Writer, musician, lover of life and all things related to eating and drinking.
Published February 23rd 2012
Whatever the weather, it's always hot at Sazo'n Espresso in Mt Barker, and although the Adelaide Hills can be unpredictably cold and wet this time of the year, Sazo'n always has the best cup of coffee. This is one cafe that is well worth the trip.
This small coffee-shop has grown to be one of the most popular cafes in the Adelaide hills. Its Mexican-inspired flavour manifests itself in the menu and in the decor. Renovations in early 2011 have allowed the cafe to grow and blossom into something magical - funky retro-Mexican tiles line the partially-exposed walls, giving an intimate and exotic vibe to the place.
Having moved out of my Mt Barker home earlier this year, I relinquish any opportunity to grab a coffee and bite to eat at this fantastic cafe. Given the chance to house-sit for an entire week recently, I was in heaven being able to visit the cafe every single day. Each visit was greeted with a happy smile from co-owner Jose Estrella (who, I swear, spends every second of the day tied to that coffee machine) and a delicious and different dish to try.
Sazo'n's menu is simple but it works. Breakfast options range from from fruit and muesli to various big breakfast-style dishes suiting vegetarian and carnivore alike. The mushroom omelette is always a winner, because really, you can never have enough mushrooms, right?
Lunch is just as simple but even more delicious. Sazo'n's own home-made bread bases are topped with your choice of ingredients to make up the famous Sazo'n Round. The range of lunch quesadillas carry on the Mexican flair of the cafe, and are light and wholesome with fresh avocado and a delicious home-made tomato salsa. If you're after something even lighter, there are a range of hearty salads - all made fresh to order. There are plenty of gluten-free options for lunch and sweet dishes.
Co-owner and chef Oswaldo Estrella creates food that delights and inspires with its simple complexity and authenticity of flavours. The ingredients are fresh, the options are simple, the treats are homemade and the food is served with a smile. That's why it works.
And the pièce de résistance - the coffee. I don't know how he does it, but Jose makes literally the best coffee I have ever tasted - and I drink a lot of coffee.
If you're not a coffee-drinker, a Mexican Hot Chocolate is sure to satisfy on those crisp Adelaide Hills mornings. An indulgence of rich Belgian chocolate and infused with spices of cinnamon and clove, the Mexican Hot Chocolate is one of the most popular drinks at Sazo'n. Does a bit of spice tickle your fancy? Ask for a dash of red chilli to heat things up -
Sazo'n also features a range of fine teas, freshly-squeezed juices and milkshakes, to satisfy a broad range of palates.
HINT: The Adelaide Hills Farmers Market is just around the corner from this fabulous cafe. Head to the markets before noon every Saturday and then grab breakfast at Sazo'n - they serve brekkie until 2pm each Saturday.