Ampersand Cafe & Bookstore, Surry Hills

Coffee: 15/20
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 28/40

The main strip of Surry / Crown is notorious for getting a table at lunch. Often most people’s experience of new cafe’s in the area is that they are unable to get a table at their usual cafe and forced to move on. Luckily for me I don’t mind where I end up as I’m typically trying a new place every time.

The next stage in my Surry cafe crawl has landed me at Ampersands Book Shop Cafe, across from the public library and Clock Hotel. This cafe is clearly a popular choice due to its location, developed food options and its opening onto the public square.

Your experience will start with you standing in the middle of the café’s main doorway, this is a cafe where you are seated by staff, and staff will police this well, so do as you should and block the doorway till you’re found a seat.

I was told when I arrived that there were no tables available so waited on the grassy area till a table freed itself up. I did not have to wait long. As I was seated I had my coffee ordered, my second and last latte of the day (I can really only take two milk based coffees in one day). They also left a menu with me to order lunch.

The latte was quick to be produced and I reckon looked pretty good! The milk was silky, the colouring was complex and milk to foam ratio only a little off.

The aroma of the drink was of rich cocoa flavours, mixed with a bold and developed roast smell. I could not pick the bean, but it’s a fun one.

Tasting it I found both cherry and coca flavours mixed in with that roasted aroma. It’s a reasonably bold drink that is somewhat smooth and quite enjoyable.

While waiting for my food and letting the drink cool I scoped out the patrons they were a far more developed Surry crowd than I found at Kantine. More couples and slightly older persons although there was a real mix to the place.

Letting my coffee sit, I found brought out more the bold cocoa flavour further, leaving it to become a little smoother in the mouth and become a little more acidic in its nature.

Overall, sitting inside or outside here is a pleasant experience; the relaxed vibe outside is nicely balanced against the organised ‘chaotic’ second hand book library inside. The staff are efficient and busy and however clearly under pressure and don’t feel comfortable. The coffee is a solid choice, made well and stands as an great option for the area.

1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 7/10
Experience (taste and smell): 8/10
Coffee total: 15/20

2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): Exactly how picture Surry café should be.
Cool?: 7/10
Service: 6/10
Cafe: 13/20
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 28/40

Ampersand on Crown Cafe & Bookstore on Urbanspoon

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