Ampersand Cafe & Bookstore
Grab a cuppa and a good read at this cafe-meets-bookstore.
When a bookstore doubles as a cafe, it really is the best of both worlds. Reading material to peruse with your coffee? A spot of shopping pre- or post-brekkie, brunch or lunch? The kind of atmosphere that can only come from stacks on stacks on stacks of books? You'll find all of the above at Ampersand Cafe & Bookstore.
A Paddington mainstay for over a decade, the Oxford Street is as quaint as the world outside is busy — although, with more than 30,000 books sprawling across three levels, plus a cute little laneway area for flicking through pages in the sun, it's usually a hive of activity here. The cafe likes to think of itself as a library with food, and it has the packed shelves, cosy reading nooks, welcoming armchairs and sizeable menu to back up that claim. And yes, you really can just grab a novel, enjoy its contents while you sip your coffee and then put it back again.
Ampersand's culinary spread has just had a revamp, with chef Tom Walton doing the honours. On offer: coconut, berry and chai-spiced sticky rice with caramelised banana; Turkish-inspired labne eggs with pepper, tomato and a heap of spice; and French toast with poached pear, whipped ricotta, rhubarb compote and almond crumble — and that's just breakfast.
Lunch brings slow-cooked beef cheek pappardelle, as well as other pastas and salads.
Drinks-wise, Little Marionette takes care of the coffee, Lindt's hot chocolates will warm up your insides, and beer, wine and cider are also available.