In 2013 I want to focus on great places to eat that are closer to where I live. We all know there are a plethora of great cafes in the eastern suburbs and inner west, but surely there have got to be some stunners in the West too. Right? Right! In Parramatta we have Short Sweet Bakery, Circa, Three Ropes, Mars Hill and the lovely Parramatta Park Cafe. The Baron is not too far away and new kid on the block Element6 makes me more than a little bit excited. And these are just the few that I've visited since moving to Parramatta...what else is lurking out there?
The Coffee Traders is not as quirky as some of the groovy little places I've just mentioned, but a lot of thought has gone in to their interesting decor and menu and I can happily say I'll be adding it to my rotation of local cafes. The set-up looks like the perfect formula to roll out to other locations, just like Parramatta's Coco Cubano.
I'm loathe to pretend I know anything about coffee, but Coffee Traders does seem to take its caffeine offerings pretty seriously. The barrista looked suitably serious + "hipster" and there was a hipster IN the cafe drinking coffee and he looked pretty happy. These things are always a good sign that the coffee is going to be OK. This couple with the fact that Coffee Traders offer cold-drip coffee means you'll get a decent cuppa.
I'm not hip or hipster, in fact drinking hot coffee these days makes me feel a little...ill for some reason. I was pleased to see iced-coffee on the menu which has become my caffinated beverage of choice these days. The best type of iced-coffee is just a shot of espresso served over ice with the addition of cold milk - which is sort of what Coffee Traders do, same-same but different. It's a very generous serve, one that I struggled to finish.
There's a lot of great options on the menu with the food straddling Italian and the Middle East. The mezze plates are tempting but I find the Rosemary and Potato pizza ($15.90) hard to resist. The base was definitely homemade - thin, crispy and delicious - and it's hard to go wrong with thinnly sliced potato topped with delicate rosemary leaves. Be warned though: there is A LOT of garlic hiding on this pizza so don't breath on anyone you're not friends with!
VegeTARAian's Neopolitan Pizza ($14.90) was much more easy going on the garlic with a rich tomato base topped with cheese and fresh basil leaves. The pizzas took a little while to come out of the kitchen but I think they were well worth the wait.
All good things must come to an end...with dessert! Coffee Traders has quite an array of sweat treats to tempt us but in the end we decide to share a Chocolate Brownie ($4.00) that comes presented on a wooden chopping board - it is a delicious sight to behold! The brownie is served warm, its centre chocolatey centre gooey and oozey. Totally scrumptious.
On my second visit to Coffee Traders I'm all iced-coffee'd out so opt for an Iced Tea instead (about $5 from memory). It's just too hot for me to even contemplate drinking a hot drink in the middle of the day. The barissta recommends a refreshing Turkish Apple Tea and it goes down a treat.
The breakfast menu at Coffee Traders is small but really interesting with a distinct middle-eastern leaning. I'd already ear-marked what I wanted for breakfast on my previous visit - Labne with Lebanese Bread, olives and pickles ($12.90).
It's not something you see on offer for breakfast very often but I loved it. I've recently experimented with making my own Labne (yoghurt cheese) so it was interesting to really "taste" this offering - slightly sour yet creamy. I liked that it was drizzled with olive oil and topped with a good sprinkle of paprika. My favourite way to eat this is to slather the bread with labne and roll it up with a pickle inside. Perfect!
Coffee Traders can be found on Ground Level at Top Ryde City (Blaxland Road, Ryde).