Now really, Irving Place needs no introduction. Despite only being open just over a month, the cafe is big sister to the city's beloved Gramercy Espresso & Eats.
Building the bond between the two even closer – Irving Place is named after a street that runs alongside Gramercy Park in New York City. The two cafes sit next door to each other within the Wintergarden, and they work in unison to play up each others strengths. With the arrival of Irving, comes more kitchen space and the addition of fresh jam, custard and cream filled donuts to Gramercy – they are already giving the others round town a run for their money.
Pull up a seat at the round communal table, or pop yourself down on a clear perspex chair. While Gramercy is to remain the sweets king with its glass counter of goodies, Irving is about alternative coffee brewing methods, sit down meals and has a small retail sector.
Breakfast, brunch, lunch? They don't care – the menu will keep you satisfied with everything from muesli and the classic avo, to maple-baked pork and chicken salad on offer at all times. Stopping in for breakfast, the gin-cured salmon ($14.50) sounded too good to pass up, and we're glad we didn't. A thick slice of grain bread is topped with grilled asparagus, a dollop of carrot jam and a single poached egg, while the plate is smeared with a generous serving of herbed ricotta and the all-important salmon.
On the coffee side of things, Gramercy have never done us wrong and Irving continue that legacy. Hands down, the two do the best house-made almond milk around town. I'm not sure what sort of voodoo magic they are performing, but they must have found almonds with nipples because the latte stays creamy the whole way through – rather than the often sad production of a long black with nut foam on top.
Often places with good coffee have staff with diva egos to match. Happily the crew at Grams/Irving are the most humble and on-the-ball you may come by. If you're looking for someplace a tucked away, and a little quieter, make Irving Place your place.