If you didn’t live in Woolwich, the darling of the peninsula on the lower north shore of Sydney, there used to be very few reasons to head down there except for those few times a year, when you were vying for a top spot down at Clarkes Point Reserve to watch the fireworks on New Years Eve or Australia Day.
But recently, this quiet little ‘village’ next to Hunters Hill has been undergoing some what of a revival. With Cucinetta, The Deckhouse and Best Pub in NSW 2014 – the Woolwich Pier Hotel – Sydneysiders have had lots more reasons to head down here to enjoy a culinary experience with the added bonus of some of the most beautiful, panoramic views of the city.
However, for all the food and drink, it was missing one thing. Good coffee…enter Ironwood Coffee Company.
With it’s fit-out a tribute to all things coffee – these guys really have created an experience that’s worth the drive to spend a couple of lazy hours sampling their coffee and Mediterranean influenced menu. Immediately we are taken through big wooden doors, past a wood-fired oven lined with freshly baked bread, a pastry cabinet bursting with decadent treats, into a bright, earthy and eclectically designed space.
As we are seated, my eyes are drawn upwards to the ceiling ingeniously covered in old coffee sacks from all around South America – Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil – it’s a coffee lovers ‘mood’ board! And it doesn’t stop there. Throughout the space there are coffee curios and gadgetry immersing you into the experience to come.
Its a Sunday morning – and we just beat the rush at 9.00am and believe me this place is popular on the weekends! My ears are instantly tuned to the whir of the legendary La Marzocco espresso machine perfectly designed to extract the best from the in-house roastery. I can’t wait to the try the coffee…
The staff were friendly, attentive and patient with us as we made the hard choice of which coffee to indulge in to get our breakfast off to the right start. We decide on a simple cappuccino, a playful ‘Toffee Coffee latte from the Decadent choice menu and a Morning Starter Smoothie to round our drinks order.
The cappuccino is made perfectly – the frothy milk foam is silky and dusted with just the right amount of chocolate. It gives way to a rich, milky coffee underneath that is smooth, yet distinct in flavour. There is definitely no burnt or bitter aftertaste and no sugar needed here!
The Morning Starter Smoothie, lived up to it’s name (and much needed considering it was a lazy start to a Sunday morning!). The strawberries, banana, muesli, honey, milk, and ice-cream were
blended to a smooth mouth feel without any of the ingredients overpowering each other. A word of warning with this one – pace yourself – it’s almost a meal in itself and gives you enough energy for the day alone!
Our nostrils were hit with the intense aroma of toffee and caramel as the Decadent Toffee Coffee Latte made it’s way to our table. At first sip, it had a creamy, caramel flavour, with burnt and brown sugar notes, and with a good stir the flavours may well transport you to the feeling of sitting in a ski-lodge watching the snow. Which was kind of useful, considering it was 28C outside!
As we savoured our drinks, the smell of breakfast coming from the kitchen, made our tummies grumble in anticipation of our food to come.
My Baked Eggs Greek Style, instantly transported me to many a lazy breakfast on the Greek Islands – and I was suddenly nostalgic for a holiday. Served in a stoneware dish, this was a generous blend of tomatoes and scrambled baked eggs but it was the note-worthy Greek fetta that gave this dish it’s real character. I had to know the source of this cheesy goodness, but my inquiry to the staff was cheekily met with ‘…ah, but that’s our secret…’
Across the table, it was really nice to have bacon and eggs Mediterranean style with the Dukkah Stack. The fried eggs and crispy bacon, stacked on the fresh-from-the oven sourdough bread, sprinkled with dukkah spice, and drizzled with honey was a delightful take to this breakfast staple. The serving size was spot on – filling, but not too heavy, and a great mix of textures.
The Ironwood Grande was exactly that – an impressive selection of all your breakfast favourites. This is not your greasy fry-up by any stretch! Each element of the breakfast was expertly crafted to compliment the others. The spicy and peppery sausage had pleasant smoky notes with a mild tang. The hash browns were both fluffy and yet crispy and the sautéed mushrooms had lovely woody hints. Overlaying the mushrooms, the creamy scrambled eggs were moist, firm and delicately seasoned. A generous portion of the salty, succulent bacon with crispy edges had the ideal smoky taste without being dry or chewy. Thank goodness for the sourdough to mop up all the delicious crumbs with!
The Ironwood Coffee Company cafe clearly has a passion for great food and coffee at its core. The care and artisanal approach to every aspect ensures that whether you come here for breakfast, lunch or dinner, you are bound to have a distinct, culinary experience – just perfect for what Woolwich has become.