It's no secret that Circa Espresso is my favourite cafe in Parramatta. Man, I LOVE that place. I love that someone saw potential in Parramatta and realised that Westies love good cafes, trendy fitouts, good food, good coffee...and they love not having to leave Parramatta to have it. I love that someone turned west off George Street and not east and didn't open another bloody cafe in Surry Hills. We love cafes in Western Sydney too you know!
And now the guys behind Circa cafe have crossed the (railway) tracks and opened up their second espresso bar, Three Ropes. Nestled in tiny space that was formerly the manky Parramatta Hotel's bottle shop Three Ropes has transformed a nondescript laneway into a groovy little espresso bar that would rival anything you'd find in Melbourne in terms of great coffee and "cool factor".
I visited the cafe for a takeaway coffee on my way to work on the second morning they were open (yes, I'm keen). Ordering through the side shutter made the whole exercise feel a bit like a food truck (and we all know how much I LOVE those). I was REALLY keen to head back for a proper visit but as they're not open on weekends (I know right, so sad) I had to time my visit to fit in around my commute to work.
The cafe really is the definition of "hole-in-the-wall" with only a few tables inside and a smattering of outdoor stools to perch on in the
laneway outside (eat your heart out Melbourne, we've got cool laneways
too). I started my brunch with a lovely Skinny Cappuccino ($3.50) and it was perfect.
The cafe has no kitchen to speak of, so it's freshly made toasted sandwiches and sweet treats all around. I asked for "something with no meat" and was presented with a seriously delicious toasted Turkish-bread sandwich ($6.00) that barely contained its filling of (free-range) egg, home-made chutney and rocket.
It's not a food blog without something sweet to finish with and Three Ropes has more than enough to tempt even the most stoic amongst us (not that I stoically avoid anything, but it sounded good). I settled on this rather large biscuit dipped in chocolate with a jam filling thingy-ma-jiggy. I'm sure it has a name, but God knows I don't know what it is. And really who needs a name for something that I devoured within seconds.
As much as I loved the coffee and the food I REALLY enjoyed the warmth and community feel the cafe had. After being open less than a week it already felt like it'd be around for years with local shop owners, guys from the police station and friends of the staff/owners popping in and out for coffee and a chat. And, it's hard not to strike up a conversation with the people sitting next to you in such a small cafe and to me that's exactly what a local cafe should feel like...like belonging to a community.
And the name Three Ropes? Well, it's local too. Back "in the day" (1803) convicted criminal Joseph Samuel was sentenced to death by hanging in Parramatta. On the first attempt the rope broke, the second time the noose slipped from his neck. The third time the rope broke again and "the powers that be" decided that Samuel had more lives than a cat and he was pardoned for his crime. So there you go - a food blog AND a history lesson.
Three Ropes is at 10a Darcy Street, Parramatta. They're not opening weekends - just Monday to Friday 6.30am - 3.30pm.