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Published January 9th 2014
Comfortable place to sip, reflect, write…
I was in search of a café I could sit, sip chai tea and coffee for sometime to do some reading, a lot of non-political mind numbing reading and writing on how to save our country from the challenges of the 21st century before going back to work after a three week break. The hole-in-the-wall cafes won't do, too small, too cluttered, too much people movement for clear creative thinking. Sometimes that's how I like to spend my time off. Time well spent I think reflecting on these issues, but that's a story for another time. What better place to just sit and reflect than Double Roasters, situated in Sydney's industrial part of Marrickville, away from stifling congestion of the CBD offices.
Location and Ambience
The establishment, which looks like an old warehouse conversion, is situated next to walls of graffiti and billboard posters, directly opposite Wicks Park (where a tennis club is located for those keen racquet players) on busy Victoria Road, with its stream of moving trucks, cars and motorcycles on a weekday. On an overcast day, the establishment reminds me of parts of Berlin in Germany – it's the funky grunge style cafes with great appetising menus that you start to see pop up in former industrial areas. Double Roasters also sits just under a flight path, where you are guaranteed to hear the earth shattering roar of low flying aircrafts heading towards landing at Sydney Airport, interrupting the soft instrumental jazzy music of the establishment. Despite all this, the noise level was comfortable so I didn't need my earphones.
Double Roasters located in Sydney's Inner West suburb of Marrickville
As you walk in, you notice, the dark grey taupe colours of the walls, a large no frills clock face to the right, bamboo décor, open kitchen and coffee roasters, chalkboard specials up above straight ahead, a painter's ladder against five tool boxes vertically stacked together, unlined original ceilings, unpolished rough cement floors, rustic benches with tables decorated with yellow, white and green carnations in vintage milk bottles, repurposed wash basin to the left for guests to wash their hands.
The café is at a comfortable room temperature, no air conditioning and no Aussie flies which is great (how many cafes have you gone to in suburbia where alfresco dining attracts a swarm of the dreaded Aussie fly because sticky tables haven't been wiped down properly). I really think there needs to be a fly-rating index for alfresco dining in Australia. Only discomfort I had was the itches from mozzie bites up my leg from my first garden shed cello lesson I took yesterday (no one told me you shouldn't wear a skirt when learning to play the cello – don't we just love the Australian summer and all its creature discomforts).
If you are going to sit there for a while, then sit at one of the tables with bench seats backed against the backwall as this area is cushioned for long sitting comfort.
Bircher muesli was a comfortable size for me, not too large, not too small, although if you are starving or a big guy, you may need something more substantial for breakfast. It was a cool refreshing breakfast, berry flavour, well softened muesli (not the stuck in your teeth grainy type of bircher muesli) served in a large latte glass and a silver souvenir spoon labelled 'Macksville Nibiscusland NSW'.
Out of curiosity, I wondered where Macksville was so googled it on my iPhone – it's a peaceful fishing and oyster riverside town in Nambucca Valley in northern NSW, which if you were going to walk there from Double Roasters in Marrickville, it would take 4 days 5 hours according to Google maps (presumably non-stop).
The bircher muesli taste was more sour than sweet. The sweetness that you do taste comes from the dates and raisins in it.
The chai pot of tea was served in a heavy iron pot with warm milk in a small vintage jar and honey. Tea leaves were served separately - you add it to the pot. The chai tea was full of flavour and a good balance of many exotic spices - how good chai tea should be.
For coffee addicts, the soy latte was velvety, non-bitter coffee, at the right temperature and milk quantity, which you would expect with a name like Double Roasters.
The service was pleasant and unobtrusive, so you can read and write for hours without interruption but get the service when you need another coffee.
This place is different and interesting with great food, chai tea, coffee and service and great location to do some productive reflection, reading and writing. So much for my non-political saving the country reflection…I ended up writing this article for Weekend Notes instead.