Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 18/40
Saturday: Home to all things somewhat classy, I decided on a wet Saturday morning to give the David Jones Espresso Bar (CBD) a try. Found in the Food Hall under Market Street (the men’s store) the Food Hall is hive of interesting food and random products.
The Espresso Bar, from first sight promises to be a yester-year experience. The floor is tilled in those interesting small mosaic patterns; there is that classic 1940-60’s sexy green leather on the seats and what every experience needs, a nice long bar made from white marble, with hooks for your hat or jacket beside each seat. In fact if you research it a bit, this spot is the home to one of Sydney’s first espresso machines (1955, the first was 1952). However, this, I’m afraid, is where the experience goes lop-sided.
I grab a seat at the bar, and quickly notice a sign ‘service only at registerer’ or something to that effect, odd, for a high-class experience. Upon going up to the till I find the staff, uninterested and almost aggressive in taking my order (although I was annoying and asked them which bean they were using). I ordered a long black, and a number was given to me.
The bar attracts a different sort of person then I usually experience in my coffee drinking, it’s a far older crowd here and they are typically far more open for a chat about their coffee. On this thought I asked a nice couple beside me about their coffee and why they came here, they replied they enjoyed coming back to a place which they have fond memories for.
The coffee took a ridiculously long time to make it to me, and when it did, it was flat and disappointing. Served with a plastic spoon, yesteryear became more a modern cheap café experience, more what you would find at an airport café then in a food hall. The crema was a little thin and heat of the coffee questionable, even for a long black.
The aroma is that rich dark, slightly sweet roasted Italian coffee smell, which we all knows sits with a classic Vittoria product. I am told that the espresso bar typically uses a special Vittoria blend. However, the bags in the bin and the taste and smell looks like and smelt the normal blend, which is not to bad, but just not that exciting.
Taste wise, this coffee also fitted into that traditional Vittoria blend/ drink. Dark, bold a little fruity (more a berry) taste, it was smooth, non-bitter and rather bland, without any exciting about it. I also thought that perhaps the coffee tasted a little stale, but that could have just been the underwhelming experience I was tasting.
Overall, this whole experience made me (and my fellow partitions, who I talked to) quite sad. With such a lovey location, with such a grand history, this place should be more mecca for us coffee nerds, but sadly its just relic of something special. David Jones, please ditch the coffee beans get some eccentric baristas in and ditch the plastic spoons.
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 4/10
Experience (taste and smell): 4/10
Coffee total: 8/20
2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): A rundown yesteryear coffee experience, could be a New York Madmen event
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 18/40