Artarmon is one of Sydney’s less familiar inner city suburbs. In the past I’ve only known it for one purpose – the Home HQ shopping centre. Now I’m not saying there’s suddenly a stack of new restaurants and wine bars, far from it. But Artarmon does now have one special spot in the form of Salvage Speciality Coffee. It’s a venture set up by three experienced baristas. And, as you’ll read here there’s now a good excuse to venture further north than Crows Nest for a weekend breakfast, or lunch.
Salvage Speciality Coffee is a stone’s throw from Artarmon train station. The good news is that the location is relatively peaceful – it’s on a pedestrian lane way come piazza which makes a nice change when you’re used to cafes with outdoor seating that literally spills over onto a busy road.
The downside? You don’t have the option of finding a cosy indoor spot that’s protected from Sydney’s winter weather – because all but a couple of seats are outside. But, as long as it’s not raining and the heaters are on you’ll be more than happy that you made the trip when you see the menu. Just don’t do as I did and dress for spring in winter.
And do take note that it’s a busy spot – so don’t linger watching for the next free table – instead put your name on the blackboard wait list. That way you’ll avoid a ‘I was here first’ dispute with an equally hungry stranger.
Before ordering I couldn’t resist scanning the tables to see what’s popular. Although tempted by a big bowl of ‘Homegrown Soup’ with sourdough I decided to be more adventurous – to see if a spot known for its ‘go out of your way’ for coffee offers food to match. So I opted for the salmon fillet served with watercress and fennel purée as well as a soft egg.
The salmon is a $16 dish that’s presented like a $30 dish. Ok it’s not a huge salmon fillet, but combined with the egg and slice of sourdough it makes for a filling lunch. And it’s no ordinary sourdough – as it’s sourced, along with the pastries, from St Malo Bakery in Crows Nest. As you’ll see here when the soft egg oozes into the puree you’ll want to pause to capture the moment on photo.
My husband opted for the Croque Madame – a mouth-watering combination of ingredients on sourdough. I did have a cheeky bite and boy it was good. As I write this a week later, he tells me that he can still taste it. Finally a dish that distracted him from his gourmet burger obsession.
Don’t leave without trying a Salvage Speciality Coffee – Mecca beans combined with creamy Jersey milk and experienced baristas make for coffee that has probably seen others in Artarmon lose long standing customers. And at Salvage you can experiment beyond your usual latte or flat white – as there’s a selection of alternative brewing types on offer including slow drip.
I’ll admit before my next point that I’m childless (unless you count my two dogs) and don’t have plans to change that. So for me the downside of visiting Salvage Speciality Coffee was what seemed like a whole class room of children who were either running wild or distracting their young parents desperately trying to do lunching like they did before kids came along. But maybe I’m to blame – I did choose to visit at peak time on a Saturday.
Post my visit to Salvage Speciality Coffee I now know Artarmon for three things – Home HQ, Salvage Speciality Coffee and Artarmonites with their +2 demanding children. I’ll be back for more of the second but next time I’ll wrap up warmer and try something a bit naughtier.
By Feast Wisely
- 5 Wilkes Avenue, Artarmon NSW 2064
- Open Monday – Friday 6.30 to 2.30, Saturday 7.30 to 2pm & Sunday 8am – 1pm
- Twitter – @salvagecoffee
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