This is not a comprehensive list, just the start of a list of the best places to get a good coffee in Darwin. The criteria? The coffee should be full of flavour, the milk silky and not burnt. That screeching sound? It sounds bad for a reason. If you can scoop your milk into a meringue shape then it’s over cooked.
My faves? A tie between Ducks Nuts on Mitchell St and Jay’s Coffee cart at various markets and the Nightcliff Jetty. I bought some gorgeous home roasted beans from Jay’s Coffee, some Ethiopian Sidamo and some PNG Purosa, both organic. I’ve been grinding to order at home on my Rocky grinder and my Rancilio Sylvia has been loving it! Thanks 🙂
Jay’s Coffee Bar
Great coffee, freshly roasted fairtrade coffee beans and I’ve heard the iced coffee is the best in Darwin.
Rapid Creek Markets (Sundays)
Nightcliff Jetty (Sat and Sun afternoons)
Ducks Nuts Bar Espresso
Mitchell St. You can sit inside Bar Espresso, or choose the lovely verandah outside, same coffee, more atmosphere. But you have to brave the heat. Come on, don’t be soft!
There’s another list here, but I haven’t tried them all. Will have to ask my trusty coffee scout to suss them out:
Today Phee and I had brekky at Ducks Nuts. They have an espresso bar and a bar & grill. We ate at the bar & grill outside on the deck and watched the world go by. The coffee is excellent, with silky milk and good flavour.
Phee had Eggs Benedict and I had French Toast. I didn’t need lunch after that!
76 Mitchell St Darwin
As if there wasn’t enough sourdough floating around at home at the moment! I was at Brasserie Bread in Botany the other day and just had to buy a sour cherry loaf. The occasion was a farewell for some dear friends who are sojourning in Darwin for a little while. Actually not so little, but let’s not get into that, I might need another slice or two if we do.
Always on the hunt for good takeaway options, and since a trip to Thailand last year, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with trying to find an authentic Thai restaurant. There are seventeen Thai restaurants listed in the 2009 good food guide, Spice I Am being one of them, and a favourite of mine when I am passing through the city. Unfortunately none of them are within a 5km radius of my place as the crow flies (that’s for you Lauren).
This may also be a good time to mention the cluster of Thai grocery stores near the Capitol Theatre sometimes referred to as Thainatown. I did not make that up. One famous one is called Pontip, and if you’re searching for that elusive holy basil, or pea sized bitter eggplant for your Thai curry, you’ll find them here.
My favourite cheap takeaway meal is also from near here, the sandstone building on the corner of Pitt St and Hay St in Haymarket. They sell supplies but also pre-made meals like chicken or pork larb ( a minced meat salad, heavily seasoned with lime, fish sauce, roasted rice and chilli- for lovers of authentic Thai cuisine only), or a curry of catfish and baby eggplant. For $7- $8 each, they are a bargain. Just cook some rice at home and a few dishes will set you back around $15. Considering Thai takeaway often costs $30-$50, it is a fantastic deal. I must look a bit soft as I get warned every time ‘It’s spicy!’.
Anyway, so I found a decent Thai takeaway place in Parramatta and thought I’d share. There are so many and this one is my favourite so far. Let me know if you have a different one.
Saute Thai Restaurant
Thai green chicken curry– I think it’s their best dish on the menu. It has a bit of heat but not too much and is really moreish.
The spring rolls are vegetarian; also nice and crunchy.
The Som Tam (green papaya salad) with soft shell crab is delicious. The som tam is nowhere near authentic, it is mild and sweet instead of hot, salty, sweet and sour in a perfect balance, however, for an ‘Aussie’ version, it’s not bad. I am nearly always disappointed with Australian versions of som tam, because when it is done right it is so addictive.
N.B. Make your own mind up about the massaman beef curry and the pad thai. I’ve had better so I tend to stick with other choices, but the stir fries are pretty good and if you want something different, the BBQ beef is really fantastic. Thinnish steaks marinated in a sweet marinade and then cooked on a char grill. It has a tender chewiness and a smoky sweetness that is so good.
Saute Thai Restaurant
18 Phillip St Parramatta
9687 0778/ 9635 7378
The first number is often busy so try the second if you can’t get through in peak times
This is the real deal: Som Tam and sticky rice in a food court in Bangkok, Thailand
I still have vivid memories of eating it in a spotlessly clean food court in Bangkok, with a side of sticky rice and tears streaming down my cheeks it was so hot. But it was also so good I couldn’t stop. A kindly looking man carrying a toddler stopped nearby and chuckled at this westerner chowing down on his national dish with gusto. I looked up and smiled and we had a moment. Food really is the way to the heart. I shouldn’t complain so much though, I am always just happy when I see this dish on a menu, as it takes a bit more effort to prepare, and lots of restaurants won’t make it as there is not always the demand for it.
There was a friendly little review in the Telgraph on Sunday:
I have been enjoying my Fridays lately, helping prepare some delicious food (if I do say so myself) at Ross Dobson’s Cafe at the Cafe at Lewers at the Lewer’s Bequest Gallery on the Nepean River in Emu Plains.
If you are asking where that is and live in Sydney, shame on you. If you are from elsewhere you are forgiven. I feel free to judge as I have lived in both the East and the West of Sydney.
