Monday, April 22, 2013
Something for Jess, Chippendale
Some people buy their loved one a box of chocolates. Others name a cafe after them. If that's not enough to make you smile, then the seasonal menu and eclectic decor at this charming little cafe is sure to win you over.
Owner and chef Philip Ocampo named Something for Jess after his partner. He opened this quaint cafe after making the rounds of Sydney food markets with his organic Mexican food stall. Something for Jess, he says, is about seasonal organic produce and working with other local businesses.
Something for Jess
Ladder menu by the front door
An old wooden ladder is the only noticeable feature from the street. Inside is a hodge podge collection of furniture that would make any hipster weep with envy. "We didn't buy any of the furniture," says Ocampo. "We found it all on the street. Even the crockery has all been donated by friends."
Mismatched furniture with fresh flowers on every table
Chairs and stools
Vintage may be all well and good, but there's a humble beauty in the reuse of castoffs here. The water glasses are a merry mix of the 1970s, and there are more ladders in here than a hardware shop. Fresh flowers on every table are a rare and thoughtful touch.
Cakes and sandwiches to go
There are three kinds of sandwiches ready to go from the display at the front. The sandwiches are huge, packed with delicious sounding combinations like smoked chicken with hummus and avocado, or shaved baby fennel with fresh ricotta. The sandwiches are priced at $10 or less.
Ready-made sandwiches $8.50-$10
and homemade muffins and friands $4-$4.50
Weekly blackboard menu and produce of the week
The menu changes weekly according to what's in season. There's a smaller blackboard that highlights the "produce of the week". About 90 per cent of the vegetables used comes from his mother-in-law's garden in Kurrajong in the Blue Mountains, Ocampo explains. He also works closely with local producers, using Pepe Saya butter from Tempe, Serendipity Ice Cream from Marrickville and sourcing his bread from Luxe in Newtown.
Roast pork belly
The kitchen is small, with Ocampo working with just one oven and a grill press.
Smoked trout $14
with beetroot puree, French radish, red roasted capsicum and creme fraiche on toast
The smoked trout yields a bountiful pile of accompaniments, curls of smoky roasted capsicum spilling down a mountain of rocket leaves, tomatoes, creme fraiche and impossibly thin slices of tiny French radishes. The fish itself is soft and smoky, and almost buttery in its richness.
And yes, how awesome is their vintage patterned crockery?
Twice-cooked pork belly $14.50
on open sandwich with chilli jam, pickled red cabbage and roasted apple puree
The twice-cooked pork belly is all mine. It's a hefty-sized sandwich, laden down with two slabs of roast pork, zingy red cabbage and a puddle of chilli jam that has plenty of kick. The pork is juicy, fatty and succulent, made even sweeter with silky dollops of roasted apple puree.
Piccolo Five Senses coffee $3.50
They use Five Senses coffee here. Today's single origin coffee is the La Traversia, Guatemala, noted for its caramel and dark cocoa notes.
Mixed berry friand $4.50
The mixed berry friand is unlike the countless others you've encountered. The inside is, yes, moist, but it's the crusty outer edges that win me over, all caramelised and slightly chewy. It's worth hunting down.
Macaroon affogato with Serendipity ice cream $5
And if you can't decide between coffee or dessert, get both and order the affogato. This week it comes with macaroon ice cream from Serendipity - the coconut dessert, not the misspelt French meringue. Rich espresso and quality ice cream make this a treat worth savouring, and scraping to the very last drop.
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Something for Jess
27-39 Abercrombie Street, Chippendale, Sydney
(corner of Abercrombie and O'Connor Streets)
Tel: +61 (0)404 753 530
Monday to Friday 7am-3pm
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