The Moody Chef

Coffee: 14/20
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 27/40
Bean: Vittoria

Monday: Working in the Lower North Shore two cafes tend to be on many office workers lips, some café which serves Campos on Willoughby Road and the Moody Chef (which is in fact two different cafes – I’m at the main one, my coworkers go to the small one off Pacific Highway). I thought if it’s the vogue place to go, let’s give it a go.

Found on Atchison Street, just up from the station (near the IBM building), it’s location is as CBD as St Leonard’s gets. Maybe it’s this city feeling, the hour or perhaps it’s just St Leonards but Moody is a reasonably inviting space. It reminds me a lot of Taste Baguette at Sydney University (memories…).

I walk in and expect the place to be quiet, hey it is 8am, but even at this time there is plenty of action here. A large group of serious persons occupy a big wooden table; you can hear the click of high-heels skidding across the worn wooden floor (just thinking about it there is a lot of wood ambiance here). An awkward breakfast meeting beside me just gets worse as someone drops a sausage against one of the huge windows, leaving a grease smear across the newly cleaned windows. And in all this action is centred the noise of the steam wand constantly kissing milk for the steadily growing line of takes away coffees.

A girl comes over to me reasonably quickly as I take a seat, I order a latte (which I had to enforce would be small, it was checked) and a bottle of water is brought to my table. While I was ordering I asked the girl about the big poster on the side of their building which proclaims ‘Vittoria 2010 local café winner’ or such, I asked her if non-Vittoria cafes could enter. She was quite unsure.

The latte came over to me at surprising pace, given the ever growing line of takeaway coffee orders near the door. Proportionally the drink was good, which is nice, I’ve had a lot of shit latte’s recently. There was some nice colouration in the foam, and it had a bit of latte art happening, bit of an heart, which was a little to the left of centre, but hey this is the Lower North Shore.

As you may have picked up this is a Vittoria suppled coffee shop, so bear with me. Tasting it, it is more or less as you would expect a Vittoria coffee to be. A little chocolate like with some sweet fruity undertones the roast ruling the flavour. The taste tends to linger on the sour and acidic side.

Letting it cool, it initially has an interesting and pleasant milk chocolate flavour (yay, an ok Vittoria!), however (oh no…), this is soon replaced by a dominant sour, acidic aftertaste (arrr shit), it all seems like the milk is fighting the Vittoria again. The barista was clearly good and machine fine with some history on it but it’s a total bean fail. I would rate this as close to one of the better Vittoria coffees you can get, take that, as you will.

In the midst of my nerdy coffee analysis I checked out that awkward breakfast meeting beside me again, things were about to get worse. Their two coffees had arrived in normal ‘super giant’ large size. Such was the quantity of milk that one of the drinkers did not anticipate its weight and dropped some on herself (oh no).

Overall, whilst it’s no inner city or inner west place (although it seems to be trying) Moody has it’s own vibe and really captures as cool as a CBD cafe in St Leonards can be. The vibe is inviting and interesting, the coffee is good and the clientele ridiculous (I feel my experiences were unique to that 8am hour). The major letdown was the bean that did not do the experience justice.

1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 8/10
Experience (taste and smell): 6/10
Coffee total: 14/20

2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): corporate cool
Cool?: 6/10
Service: 7/10
Cafe: 13/20
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 27/40

The Moody Chef on Urbanspoon

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