When is the appropriate time to introduce yourself to your local and favourite café staff? I think I've missed the boat, as Shortlist in Abercrombie Street, Darlington is over 6 months old now (give or take) and I've been going there weekly ever since it opened its garage-esque roller door. Me and the lovely, pseudo hipster café staff talk shop, talk painting houses, talk about me going to a job interview, hangovers. Nothing is off limits, except the names.
What is in a name anyway? Rumour has it The Shortlist was a temporary name for the café, and on one of its multiple blackboard painted walls there is a list of other potential names including; "This is not a Boat" and the pun-a-licious "See you Latte". However down the track we are still calling it The Shortlist and I think it's stuck.
Their menu is short and sharp. I can't go past their avocado on thick toast, served with S P and lemon oil. Shortlist's ability to have the avocado ripe to perfection is outstanding. Their homemade baked beans with bocconcini and toast soldiers (add chorizo if you fancy) is a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll. And I'm not opposed to red wine in my breakfast dish! Their fruit frappe is like summer in a glass. Their fruit toast is filling and generous. Why aren't there breakfast degustations?
The staff seem like a bunch of friends (and a mum) who got together, found a terrace, filled it with interesting and character-filled odds and ends and opened a café. But it isn't that ad lib. They have a recipe that works, and work they do. The lovely nameless chick (the owner) who makes my amazing coffee informs me that she is pulling 70 hour weeks most weeks. They are a hard working team who have opened a gem in the somewhat rundown Darlington.
They have held a great consistency from day 1. The Shortlist is a little bit homely (their big wooden dining table and general penchant for wood), a little bit grandma (they have tea cosy's in winter), and a bit fancy (they source their ginger ninjas and other pastry's from Black Star Pastry).
Shortlist certainly isn't a boat, and one day maybe I'll find out the name of my favourite Sydney staff, either way The Shortlist certainly is a winner.