The Alchemist Espresso, Cammeray – A Hidden Gem in the back of Cammeray.

In the back of Cammeray there is a little cafe called “The Alchemist Espresso” that puts some science into the cafe game. The cafe is located on the corner of Carter and Wilson Street in Cammeray, serves up a really good coffee, and some tasty food.

If you spot the giant old “VB” sign on the building, you’ll know you’ve found the right place. There is usually parking on Carter St opposite.

The interior decorating is fantastic. I couldn’t take enough photos of it. Just note that you place your order at the counter.

Decided to make this shot black & white, I think it worked well.

Now, to the good part, what did we have? Well naturally coffee…

Large Skim Cappuccino ($4.00)

The coffee at Alchemist is really great. I really enjoyed my large cup, I look forward to my next visit.

Great Coffee – a friend asked me for the original file to use as a wallpaper, so if you click on this one you get it in it’s massive filesize.

 

Huevos Rancheros ($16.90)

I ordered the huevos rancheros because they sounded really good on the menu, what I received however was something I would call “deconstructed huevos rancheros”. Not to be picky, but I was expecting something a little more akin to the traditional dish, and for $16.90 I was disappointed to receive one poached egg. The flavour was there, the tortilla was great, and the egg cooked perfectly… but I was a little sad by this one. To be honest I was have remorse from not picking the Cheese BLT (which I’ve heard is good). The one plus about having it served this way was that I was forced to eat it with a knife and fork. The other thing that stood out was that the spice/heat (chilli) in this was a little too much. I like chilli, and spice, but this had a lingering heat that meant I reached for the water over my coffee (and still felt minutes later).

The huevos rancheros were a little more deconstructed than I imagined.

 

Warm Moroccan Spiced Chicken ($19.00)

The star of the meal and the reason for our visit. My wife actually visited the cafe with a girlfriend the day before, and had this, and was raving about it. I wanted to try this new cafe and hence us coming back the next day. The secret to this dish is to ask for “additional relish”. The chicken is slowly cooked and the entire dish is delicious. I can’t imagine someone ordering this and being unhappy (but do go for more of that relish – trust us!).

Did I mention asking for more relish… it’s really good!

 

One of the things I really liked was all the Science references. The only yelp review criticises that alchemy isn’t chemistry… but seriously, get a grip, they’ve gone with a theme and I appreciate it. One thing I really liked was that the table numbers were actually elements from the periodic table (not pictured). In prominent display is the organic chemistry symbol for Caffeine;

Caffeine – in organic chemistry notation

 

Now one thing that was frustrating was the fact it was really hard to find a copy of their menu online, so I took some photos to help those of us that like to pick what they want ahead of time.

Here is a copy, as of May 2017;

Menu (page 1) – click to view larger size.
Menu (page 2) – click to view large size
Menu (page 3) – click to view large size

 

 

 

 


PROS:

  • Great coffee.
  • Fascinating and fun interior.
  • Periodic Table Numbers !
  • New enough that it isn’t overwhelmed with people (?).

CONS:

  • Lack of menu online (see above).
  • I didn’t really like my huevos rancheros (probably won’t order it again).
  • Questionable if prices for meals are just a tad too much? (family members have commented that they thought the price for food was high).

OVERALL:

I want to come back and try that Cheese BLT and their other food. I know that my wife will always be happy to have that Warm Moroccan Spiced Chicken. They also had a special on a blackboard that sounded really good (something to do with warm oats that just sounded perfect on a cold winters day).

DETAILS:
Address: 8 Carter St, Cammeray NSW 2062
Phone: 0418 977 082
Website: https://www.facebook.com/thealchemistespresso/

MAP:


 

Great Coffee – a friend asked me for the original file to use as a wallpaper, so if you click on this one you get it in it’s massive filesize.

Oratnek, Redfern – Japanese fusion cafe that hits the spot

I’ve made a decision to depart from reviewing on Yelp and Google… and decided that if I’m going to be writing my own unique style of reviews, that I should post them to my blog.

Oratnek is a Japanese Fusion cafe that opened back in July 2015, but has somehow eluded our radar’s. If photos of katsu sandwiches didn’t entice me, the menu offerings sure did!

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Gorgeous counters (photo credit to my talented wife).

We arrived hungry and excited at the prospect’s their lunch menu had to offer.

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High table seating

We ordered;

Two Iced Coffees ($5.00 each)

I really loved their iced coffee. No mucking around with whipped cream or ice cream… just coffee, milk and ice. I really loved that they had a large sphere of ice. This made the drink perfectly cold (a common gripe of mine when it comes to cafe iced coffees – it’s not cold enough, or the ice melts). I took the above photo before stirring.

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Iced Coffee (with huge ice sphere)

 

Sticky Pork Belly & Kimuchi Fried Rice ($21.00)

As you know, when you are dining out with your partner at a new place there is an unofficial competition of “who’s meal is better”, in this case, I think my wife’s dish of the Sticky Pork Belly was the star of the show. The pork belly was incredible. Outstanding flavour that not only ticked all the boxes, but also managed to give me slight impressions of american BBQ pork ribs (perhaps it’s the crispy charred goodness). The rest of the meal was quite good. The Kimchi fried rice was quite good. Both my wife and I enjoyed it. I should note that whilst it was very good, it doesn’t beat my Kimchi Fried Rice recipe (to be shared at a later date). What a tease.

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Sticky Pork Belly & Kimuchi Fried Rice

I was very excited that I was “gifted” some to enjoy;

Happy husband
Happy husband

 

Okonomiyaki Fritters, cabbage, corn, zucchini, kimuchi, cheese, napoli sauce ($16.00)

I picked the Okonomiyaki fritters because it sounded really interesting and I love Okonomiyaki… and fritters.. and basically everything that was listed on the menu. The dish that came out was great, and not something I’ve had before. 6 individual portions of fritter, which were light/fried perfectly, topped with tomato sauce and then melted cheese. It was like Japanese parmigiana.

Okonomiyaki Fritters
Okonomiyaki Fritters

 

PROS:
– That pork belly….
– Iced Coffees = 100%
– Gorgeous interior/atmosphere.
– Very friendly and attentive staff.

CONS:
– Didn’t get to have a katsu sandwich (next time!).
– High-tables w/ stools are too high for comfort.

OVERALL:
We both really loved Oratnek and will definitely be back. I must try one of those katsu sandwiches! They looked really good.


Details: 

Cafe Oratnek
4 Pitt Street, Redfern, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8065 4625

Opening hours:
Monday to Saturday 7am-4pm
Sunday 8am-4pm

Website: http://www.oratnek.com.au/