The easiest way to get to the Cafe is to take the M4 from the East (I’m assuming here) and drive West (capitalised to highlight the ‘great divide’), then take the first exit after you cross the tree lined Nepean River bursting with autumnal colours at the moment. The exit is Russell street, then first left at the roundabout, continue until you reach the school, just a few hundred metres, then left after the school and then left onto River Road at the end of the street.
If you’re wondering if it’s worth the trip, consider it a nice diversion on the way up to the Blue Mountains one weekend. For those lucky enough to have fabulous coffee on their doorstep on a Saturday morning, it takes a bit of a nudge to go further than the corner cafe, but do try it. The road toll is claimable and once you’re out of the city you’ll feel the fresh mountain air on your face and wonder why you stayed away so long 🙂
Cafe at Lewers is at:
Penrith Regional Gallery & the Lewers Bequest,
86 River Road, Emu Plains
Phone: (02) 4735 1870
The Eveleigh Market Saturday 13th December 8am-1pm
243 Wilson St, Eveleigh
Next market is in February 2009.
This was a wonderful market held yesterday, in an open-sided but undercover hanger on a true Sydney summer day-humid, hot and windy. The restrooms inside the old carraige works just opposite provided a moment of coolness before the hunt began.
Highlights were cherry jam from Bird Cow Fish, goat’s cheese from Jannei Dairy, eggplant, zucchini flowers, apples and less common herbs from organic suppliers. Bread from Iggy’s, Olive oil from Alto and brunch from Eumundi Smokehouse: Bacon and egg roll with homemade BBQ sauce, and a chorizo roll with tomato and basil salsa. I didn’t eat both, three of us shared them, but I could have easily scoffed them myself.
My sister was searching for the perfect Kris Kringle present for $15 and bought the last jar of cherry jam from Bird Cow Fish ($10 but it is a large jar) and then topped up the gift with a jar of Apricot jam from Rowan Farm for $5, so mission completed on budget! The cheeky little bugger even managed to find some bread for her supper after everyone had sold out as the guys at Jannei took pity on her puppy eyes and sold her their second last loaf used for tastings for a token $2. Always the negotiator 🙂
Marinated creamy goat’s fetta at Jannei Dairy. I have been missing their presence at the Good Living Grower’s Markets- bring them back please!
Went home with a small white mould cheese, similar to Camembert, called ‘Miette’. Perfectly ripe for sale, the edge was devoured and it is already developing a creamy oozy layer but is still a little chalky in the middle so I’ll leave it for another day or two.
Fruity, buttery Stöllen from Pastisse
Organic Fuji apples, basil and garlic
Eumundi Smokehouse chorizo. I bought some of the small spicy ‘beer sticks’ as owner David calls them, you really need one to handle the heat and delicious intensity.
Nice review here of Eumundi: http://www.notquitenigella.com/2007/12/27/eumundi-smokehouse-at-dulwich-hill/
Delicious olive oil and marinated olives from Alto, with the Robust premium a favourite. Got talked into getting the large bottle very easily ‘are you sure you don’t want the larger bottle?’ No, I’m not, how silly of me, of course it is better value 😉 I am quite happy to be persuaded.
Another delicious oil is the Pepperberry and Salt Bush olive oil by the Yaama Dhiyaan Cafe, also a lovely place for breakfast located just next to the markets on Wilson St.
Crusty sourdough, a quarter is plenty for us and costs just $3.25 from Iggy’s Bread (49 Belgrave St, Bronte. Corner of Murray St)
Can’t wait for the regular market next year…
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It’s a gorgeous morning to be catching up with friends and a good coffee is all I want, with something tasty to eat a bonus. We are all happy to go to the usual place at the beach but one dissenter craves something new. You can’t say no to that so I look up the opening hours for Allpress and Campos- both closed on Sundays. Then my sister reminds me about Bourke St Bakery, how could I forget, we did a fantastic sourdough bread making course here last year as part of good food month. It was so popular that it was already booked out the day after Good Living had released the hands on courses for good food month. Luckily they put on an extra course for those of us a bit slow to decide which course to choose!
So to the Alexandria shop we go, on Gardeners Rd. It’s Sunday morning at about 10:30am and I’m expecting a queue, so am surprised to find half of the large wooden communal table free. Perhaps it’s the long weekend, or that it is beautiful weather and everyone’s at the beach, or maybe I’m just used to the tight squeeze at the Crown St shop, but in any case it is nice to have time for a leisurely chat and breakfast before the next lot crowd in around the counter.
Crisp buttery croissants with jam and ricotta, pan au chocolat, rhubard danish and currant studded snails… it’s too hard to choose. The ham and cheese croissants have sold out already so pain au chocolat it is. The filling is nice and moist and makes me wish I’d bought two.
Our coffees arrive and my cappucino is full flavoured but still smooth and creamy. I could have another, but instead I try a sip of my friend’s bottle of Bourke St Bakery’s homemade lemonade from the self service fridge. It is tart, refreshing and delicious. I buy a large bottle of my own along with two slices of pizza to take home: mushroom on one and pancetta, peppers, chilli and ricotta on the other. Ten minutes in the oven at home and they make a satisfying lunch.
Could still squeeze in another pain au chocolat though.
Lamb, Harissa & Almond Sausage Roll
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