Edition Coffee Roasters does not give much away in its name, so it tempts you to travel to Darlinghurst to see what all the fuss is about. Even as we walked up, there are no glossy signs or placards with the name of the cafe, but when we do finally step in, its impressive. You could easily be transported to Oslo or Shinjuku. With its clean lines, minimalistic approach, nordic inspired seating and tables, cutlery by Interpur from Japan – you’re not sure whether you’ve been transported to Oslo or Shinjuku!. An Idee coffee presentation board and a Hario decanter for my pour over coffee means it’s not just Japanese inspired, it’s actual Japanese sourced cutlery and coffee ware. Menus are placed perfectly, the seating in uniformly presented rows, and there’s attention to detail in every aspect of the cafe’s presentation. On trend tungsten lamps, and warm tones from the wood of the tables and counter makes for a welcoming environment to spend a Sunday afternoon.
I am loving pour over coffee at present, so I have to find out how Edition Coffee Roasters’ version stacks up. First off, the aromas are beautiful and then I take a sip which reveals a slight acidity, and I get hints of lemon that warms me through. I take a sip of the cold drip and then come back to the pour over and could detect a lift in intensity of the pour over. It’s smooth and clean, a great way to start off the meal.
I’ve tried a few chai teas in my travels and they mostly seem to fall into two basic categories – either sickly sweet powder from a can or, a generally flavour-less stew of milk and twigs. Thankfully, there is a rarer third category…damn good chai! Sure Edition Coffee Roasters might be a mecca for coffee lovers, but this is sincerely one of the best chai teas you’ll find this side of Mumbai. Aromatic, lightly spiced, and peppery notes, it’s all there in the first sip, with just enough sweetness to bring it all together on the tongue. To complete the immersion of the senses, the earthenware cup receives the steamy chai nectar from a tasteful, yet exotic, chai pot….ahhh I can almost smell the spice markets of Old Delhi with every sip.
Edition Coffee Roasters’ cold brew coffee is Elixir Cold Brew. It is stated in the menu, that it looks like whisky, but tastes like tea, made from coffee – what’s not to be intrigued by! The brew comes in a tall, slim glass bottle and once the coffee is opened and poured over the cut tumbler of ice, you will be pleasantly surprised by a drink so smooth. It has all the hallmarks of tea, but definitely the taste of coffee, without that strong flavour hitting your palate. Your palate is left by the mysterious taste, you keep going back for more trying to make sense of it and before you know it, you find that you have reached the bottom of the glass!
We’re so taken with the surrounds, marvelling at the earthenware and trying to navigate the Idee website (which to us looks like a Japanese version Ikea!), the plates of food sneak up on us and it is time to make room for the feast.
If you’ve ever walked the streets of Tokyo, then you’ll know that the mysterious Yakuza culture is not to be trifled with. So now that I have you thinking about trifle, how about some hotcakes? Like it’s namesake, Edition’s Yakuza hotcakes are silent and deadly! This subtle stack of matcha medallions topped with passionfruit, ganache, preserved plums and a flourish of sesame seeds, can sneak up on you. Before you know it, you’re lost in a melange of flavours and textures, that mingle so well in the mouth, your regular old stack of coffee shop pancakes seem better suited to construction than consumption. The tangy sweetness of the fresh passionfruit offers up a citrus bite that contrasts the subtle matcha notes of the hotcakes and the velvety creme of the ganache. The sugar level of this plate is perfect, with a delightful puddle of caramel sauce that let’s you amp up the sweet tooth level at will. The advice is simple here… eat these hotcakes!
While Fisksoppa may be hard to pronounce and Swedish in its origin, just know that it is like the best fish soup ever…trust me. My first spoonful takes me back to Martha’s Vineyard and Boston where I had the best clam chowders of my life. The fish soup is jam-packed with flavours of the ocean. Tender morsels of blue cod are partnered with generous chunks of potato that still have a bite but are perfectly cooked. There’s carrots, eschallots and beautifully crunch pastry to dip into the soup. While chowders are generally less viscous in nature, the Fisksoppa is lighter, and more silky in texture. I can imagine sitting here on a winter’s afternoon and this would just be a perfect lunch dish.
When we first walked into Edition Coffee Roasters, a dish that caught our eye was the mushroom pond so it was the first dish written down by our waiter. Mushrooms in warm mushroom broth, mushroom cream, noodles and soft herbs. Sounds so simple,and zen, right? Far from it. They might as well have called this dish the ‘mushroom lovers delight’ because it was a celebration of all the goodness of mushrooms in one dish! Apparently, this dish was inspired by a similar dish at Noma. Served in big earthenware bowl, the dish consists of an array of mushrooms, including enoki, shimeji and oyster mushrooms. The noodles described in the menu are smooth, chewy, udon noodles. What makes the dish a standout is the mushroom broth which is a consommé, slow-cooked over 4 days to extract all the essence of the mushroom into the stock. Its served with a quenelle of crème, which when you mix with the broth, transforms it instantly into a luxe cream of mushroom soup. While it may be a simple sounding dish, it’s accomplished in its execution and is so full of flavour, that if I had to describe this dish in one word, it would have to be umami.
Another dish to try from Edition’s menu is the Porco Rollo. In Sydney, we have become accustomed to the venerable Vietnamese pork roll, so this offering could be best described as a pork roll by a different mother. Firstly, the pork used in this dish, is smoked and braised Berkshire pork, which is packed full of flavour. Then there is the tamagoyaki, which is a type of sweet Japanese egg omelette, made by rolling together several layers of cooked egg. These strips of egg are then blended in with the pork with the help of pink ginger slaw and white miso bbq sauce, giving this pork roll a strong Japanese influence. Even the bun is no ordinary bread bun, but a pillowy soft, milky brioche roll.
The taste of Japan, is the only way to describe the Garden of Valhalla. This delicate combination of flavours, presented with the intricacy and carefully considered detail that epitomises the Japanese culture. The neutral crockery is a perfect backdrop for all the wonderful colours of this ‘garden’ meal but the highlight was definitely the coffee-cured egg – yes, that’s right, coffee-cured. The rich colour of the yolk was like the sunshine of this garden, and as my fork cut through, it was a perfectly gooey, caramel egg that just as the taste leaves your palate you are hit with the subtle hint of coffee. It’s nothing like I’ve tasted before! The rest of the dish is a wonderful medley of spring vegetables on a bed of pumpernickel ‘soil’ with the zest of the orange aioli perfectly rounding out the tang of this dish.
Edition Coffee Roasters was quite simply, a revelation. It offers food with imagination and a fusion so unique, that you wonder how this team thought of this combination but they will more than prove to you that it totally makes sense. We can’t wait to head back soon to see what they come up with next.