The hills are alive with sound the of sizzling patties, and the gurgle of the steam wand, as milk is brought up to temperature for the perfect flat white. Yes, The Tuckshop has been a saviour to those of us living in north west Sydney who are craving great café food and, more importantly, good coffee. As you walk into The Tuckshop you’ll be greeted with the cheeky sign behind the front counter “Greetings from Glenheaven where it’s not the city and you couldn’t care less’. The café is located in a small shopping strip facing Glenhaven Road, with a playground and grassy area adjacent to the café.
The team really does employ the old school tuckshop approach with no real table settings i.e. no plates, plastic cutlery, recycled packaging, and communal tables, both inside and outside. This approach allows mobility and flexibility as you can opt to pick up a rug and walk to the park and have your lunch under the large gum trees, as the kids entertain themselves on the playground equipment.
For the uninitiated, when you arrive walk through the front doors and to your right will be a clear plastic holder with the menu. Then, take your place in the line. Don’t be too stressed if on the weekend the line snakes out through the courtyard – the service team are pretty efficient and you won’t have to wait too long to place your order. After ordering, look for a seat or grab your food and head to the park outside.
While the service staff are ultra cool and relaxed, the baristas and cooks work meticulously and efficiently to deliver great tasting food and coffees that are just perfect. It’s always interesting to see an open kitchen in action and observe the women and men at work at The Tuckshop. Come in on the weekend and marvel at the juggling act of managing a dozen burgers. The sizzling patties, the warming of brioche, the frying of chips and then finally the assembly of the burger. And that’s just the burgers! There’s salads, toasts, kids meals, and other breakfast and lunch offerings.
Speaking of coffee, The Tuckshop source their beans from Single Origin Roasters. The baristas employ an exacting approach to their coffee making, weighing each shot, tamping the coffee tightly, and working the ivory La Marzocco expertly, to produce a cappuccino that’s bright and sophisticated in flavour. The temperature is bang on, and the milk texture is perfectly smooth. I have been drinking the cappuccino here for nearly 2 years and can’t recall a coffee that’s strayed in consistency.
You can’t come all the way out to Glenhaven and not try, what has become, a legendary burger. If you google the list of best burgers in Sydney, quite often you will see The Tuckshop’s cheesy burger mentioned – it’s held in that high a regard. There’s nothing more tempting than the glossy brioche burger, tender beef patty, American-styled melted cheese, thin slices of pickle, spiced kethchup sauce, and mustard. The richness of the cheese and juicy patty is tempered with the heat of the mustard and the robust, yet subtle, sting from the pickles. The brioche is soft and just contains the contents between it. Just watch out that the generous splashes of ketchup and mustard doesn’t ooze out and get on your Sunday best! Crispy shoestring fries accompany the burger and Old Bay seasoning adds another dimension of flavour.
If you have a hankering for a little more complexity in your burger, there’s the beef and bacon burger. It follows in the steps in the legendary cheesy, but with crispy bacon, caramelized onion, lettuce and tomato. It’s just as good and you get the freshness and crispy texture of the lettuce, and refreshing slices of tomato to cool things down. The tangy sauce is reminiscent of peri-peri sauce, a bit of heat but also rich and then there’s the bacon – now tell me who doesn’t like bacon..crispy and salty, need I say more?!
Next up, it’s the crispy calamari with chilli and coriander and a thai dipping sauce. Long strands of calamari with a crispy light batter. As with most items on the menu, there’s a slight tinge of spicy heat, but not too much. The Thai dipping sauce has generous amounts of ginger and for me, it works really well. The servings are generous and the seafood is perfectly cooked.
Finally, the kids aren’t forgotten with three options on the menu. My little one always goes for the chicken nuggets and chips. It’s a tried and true formula with crispy nuggets of tender fillets of chicken and fries with Old Bay seasoning. It’s simple and that’s how most kids want it – well that’s how my little one wants her lunch!
I am not the drinking type, but The Tuckshop has become my “local” with cool tunes, a relaxed and welcoming vibe along with great food and equally good coffee. It has transformed a tired shopping strip nestled in suburbia into a destination for those heading to north western Sydney.