In Short: Unpretentious café with outstanding food and quality coffee. Tip: Must have the Pork Bun!
It’s always nice to get a pleasant surprise when you get to sample so many of the city’s very best cafes. Wicks Park Café is one such surprise, in a Sydney suburb that has quickly gained a reputation as a benchmark for quality coffee and food. Marrickville is drawing café devotees to its magnetic foodie offerings, and Wicks Park Café is making that pull all the stronger.
Wicks bucks the trend of many a café that puts all its effort into creating a so-called “funky space” at the expense of quality coffee and food offerings. This café is clearly all about finding that balance between creating an eclectic and engaging environment while allowing the food to take centre stage and be the reason its customers keep returning.
Straight into the coffee, we order up a cappuccino to put the Double Roasters beans to the test. The “cap” delivers a rich nuttiness that is tempered by the light kiss of chocolate sweetness.
As the weather outside reminds us that the Sydney winter is not quite over just yet, the Belgian Hot Chocolate stops our finger as it slides down the drinks list. Throughout this winter especially, I’ve been a bit indulgent in the hot chocolate department, and I can easily say that Wicks has achieved the best balance of velvety chocolate, rich flavour, and refined sweetness. It feels decadent on the tongue, but never sickly sweet.
As a late afternoon “snack” we choose a couple of nibbles from the diverse menu and settle on a trio of tasty plates. As our choices arrive, we realise how lucky we are to have skipped brekkie, as the portions are more generous than “snack-size”. The Wicks Park Hot Dog is enough to make your eyes drool and it almost topples with toppings! A Black Forest Smokehouse double smoked frankfurt, smoked bacon, shredded cheddar slaw, capsicum relish, chipotle mayo, and Spanish onion all come together amidst a crispy and buttery toasted bun. The snap of bitting into the hot dog is followed by the freshness of the slaw and relish, with a hint of spice from the chipotle that perfectly complements the smoky bacon.
The Pork Bun at Wicks Park Café shares nothing in common with its namesake found a top a yum cha cart. This pork bun is quite literally a glorious mound of pulled pork shoulder, marinated in chilli and soy sauce, paired with carrot and coriander slaw, sour cream and chives. There’s a delicious sweetness to the pork from the marinade. The meat itself is succulent in the extreme, but retained a really satisfying texture. The toasted brioche bun offers a further touch of sweet and crunch as it encases this outstanding mountain of yum. I would truly return to Wicks Park Café even if they only served this one dish!
To round out this hat-trick of bun-based delights, the Grilled Chicken Sandwich with its south-western influences of avocado and lime salsa, rocket, and smoked chili mayo take the palate to a new flavour destination. The fluffy milk bun is not too sweet and catches the juices of the tender chicken breast.
Wicks Park Café is one of those places that at once makes you want to text your other foodie friends and let them know what they’re missing, but at the same time, you are tempted to just keep the secret of how good it is all to yourself. After all, I alone could eat all the Pork Buns that the masterful kitchen can dish up!