Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 34/40
It’s rare when a café hits a lot of the right marks. You walk in and the staff are chatty and friendly, the vibe is chilled and the coffee is wonderfully put together.
I luckily found such a place that hits all these marks (and more if you’re into your food). What was once The Stables and now Venus Café (not sure why the name change) is a gem of a cafe in Surry Hills that will make most coffee nerds quite happy.
Found at the back of The Stables clothing store (get in via the alley or walk through the store) across the road from the Beresford on Bourke Street, the café (IMO) has one of the best interiors in Sydney.
The interior, reflects the urbanised Surry Hills vibe perfectly. Venus has huge glass windows to the alleyway, allowing sunlight to stream in what would have otherwise been a very dark space. Polished concrete floors and untreated wood clashes well against a floor to ceiling wall of black tiles behind the counter. On warmer days a balcony opens up to the urban jungle behind and on the cooler ones a wall is put in place closing in creating an “inside outside” space. If you’re an Instagram junkie you’re bound to find a few shots you’ll post up.
The staff greeted me as soon as I walked in with some light banter and a fast coffee order. On this occasion I choose not to follow the order a couple of guys in front of me (who went iced lattes) and instead went long black.
The coffee was both light and delicate in texture with a lovely crema. The flavour was citrus like perhaps and if I was going to put a fruit to it, I’d say sweet lemon. There was a slight acidity that stays with you in your throat after a sip with a little smokiness to the nose.
Letting the coffee sit I had a bit of a scope of the place. If you’re into stalking the Surry crowd, the café is undoubtedly a good people watching location. There are a real mix of young urbanites flowing through the space.
Back to the coffee – having let the coffee sit, the acidity of the flavours intensified, bringing out the fruiter edges to the drink (perhaps I was wrong on the flavours, it is perhaps more of a grapefruit than lemon). As an aftertaste there was now something a little more solid than the wispy smokiness then previously mentioned.
Overall, it’s hard not to love the café as there was little to fault with the cafe. The space is very cool, vibe chilled, staff the right sort of attentive and coffee really well made. Just remember to get here early as it starts to close up as it tends to close just after lunch.
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 8/10
Experience (taste and smell): 8/10
Coffee total: 16/20
2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): A designer cafe
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 34/40