Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 27/40
What hits the spot more than a good gym session? Well, don’t feel you really need to answer but a gym session and a coffee works right? This morning I find myself mixing it with Robbie Deans, mothers, fitness junkies and creative types at Zach’s Kafe Kitchen in St Leonards.
Another somewhat hidden gem ‘round St Leonards way, Zacks Kafe Kitchen is a hive of constant activity from 6am to 3pm, with waves of workers steaming in before 9, at 11 and at 1 and gym goers and mothers at 10, 12 and 2. Working near Zacks for the last 3 months, I’ve come here quite a bit and truth be told it has been a bit of a hit or miss experience.
Luckily, for Zacks in the last few weeks, the young guy they have picked up working the espresso machine is a gun, and FIX down the road in Crowie, through the old parking lot and down the back alleyway seems now just a bridge (or car park) to far.
I arrived at around 12pm (11:57 to be exact) perfect to come in just before that lunch rush. While there is always a table floating about getting service can be surprisingly tricky for a small place (when getting food + coffee).
On this occasion, maybe it was my overworked brain, but I could not work out what was happening here. I stood in line and ordered – latte and a sandwich – the guy, who served me looked at me strangely and I looked back, “mate take a number” he said to me (“but which?” I thought as there were an array of 5!) then he went and served someone else. But where do I pay? I then joined the take away coffee line to pay. The guy there seemed equally confused, “but you pay there!” he exclaimed… My sandwich never made it.
Once I had gone through this process I took at seat and waited to see if anything I ordered would arrive. I assessed the place in this time. The key tables on this cold day where capitalised early so I took a seat inside at a long bench, till one opened up. It’s a rather nice spot and feels quite connected to the green patch just outside.
The coffee came out at a good pace (note: to me not my number) and whilst there are some supply chain issues happening, looked pretty swish. Solid art, reasonable proportions (properly a little thick on the foam). Nice heat and a great silky look.
The coffee had a bit of a rich fruity perfumed aroma to it. Chatting to some other people in my office about it, they disagree with me on the aroma, thinking it was more milk choc sweet, but I reckon they are well off the mark on that call.
Drinking it I found the flavors to follow the aroma, revealing a fruity sweet, smooth and well balanced drink it really is the sort of espresso which works well with the milk, not sure it works as well as a long black, but I’m sure if that’s your go, the barista could pull it off.
Overall, Zach’s comes off quite well. It’s not the best coffee in Sydney, but it’s comfortably good, more so when the young barista is on. I find it is a solid choice if you’re in the area, and while my food service sucked it’s not always this way. In the end the real winning element of the cafe is the relaxed leafy green feel of the cafe. Well away from a busy road it just feels ideal on a sunny winter’s day. I could not agree more with this quote from another review which said “(t)his is the sort of cafe that everyone wants right near their office”, yes, you could walk further for something better, but it’s a solid call when you don’t want to.
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 8/10
Experience (taste and smell): 7/10
Coffee total: 15/20
2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): if your local fitness first was a nice cafe
Service: 5/10 (note: take away has great service)
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 27/40