I'm a freelance writer living and studying in Sydney
Published February 14th 2014
Lunch for under $10 in Sydney's CBD Get it while it's hot
Since I study, work and live in the Eastern Suburbs I don't generally venture into Sydney CBD for lunch. In truth, I try to avoid the city's hustle and bustle during peak hour pedestrian traffic. The long awaited 'lunch break' is every full time worker's 30 minutes of freedom. They eat, walk, talk, run errands and eat some more. So when the opportunity arose to meet up with a friend I hadn't seen in over a year, I couldn't say no. And so I would have to brave the busy streets of the CBD for a lunch date.
I picked Palomino Espresso after hearing repeatedly good things from Sydney-siders on the world wide web. Claims such as 'best coffee in the city' and 'cheap lunch eats under $10' caught my attention...and evidently everyone else's. When we arrived the place was full to the brim and we were fortunate to snag the window table after only 5 minutes of waiting.
The first thing I looked to was the coffee menu. I'm used to seeing some pretty confusing options on coffee lists but I was even more dazzled by the choice of different blends: house blend, single origin blend, others I hadn't even heard of before! Palomino Espresso taught me that I wasn't the coffee snob I thought I was. Sticking to my guns, I ordered a regular house blend. But in my desperate attempt to remember the order I completely forget to specify what it was that I wanted. Cappuccino, duh! And, I have to admit, it was the nicest cup of coffee I have had in a long time. I instantly regretted not ordering a large.
The menu was quite overwhelming, set out in a large display cabinet full of baked goods. Forgetting that I was here for lunch I found myself tossing up between the raspberry cheesecake brownie and the chocolate peanut butter cake. But, reminding myself that lunch is a savoury meal, I ordered a spinach and cheese pastry parcel. And it was absolutely divine.
One of the best and worst things about Palomino Espresso is that they bake everything fresh on the day so the menu varies daily. I had read about this amazing pretzel stuffed with cream cheese and smoked salmon but unfortunately it was not one of the tempting items sitting in the glass cabinet today. Looks like I will just have to come back again next week.
But this cafe isn't all about sweets and treats. For all those super-food junkies they offer a pretty good looking green smoothie with kale, spinach and other healthy ingredients. But when there is raspberry cheesecake brownie staring you in the face you tend to forget about all your good dieting intentions.
WHERE 61 York Street, Sydney CBD
HOW MUCH Definitely one of the cheaper cafes in the CBD. You can get lunch for under $10 and a regular coffee for $3.50
Open 7am - 4pm This cafe seems like the kind of joint that is always busy but I would avoid the classic lunch break window between 12 and 1pm. Opt for a late lunch or breakfast in order to snag seats.
WHY Because this place is trending as one of Sydney's best lunch spots. Staff are friendly, food is yummy and your wallet will thank you.