Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 30/40
At least to me, an unsurprising connection is that people who like art typically also like coffee of the wanky variety. Museum cafes have picked up on the first point and, more often than not, realise they have a captive audience and so serve shit coffee at high prices which their customers (Art Gallery of NSW I’m looking at you) which fools like me will still buy.
There is perhaps nowhere better equipped in using the captive audience café theory than the MCA at Circular Quay. Firstly, coffee in the city is generally rubbish on weekends with the heralds of the city coffee scene closed, with only a few notable expectations – Workshop and Gumption who are a bit of a trek away from the MCA. Secondly, the view from the MCA’s café is simply one of the best in Sydney and why not serve up rubbish at high prices with a view like this?
The good news is the coffee at the MCA’s Sculpture Terrace café is far from shit, it’s actually pretty good.
Having checked out the Light exhibition this Saturday I thought it would be a good move to finally review a café I’ve been to a few times with my mate Chris, who, as a law student, seems to treat this café as one of his many studying homes.
I got here at 2:30pm, deliberately as if you want anything other than a hair pulling shitfight for a table don’t come for lunch. I lined up and ordered what the couple in front of me ordered – a piccolo latte.
The people at MCA’s café are an interesting mix of parents with small children looking like they are ready to crack, tourists with unbelievably large cameras and random weirdos (like me) looking cool reading their phones.
The coffee came out to me quickly enough and I was impressed at the simple artwork, heat of the drink and speed that it had come from creation to me – it was still settling as it was sat down.
The coffee – Little Marionette had a quite sweet aroma with a hint of the roaster lingering.
Sipping it, the coffee was very flavourful. Milk chocolate mixed with something acidic like an orange with some of the roasters smokiness coming through.
I’m a happy camper.
Letting it sit brought out some of the hidden bitterness of the drink and this will go two ways with you. Either you’ll love the flavourful pungent coffee and it’ll delight you. Or you’ll be overwhelmed by the new strong bitter flavours and feel like you’ve been punched in the face. I fell into the first, but you’re forgiven if you think it’s more like the second experience.
Overall, the MCA’s Sculpture Terrace Café is a pretty wonderful experience. The view is killer and the coffee is well above other options in the area on a weekend and still a very good drink any day of the week. Where it will let you down is if you’re here during lunchtime, which I know will make this dreamy café experience feel like a circle of hell in a fight to the death for a table.
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 poor mans Quay with a better view.
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 30/40