Mecca Espresso Ultimo had only been trading for four months when it was announced as winner of Best Cafe in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Cafe Guide.
Since then, business has been brisk at this corner cafe, far removed from its previous incarnation as a struggling Gloria Jeans outlet. The premise has been completely refurbished: a mixture of recycled timbers, bare brick walls and old wooden school chairs that will take you straight back to high school English classes.
Mecca Espresso Ultimo
The crowd is a happy mix of ABC staffers, local business workers and TAFE and university students and staff. Cosy tables for two are always the first to go, but there's usually a spot at the long communal table at the front.
Mecca coffee is worth the accolades - full-bodied, intense but balanced and without any residual bitterness. We've gone through a range of flat whites, cappuccinos, lattes and iced coffees. Even the mocha gets a chirpy thumbs up by the Sugar Addict, revelling in the rare marriage of strong coffee with bittersweet chocolate. The coffee beans are roasted at the Mecca Espresso roastery in Chippendale. A selection of Single Origin roasts as well as a standard house blend are available each day.
The third outpost of Mecca Espresso has been designed "as a destination for the coffee community with an emphasis on education, exploration and experimentation". Free coffee cupping sessions, where the public can sample, compare and evaluate different coffees and their flavour profiles, have been a huge success and are quick to book out.
Smashed chickpea sandwich $10.50
with roasted eggplant, tomato and parsley
The menu is short and sweet. Breakfast is served until 12pm and includes sourdough, fruit toast, panini and prosciutto and cheese crossiants. Lunch consists of five types of sandwiches and four salads, available 12pm til 3pm.
A smashed chickpea sandwich is a shining example that carbs on carbs can only be a good thing (chip sandwiches are another). It's a deliciously textural delight, the smoosh of cumin-seasoned chickpeas served up with roasted eggplant, thick slices of tomato and picked parsley leaves.
The tuna sandwich may appear simple in design, but it's the little things that make this special, like the good quality fillets of firm tuna, the chunky segments of soft-boiled egg and the briny bursts of capers hidden among the tomato and salad leaves.
Cumin spiced pumpkin salad $13
with roast capsicum, ricotta, mint, baby spinach and mixed seeds
Cumin spiced pumpkin salad is another winner, appearing ridiculously healthy and tempting. Bright green baby spinach leaves, soft chunks of caramelised pumpkin and slices of roasted red capsicum are smothered in creamy ricotta and scattered generously with a crunch of pumpkin and pepita seeds. It's quite a large portion size too - providing a perfect justification for dessert after lunch.
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Coffee cupping sessions are held every Thursday and Saturday at 11.30am. Sessions are free but must be booked in advance (limited to 6 people). Booking information
Cafe - Single Origin Roasters, Surry Hills
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7/08/2011 02:30:00 a.m.