Art Gallery of NSW – Cafe

Coffee: 10/20
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 23/40

A wet long weekend finds Nerd 2 and I at the Art Gallery of NSW, having seen the Treasures of Afghanistan exhibition (wonderful). We headed downstairs for a late lunch.

There are two eating destinations at the Gallery, The fancy upstairs joint and the downstairs café, we headed down.

From initial appearances the cafe presents itself well. An open kitchen, inside and outside sitting options and a nice colour tone with lots of white marble throughout (as you’d expect from the Gallery).

Given it was the Sunday of a Long Weekend the line was long. Nerd 2 and I worked as a team to fight through it. I’d order, she go on table duty.

The line flowed well and lunch, plus a latte and a green tea was soon ordered and (hopefully) on their way.

The wait for both latte and food was not too long, although in saying that the wait for the green tea was another 10mins until nerd 2 just went up to the serving area to get it.

The latte’s presentation was disappointing, but not overly unexpected given the quantity of people and the solo barista behind the machine. The coffee I would describe looked as stressed as the staff felt. Hastily poured and quickly stirred as it settled before presentation to the table, heatwise it was a little cool to the touch and saucer had remnants of a cappuccino before it.

The aroma of the drink was reasonable and  you would say quite safe with the slight milk chocolate flavour to the nose. Taste wise it was a very traditional coffee (safe) in its flavours aiming to suit everyone (perhaps suiting the crowd?). There was a dominant chocolate flavour, with hints of the roaster with a smoky ting in the nose. It was a very milk dominated drink.

Letting it cool (which was not to hard given its heat at arrival) the flavours tended to intensify around both the milk and chocolate tones, not a bad flavour at all.

Overall, while likely a brilliant and charming cafe on a quiet weekday, come Sunday of a Long Weekend the cafe had stressed the staff and faculties their breaking points. Tables you’ll likely you may clean yourself (although they did get this under control). Water glasses rare to find (again they got more staff on and it came under control) and food while good is inconsistent in quality (likely due to wait time to server time – likely to have come under control later in the day). The coffee, while likely a crowd pleaser, is not doing the cafe’s location justice. I would have loved to see beans to match exhibitions (like their meals) rather than a stock standard bean.

Just to note I’ve been here previous on a quieter Saturday and it was a far better staff and coffee experience, I do like the place post gallery run. But for this experience –

1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 5/10
Experience (taste and smell): 5/10
Coffee total: 10/20

2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): A slightly worn-down The NSW Art Gallery
Cool?: 7/10
Service: 4/10
Cafe: 13/20
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 23/40

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