At first glance, the art installation on the wall outside Caffissimo at the Art Gallery (aka The Art Gallery café), is a seemingly random collection of colours and empty spaces, rather quaintly made out of the various coffee coloured coffee-cups: lattes, espresso, frothy cappuccino.
While many cafes located in public spaces tend to be afterthoughts, plenty of thought of obviously gone into the design of Café. From the oh-so-funky eclectic collection of chairs and stools to the upside down pot plants hanging from the ceiling, you can tell you are sitting – if not in, then very close – to an art gallery.
The Café is open for breakfast every day (7.30am weekdays and a rather leisurely 9.30am on weekends) but for once I wasn't in search of breakfast but lunch, accompanied by my occasionally fussy five year old.
Since this was the first time I had been to the Art Gallery Café, I suspect the menu changes to reflect the current exhibitions, because it certainly had a US feel to it when I visited which may have been influenced by the new New York photographic retrospective.
Dishes available include burgers ($17), open faced deli sandwiches ($15) duck confit or chicken liver parfait ($27/$14) and battered whiting ($21). Prices range from $8 soup (including the very New York Matzo ball soup) to the $29 pork belly.
I ordered the chicken and brie burger ($17) and was confronted with a huge mound of chicken (juicy thigh meat, in little bite sized pieces), sweet caramelised onion, salad and pesto. The chips were a bit light on in flavour and the 'salad' on the side was a bit limp, but the burger was generous and tasty.
For my daughter I ordered the 'NYC' hot dog. I specifically asked for it to only have tomato sauce and to leave out the mustard and onions it is meant to be served with. I'm happy to say that the second one they bought out was exactly as I asked for it.
Now I've never been to New York, so never tried an authentic NYC hot dog. Thus, I didn't realise they were so smoky. So a word of warning, if you're trying to feed a kid with rather plain Jane tastes, best leave the NYC hot dog to the NYC locals.
The café also has a range of cakes and sweet goodies, and as it is a Caffissimo, it obviously does coffees. It is also licensed and has a range of wines available for sale. On Friday nights a restricted 'bar menu' is available.
The outdoor area is perfect for partaking in a glass of wine