a crunchy crusty exterior, while the inside is filled with melt-in-your-mouth softness. It almost reminds me of a zucchini fritter but even lighter with a lovely cheese flavour coming from the ricotta. The whole dish was sublime for me and I loved every element of it.
The focus of Bloc145 is on creating food that is earthy and hearty, with clean flavours and presentation. I believe they have achieved their goal with this version of the menu. While I am sure they will keep their regular best sellers, they will also not rest on their laurels and continue to experiment with new items on their menu from time to time. I can’t wait to see what new seasonal items they will introduce next, and we will definitely be back for more good food.