A bookstore may have sadly departed the neighbourhood, but in its place is something equally as appreciated. Brewtown Newtown is keeping the literary mourners happy by serving up some quality food and drink.
The handiwork is indebted to Charles Cameron and Simon Triggs, who met when working at Toby's Estate. Since then, they've had respective stints at Single Origin and Gnome Espresso, so it's no wonder Brewtown is shaping up to be a success. Fashioned from what used to be Berkelouw Books, the warehouse-type space is simplistic in its raw fit-out: industrialised green lamps hang from steel beams above and exposed brick walls run the length of the cafe. An extended counter showcases the baristas at work and there is ample space for wooden tables and chairs at which to sit. A sizeable staircase leads to a second level where pop-up shops showcase an eclectic mix of local designers and artisan goods.
Downstairs, as the name suggests, coffee takes centrestage. The far end of the counter is home to the designated brew bar where the 'steampunk mod' replicates a variety of brewing methods — such as aeropress or pour over — via a computer. The fancy-looking gizmo effectively saves time without compromising on quality. Another impressive gadget set-up alongside is the cold-brew tap that pours out an invigorating cold-pressed coffee ($6). Steeped in cold water for 12 hours, it's the perfect caffeine hit for a summer's day. If none of these elaborate brews are your thing, the espresso machine to the right is pumping out a robust latte otherwise ($3.50).
Food wise, the menu does not fail to impress. Designed around quality produce-driven dishes, breakfast includes sumptuous offerings such as a mini egg benedict brioche roll ($8.50); baked polenta with mushrooms, grilled asparagus, poached egg and parmesan ($15); or beetroot cured ocean trout with avocado smash on rye ($16.50) — all of which satisfy that rumbling morning stomach.
If you've visited in-between meals, try something sweet to have with your coffee. Pastries are made in-house and we hear that Brewtown's cronuts are building quite the reputation.
Lunch dishes are equally as notable, with sophisticated options at reasonable prices. Duck ravioli with porcini and wild mushroom ($16.50) appears to be a popular choice, so too does a poached chicken salad with quinoa ($14). But it's not all fancy-pants at Brewtown: sandwich lovers unite, the quintessential Reuben ($14) makes an appearance and ye' old chicken and mayo stops in for a visit too ($10). It might be a simplistic inclusion on the menu, but it's a smart strategy from this engaged team.
And engaged they all are: the troops manning the floor are all incredibly with-it, and service is faultless, even on a busy Saturday morning. Newtown has a healthy storm brewing here and despite the upsetting departure of yet another bookstore, we're most pleased to have Brewtown in the 'hood.