Bianca: The former industrial hub of Waterloo is fast becoming the new ‘it’ suburb with a bounty of new apartment complexes going up the locals need somewhere local to eat! And placed directly across the road from our cousin’s new apartment, is Barista and Cook. We were invited down to try the food, so let’s get stuck into it.
International ex-Dj and owner Alan previously owned BangBang café in Surry Hills for 8 years, before selling in early 2015. Barista boasts an impressive fit-out, light and airy, with sectioned off seating areas. Despite having no obvious floor to ceiling walls to block the room, the café was portioned out into various different seating styles and tables, making for a more interesting space. We particularly loved the front café bench with the prominent white tiles and the large tiled shared table. We’re ‘shiny’ hacks.
Barista and Cook has a bit of everything for everyone; kombucha, fresh juices, Acai bowls, barramundi and salad for the health conscious. Peanut Butter milkshakes, Mac n Cheese toasties and the Southern Fried Chicken for the not so healthy.
Life’s too short to be ordering salad when eating out so I try to avoid it when I can!
We started with a round of beverages. A skim Mocha $4.50, a Peanut Butter milkshake $7.50 and a Refresher juice $7.50. Coffee wasn’t a stand-out, the juice was aptly named providing a bit of a perk to beat the oncoming afternoon slump. But the winner was really the peanut butter milkshake. Yes, I am one of those ridiculous people who orders skim milk with my full fat ice-cream milkshake. Those extra 100 calories make ALL the difference. That’s at least 3 bites of food!! One thing I found that slightly detracted from the shake were the thick pieces of either crunchy peanut butter or blitzed peanuts. The texture was too full on for a beverage.
The lunch menu kicks in at 12pm and when we arrived at 2pm we were told they were rather strict about this. But after a bit of sweet talking we were able to convince them into bringing us Alex’s favourite breakfast dish; an ‘Acai Bowl’ – cacao granola, seasonal fruits, toasted coconut, pistachio nuts $14.50. I’m not a fan of these at all but this was one of the better one’s I’ve tasted. And seemed to be one of the resounding favourites. They served the acai berry mixture much warmer than I have come across anywhere else. Which I preferred as it didn’t induce that ‘brain freeze’ moment.
There was never any question I was going to get the burger. The ‘Grass fed cheeseburger’ – milk bun, house pickles, bacon jam and chip $19. I’ll have to be honest here and say that when it came out I was expecting to be severely disappointed, on looks alone. There seemed to be a large amount of liquid seeping out of the burger virtually drenching the bottom bun. After taking my first bite I drew several conclusions. That it tasted better than it looked and that lettuce has no place on a burger, especially in a cheeseburger! The patty was both flavourful and cooked well with nice visible pinkage I also failed to taste the cheese and the bacon jam and really only realised the presence of the bacon jam when Alan came over to ask what I thought about the burger. The bacon jam was rather delicious when tasted on its own and cutting down on the copious amounts of lettuce in this burger could really elevate it. The thick hand cut chips were crispy, well-seasoned and hard to stop at one. For my Facebook FBAS fatties, a 3.1/5 pickles.
And probably the one item on the menu I was ridic excited to try. The ‘Grilled Mac ‘n’ Cheese Toastie’ – w/ house relish $12.50. If there was one food I’d like to be hand fed for the rest of my life by a shirtless Taylor Kitsch….it would be this sandwich. Mac N Cheese in itself is gorgeously gluttonous but add toasted sourdough and it’s a carb lover’s dream. I’m a huge advocate for mac n cheese in burgers (both loose and crumbed patties) and would happily eat this toasty over and over. Particularly tasty when smeared with the caramelised onion relish.
Deep down inside, Alex is a big buxom black woman. He loves to sing, loves his watermelon and LOVES Fried Chicken. Yes I am being extremely stereotypical, I apologise. So he was immediately drawn to the ‘Southern Fried Chicken’ – w/ chipotle mayo $19.50. Served with a side of ‘Char Grilled Zucchini salad’ – black rice, pickled fennel, radish and pea sprouts. Perhaps my own self-imposed notion, I went in expecting a KFC inspired fried scenario but was met with Mumma FFS chicken schnitzel. Which ultimately wasn’t a bad thing, just not what we were expecting. The fried chicken, was simply breaded and lightly fried, producing a slight crunch. There was a great deal of flavour from the various herbs used in the coating and it paired well with the chipotle mayo. The zucchini salad wasn’t quite as successful. Though I did enjoy the random pop of the black rice.
And lastly, ‘Crispy Pork’ – w/Szechuan pepper, spring onion $20.50. With a side of ‘Sweet Potato salad’ – shaved cabbage, edamame, miso, black sesame, coriander. Another stand-out, the pork was succulent and tender and paired extremely well with the Asian salad. With varying textures and sweet/ sour notes.
Definitely a major coup for the suburb of Waterloo and one to keep in mind when in the area. I have my eyes on the Buckwheat Waffles, so I’ll be back!
Photos by Alex
*For Foods Sake were invited to dine as guests at Barista & Cook by Wasamedia. All opinions however are our own and independent.