In Short: Outstanding coffee, uncomplicated top quality food, funky and relaxed atmosphere.
Change is afoot in the old Kings Cross. What was once the domain of clubbers and pubbers, is fast being overtaken by ‘the foodie’. Artisanal food markets and boutique bakeries are sprouting in place of what some might have considered as less wholesome establishments. Joining this advancing foodie frontline are craft cafes, and Room 10 was one of the early pioneers and is still leading the push.
A hip and snug little café nestled in Llankelly Place, a funky laneway that is home to other gastronomic upstarts, Room 10 café oozes unpretentious coffee chic that spills into the lane with both indoor and outdoor seating. Frequented by Sydney foodie celebs and have-to-be-seen hipsters, Room 10 offers the tried and tested duo of really good coffee with simply uncomplicated food where the quality ingredients do the talking.
Slipping in just before the Sunday morning café rush hits its peak, we snag a table deep in the buzz of the bustling space where we can watch the kitchen magic happen as we sip and sit. Speaking of sipping, it’s a flat white, cappuccino, and a cold brew that jets to the table as the barista is in the zone and pumping out the black magic as fast as they are ordered. With the ice ready to receive its cascade of cold brew, this Single Origin Mecca coffee is a smooth, nutty drop with fruity notes to tickle the tongue.
The cappuccino builds on the premium Mecca beans and adds the silkiness of perfectly blended and frothed milk. The acidity of the coffee is ideally smoothed, which allows subtler, smoky essences to peak through.
The flat white completes the hat-trick, with its bold flavours and hints of caramel nuttiness that set the stage for the nibbles to come.
Perhaps one the most popular items on the menu makes its appearance, as the Room 10 Breakfast Rice interjects our coffee conversation. Deliciously cold and refreshing, the bowl of red rice, black quinoa, walnuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds, stewed rhubarb, all topped with fresh fruit, yoghurt, dukkah, and honey just begs to be devoured. With so many ingredients you’d think they’d each be fighting to be noticed, but the pairings are where perfection and harmony reigns.
The Breakfast Gypsy Ham Pane, reminiscent of a croque madame, Room 10’s version has delicious fresh prosciutto with a fried egg, sandwiched between sourdough that is so light and airy it’s almost waffle-like in texture. The added zing of a light, vinegary hollandaise gives a unique tang to this continental sarnie.
Organic Muesli by Farmer Jo is a more familiar inhabitant of the brekkie table, and it’s the seasonal bircher that makes our list today. Strawberry, apple, lemon myrtle, and macadamia mixed with the spice of cinnamon and topped with rich yoghurt and rhubarb compote swirled through, this is a decadent dish without the guilt.
Three cheers for cheese lovers! The Cheeses Toastie melts a rainbow of expertly paired cheeses that span a sweet ricotta, a mild, nutty Swiss, and a sharp cheddar into a gooey, brekkie pizza. Throw in some sweet tomato, tangy mustard, and fresh, spicy rocket and you’ve got a reason to rejoice.
Always one to sneak in a sweet treat, and brave enough to experiment with mixing great stand-alone flavours, we order a Cacao Smoothie as a topper. It reminds me a little of long road trips and American style diners, where chocolate milkshakes and cheeseburgers are de rigueur. A thick and creamy tall glass of subtle cacao smoothiness greets the lips with a rich texture to satisfy.
As the line for tables and takeaways swells to almost block the laneway, we wish our server the best for her coming hectic morning, and pay compliments to the talented barista, still churning out the goods at a feverish pace. It’s out into the laneway we head and off to the foodie markets around the corner, but knowing we’ve found another go-to spot for real coffee in the Cross.