A slice of Surry Hills in Liverpool all the way in South West Sydney? Say it isn't so! I can remember being disappointed by the lack of quality restaurants and cafes in the area. When Ristretto and Co opened its doors in 2012, it has built a solid following in the local community. This is perfect if you are like me, you have so much trouble getting up early on a weekend for a breakfast or brunch cafe outing and you have to travel 30mins-1 hour for all those renowned cafes in Surry Hills, Newtown, Alexandria...and even Parramatta!
Located next door to a hairdresser and a few blocks from Liverpool Plaza, you may think that it's one of those very small hole-in-the-wall cafes. When you step inside, you can see lots of tables located at the back of the cafe. From the fit-out in the outdoor seating area, it felt like you stepped into one of those old-fashioned garden courtyard complete with lots of wooden tables, barrels and even a bird cage.
Skim Mocha ($4.00)
Ristretto and Co uses Campos coffee beans for their brew. Was quite creamy and milky compared to some of the other mochas I've had. Not too bitter either. Cute coffee art.
Iced Mocha ($4.00)
There were a few days where the weather was too hot to enjoy a hot coffee. So it's good to see that a few cold drink options are available. So far, I've tried the iced mocha. While it was the same price as a regular sized coffee, the serving was much bigger. It was pretty creamy as well with a good hint of cocoa. Great to have on a hot 35-degree Summer day.
Cold drip coffee ($4.00)
I'mnot an expert when it comes to cold drip coffee but I've been curious to try for a while. Ended up ordering this on another hot day in Livo. Made some use of the syrup on the side for the sweetness but the drip coffee was a different experience. Not as strong as I expected.
Uovo in Pomodoro - free ranged egg poached with chorizo, spinach and pomodoro sauce in a claypot served with toasted sourdough ($15.00)
I LOVE my baked eggs. So when I first realised this signature baked eggs dish was available so close to home, I was already keen to pop by Ristretto and Co ASAP. The only problem is that the breakfast menu is available till 11:30am. Good since it's close to home but not so good because I still love sleeping till late on weekends. Compared to the baked eggs I've tried so far, the sauce was quite watery and the egg was slightly overcooked however it was still delicious and flavoursome. Great to dip with lots of bread. The pomodoro reminded me of a Bolognese/ragu type of sauce which certainly showcased the Italian inspiration in the cafe menu selection. At $15, it's one of the more expensive items on the menu but the serving size should keep you full and satisfied.
Corn Fritters with tomato, chutney, oven dried tomatoes and rocket ($11.00)
I also enjoy corn fritters so I was equally curious to try this as well. With lots of fresh corn kernels, flour and egg, the fritters delivered a more rustic texture to the dish. It wasn't as flavoursome as I would have liked but the extra condiments like the chutney and the tomatoes helped in boosting the overall taste.
Bresaola Panini - Pomodorini secchi, fior di latte, provolone and rocket on ciabatta ($9.00)
If you end up at Ristretto and Co after 11:30am, you will need to order from the lunch menu. This mostly consists of a selection of panini sandwiches and salads, including their popular 'Orecchiette Pasta Salad'. This sandwich may look simple, but it is also very tasty. The slices of bresaola worked so well with the fior do latte and provolone cheeses as well as the pomodorini secchi sauce. Sandwiched between two toasted yet soft slices of panini bread and you got yourself a winning sandwich. Extra points whenever the cheese gets stringy mmmmm.
While there was a couple of items that were slightly more expensive for what you get in the South West Sydney area, the menu prices were actually on the cheaper end of the scale compared to most cafes in the Inner Sydney/Inner West area. It's very popular on weekends especially in the morning with diners queuing up for a table. The service can be a mixed experience. Most of the time I found them to be polite and attentive but they can get iffy if you take photos around the cafe besides the food (I learnt it the hard way). Besides that minor mishap, it's a breath of fresh air to see a cafe like this opening up so close to home especially when I have brunch cravings and going to the city is too much effort.
It's very close to Westfield Liverpool and Liverpool Plaza if you happen to be in the area for your shopping needs. It is good to see how successful it has become with recognition in the SMH Cafe Guide in 2013 and 2014 as well as a mention in the Cafe section of SMH's Good Food Guide 2014. Hopefully one day, the Liverpool food scene will grow in a similar vein to Parramatta in recent years. With R&C's second branch 'The Shed' opening its doors at Bigge Park last month, this growth is looking promising.
Ristretto and Co
158 Northumberland Street, Liverpool NSW 2170
Mon-Fri: 6:00am - 4:00pm
Sat: 7:00am - 3:00pm
Sun: 8:00am - 1:00pm