As King Street overflows because real estate has become scarce, there has been a growing trend of old corner shops being revived into cafes. One such place, tucked away from the hubbub of Newtown, is Cafe ism.
Cafe ism is a panoramic suburban sanctuary with high bar tables, and open windows overlooking Hollis park. It's on the corner of Wilson and Randle Street and both are lined with thick trees, bursting out of the ashfelt.
Staff seemed genuinely pleased to be there with friendly smiles all round. The menu covered most bases (light, healthy, vegetarian, big breakfast) including a few specials (Bacon & Egg Roll $8.50 or B.L.A.T $12).
I ordered the Halloumi Stack ($16) with smashed avocado on organic toasted sourdough which was topped off with two poached eggs. I added a side of bacon for an extra $4 which was a generous serve.
I'm a fussy egg eater and it's rare for a cafe to cook eggs to my liking no matter how detailed the instructions; however much to my surprise (especially as I forgot to advise my requests) the eggs were poached to perfection. Soft enough to be spreadable but not undercooked.
The halloumi was piled high on a bed of baby spinach and there was a drizzle of aioli which added a hint of richness.
The coffee was excellent. Often in Sydney, I receive coffee that is too hot to drink (or hold). At Cafe ism, it was strong with a slightly bitter, chocolatey aftertaste and served at just the right temperature. Not so hot I couldn't drink it, but hot enough to remain warm whilst I ate my breakfast.
There is on-street parking available (1 hour) and I managed a park right outside, although I'd imagine on the weekends parking might be more difficult. It's walking distance from Macdonaldtown station and also Carriageworks.
Overall, I found it difficult to fault Cafe ism with its speedy service, well-priced menu, friendly staff, tasty food, excellent coffee and pleasant views. Definitely worth seeking out.
Brunch specials include a bacon & egg roll for $8.50 at Cafe ism, Newtown.