In Short: Flavours of the bbq, airy casual space, sublime coffee.
We were first drawn to the big industrial space at 1/85 Dunning Avenue in Rosebery when Kitchen By Mike were rocking. The long lines of diners lining up for wholesome, generous offerings really created a cool vibe for the area. Sadly Mike McEnearney left Rosebery for the city in 2015. Luckily for Sydney, the space has not gone to waste and a giant of the cafe scene has stepped in to take things up a notch. Three Blue Ducks haven’t gone for a wholesale change in concept or fit-out. The cans with cutlery have been replaced with a more traditional setup, and friendly service staff run around looking after your every need. A mural by Caleb Reid adds bright splashes of colour near the counter, and giant rattan lamp shades dominate the space. There’s better defined menus with breakfast and lunch. What sets this cafe apart from all others across Sydney has been the installation of 1/2 ton bbq named Bob! Bob plays a large part shaping the menu with a host of smoked and charred offerings. Three Blue Ducks, like the previous tenants, share the huge space with Koskela, an Australian furniture and homewares store. The space is super family friendly, and the kids can escape to a play area. On warmer days or when it does get full, you can also wander outside to dine as well.
In the dedicated space for coffee making, the team of baristas produce espressos, milk based coffees, a batch brew and cold drip. I choose a batch brew. Batch brew is interesting in that while it may be a new concept to Aussie coffee drinks, the method is decades old. If you’ve been to North America, many a diner would have used batch brew methods to deliver huge volumes of coffee. The difference today in coffee boutiques is the emphasis on utilising the best and freshly roasted beans along with computerised hot water systems, that yield consistent and high quality brews. Three Blue Ducks batch brew is a beautiful example! It’s Single Origin Roasters Sumatra Pegasing. I love how it is presented with a Hario server, a glass of sparkling water and glass for my coffee. The coffee is a beautiful balance between acidity, floral aromas and fruitiness. I love the hints of tropical fruits with undertones of pineapple. A stunning start to my experience at Three Blue Ducks.
As I peruse the menu, there’s nary a mention of sausage or bacon, staples of an Australian breakfast. A sausage crumb is snuck into one dish and even the ubiquitous egg makes a sole appearance on one menu item. I couldn’t come to Three Blue Ducks and not experience a dish that hadn’t been touched by the fires emanating from “Bob.”
Quick to arrive to the table is a wood fired bowl. In a beautiful sky blue ceramic bowl is roasted cauliflower, baby carrots, pumpkin, smoked eggplant, grains, yoghurt, dukkah and beetroot kraut. There’s a beautiful char on the outer edges of the floret, which is slightly bitter, though it gives way to a sweet centre. Baby carrots and pumpkin work really well together, and is delightful with the tangy beetrot kraut. Dukkah is the perfect spice with the roasted vegetables. Hints of sweetness come from the raisins, and a textural point of difference is the crunch of pomegranate seeds. The smoky flavours are present with every mouthful. Humble ingredients, that are executed perfectly.
Mavis didn’t even look at the menu, as she was sold on the special of the day, which was a braised pork sandwich. As she tucked into her meal, a silence descended onto the table. It was a sure sign that the food was good, real good! I broke the silence by asking for a taste. Begrudgingly she slid the plate my way. Within seconds, I knew why she had been so quiet. It was sensational, the pork, just sublime. It was tender, sticky and sweet. A cabbage slaw was fresh, and dressed well to cut through the oils of the pork. A tangy tomato chutney is fruity, with tiny a bit of punch. There are flavours of Asia that resonate through the dish. I guess that’s why they called it a special, because it was.
The kids are not forgotten and we order our little one a kids porridge with fresh fruits. While Sammi sneaks off to the play area, I sneak a couple spoons. The porridge is cooked in milk and is combined with sweet as honey apricots and crunchy sweet pears. Nothing fried, nothing overly processed, and little sugar! Just about a perfect, tasty energy power breakfast, as the little one readies herself for an afternoon at Little Dynamos.
Mavis is Coco and Vine’s principal cold drip taster, and she does not pass up the opportunity to sample Three Blue Duck’s take on it. Like my batch brew, the beans are Sumatran Pegasing single origin coffee. The drink delivers a delicious dry fruity sweetness. It’s easy drinking, with such a refined smoothness on the palate. Served over ice, it’s ultra refreshing. Like many cold drips, it really cleanses and prepares the mouth for delicious treats that usually follow.
To prepare myself for an afternoon earful of noise at a 7 year old’s birthday party, I submit to a cappuccino. I am on familiar territory now as I know the Single Origin Roaster Killerbee blend quite well. Like Killerbees of the past, I am not disappointed with toffee flavours that are present. A nice creamy top that is not too heavy, with the coffee flavour strong and powerful all the way through. There’s a hint of chocolate in the finish. So good!
Three Blue Ducks deliver a special breakfast experience, but that’s not all, there’s an equally appetising lunch menu that is begging us to come back for a visit. It won’t be long until we make that drive to Rosebery to sample the smoky flavours that Bob and Three Blue Ducks team deliver.