Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 35/40
A mate of mine, Lachlan, has a classic sense of where the good coffee is. When he told me last Saturday morning to come check out Brewtown in Newtown in the old Berkelouw bookshop space I jumped on it. Last time I chose to ignore his suggestion the coffee shop became the SMH’s new café of the year and the lines became unbeatable.
Brewtown is the second development from the guys behind Surry Hills classic Gnome is everything you’d expect from a Surry café but with some grungy(ish) Inner West charm. It’s instantly charming, friendly and hipster cool. High ceilings, expensive coffee machinery and gnomes.
Walking in, the café was pumping; we were offered bench seats, which suited us just fine. The staff took our orders on the spot and served up sparkling mineral water (best to cleanse your pallet with). I ordered a macchiato and Lachlan a piccolo.
Given the quantity of people the coffees came quickly. The latte art while less evident on my macchiato and more so on Lachlan’s piccolo was fantastic, heat dead on, presentation quirky and decorative.
On the bottom of each saucer is a Gnome, the guy behind the bar said there a few saucer floating about with a coffee bean instead. If you end up under your drink your coffee is on the house (worth a look). Innovation in cafes is rare and this is really a nice bit of additional charm.
The macchiato was both delicately acidic and reasonably well bodied. The flavours were rich, yet a little dirty and sitting on the raw side of your taste buds, a balanced drink between roast and the bean’s origins. I believe this was made using their own “Metropolis” blend. It has to be one of the best coffees I’ve had in 2013.
As we sat I was tempted into breakfast and Lachlan a cronut. Some oddity between donut and croissant, I stole a bit – the sugar and cinnamon flavour on the pasty filling was a killer combo
Along with my breakfast (the corn beef if you’re wondering) I could not help it and ordered a latte. The temperature of the drink was again at a good range. The coffee art again great, ratio of foam to milk spot on.
The beans for the latte were the Casablanca blend instead of the Metropolis. The coffee’s aroma was unsurprisingly quite different to the espresso with this drink having distinct caramel and chocolate like flavours, sitting a reasonably bodied and punchy bean. I preferred the Metropolis bean a little more, but agree it would just get lost with so much milk.
Overall, if I was going to pick a new café for 2013, why not one of the last I visit for the year. The staff were great, service seamless, café space wonderful the unlimited mineral water an unexpected pleasure, food great and espresso coffee equal to that of Campos, with not a bad latte option either! I’m excited to see how this café goes as they open up filter and drip coffee options. Newtown, you’ve done it again.
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 9/10
Experience (taste and smell): 8/10 (macchiato better than the latte)
Coffee total: 17/20
2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): Surry Hills Reuben Hills exploded into Newtown
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 35/40