The Counter in Petersham hits all the right notes with great food, a casual atmosphere and a set of lovely people. It's a cloudy Saturday when we make our way to the inner west cafe for lunch. A stone's throw away from the train station, The Counter is just up along Audley Street.
The beef brisket burger with harissa, aioli, cheddar cheese, crunchy slaw comes with a side of crinkle cut potato crisps ($12). Intensely salty, the beef brisket is the perfect balance for the sweetness of the soft brioche bun. It's a messy feat getting through this burger, but so worth it. You can't go wrong with aioli, especially in a burger.
The Counter serves all-day breakfast, so I giddily order the haloumi bruschetta with zucchini ribbons, lemon, chilli, parsley and raisins ($15, extra egg $3). It's fresh, it's zingy, and it's healthy. I love that there's a hunk of lemon on the plate to squeeze over the haloumi. The raisins are what make this bruschetta a standout, adding a deliciously sweet and fruity element to the otherwise salty and sour dish. My only qualm would probably be that I was hoping it would be spicy, but the specks of chilli are seedless and thereby lacking heat.
You can get sandwiches for only $8.50 or something on the sweeter side like the hotcakes with salted caramel, iced banana yoghurt and candied pecans. For family outings, there's also a cute 'For little peeps' menu. Specials are scrawled onto a chalkboard. Today it's The Counter's version of nasi goreng, funnily enough made with smoked speck. Owner Mariella says they like getting a bit adventurous with the menu. She's having it for lunch today, which is how I'm able to take a quick snap of it.
To end our meal, we have a go at an epic slice of quince tart with caramel and chopped almonds as well as a raspberry, coconut & macadamia brownie. Needless to say, we couldn't finish these bad boys, but only because we were stuffed. These goodies are baked in-house. I especially love the pastry and frangipane-style filling of the quince tart. And if you're feeling satiated, take one home I say.
I've already had my coffee earlier, so I decide to try The Hugo, a refreshing concoction of fresh lemon, panela and apple juice ($5). It's light and easy to drink. Coffee drinkers will like that they can get Coffee Alchemy here - both house blends and single origins. Teas are by Chamellia.
The Counter has a friendly feel with an added quirk factor. Recycled chairs hang on the wall, adorned with potted plants. Outside seating is punctuated with tables made of wooden pallets. It's mostly subdued colour-wise, except for a splash of yellow seen in The Counter signage fastened to some railing outside.