Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 28/40
Another wet weekend finds me on the Lower North Shore in Neutral Bay. Having never checked out a coffee here I started searching near the Woolworths on the corner of Young and the popular Grosvoner Street.
Bar Pistevo was my first stop here. I chose it for no other reason in that it was not a chain café like the one next door, not that there is anything wrong with a chain, they meet expectations well, just whose expectations is the question.
Walking in I was approached by a highly friendly barista who called me over to the coffee machine and searched through a series of questions as to what kind of coffee I was after. They seem quite a friendly lot and made an effort, I noticed, with most of their customers. A latte was ordered. The latte was quickly made and brought over to me.
From first impression the coffee art looked a bit like a phoenix falling to earth or a fire just having taken off. Its look and feel was very Campos (that brown saucer) it really was well presented although the saucer did look a little warn.
The aroma of the coffee was quite a developed flavour, reasonably rich in its layering and quite fun to smell. It smelt like quite an Campos Roast, but ad a little earthiness.
Tasting wise it was very true to the flavours of a Campos coffee from their Newtown store, earthy, reasonably well rounded, with a touch of fruitiness, toffee like sweatiness and quite soft to the taste. The only thing missing tasting wise, in comparison with the Newtown flagship store was the depth of the flavours. It could have been the machine which was just missing the strength of the abilities of the rig set up in Newtown or it simply could have been a slight under extraction of the grounds.
Letting it rest, I found the flavours to plateau a little, they were just not developing, as one would expect. There was still a nice result it just did not have the finale as with the bean’s owners. The best result with flavours here is swishing the drink in your mouth.
Taking a while to take in my fellow customers, I found them to be an amusing lot this is no inner west or inner east crowd. A real mix of ages, there was a middle-aged couple on what seemed to be a coffee date. An elderly couple struggling with the concept of a coffee in a glass “this is not what I expected” and two 20 something girls gossiping.
I must say I found it amusing, the number of ‘extra hot’ orders. The barista did a good job explaining to people that milk has a burning temperature, not that this was believed by the insistent residents.
Overall, for my first experience in Neutral Bay, I’m afraid I’ve stumbled onto one of the suburbs better options. The café has: friendly knowledgeable (and patient) staff; a nice coffee well executed (although not perfect by any shot); and a decent location for the suburb. While Bar Pistevo is not going to draw in Sydney coffee tourists, if you’re a local to the area I’d say it’s a good option to try out.
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 7/10
Experience (taste and smell): 7/10
Coffee total: 14/20
2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): Alexandria café north shore-ised.
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 28/40