In the regular, normal universe most of us live in, it's a well-known fact that a train station cafe just ain't worth your time. Step off the platform at Newtown, however, and you'll find yourself in a whole new reality home to Cuckoo Callay, the quirky brainchild of three Sydneysiders who share a passion for seriously fine food, good coffee and Lewis Carroll's all-time-classic nonsense poem, The Jabberwocky.
Cuckoo Callay — a play on the famous line "O fabjous day! Callooh Callay!" — is certainly worth an hour or two. Already established in the area as "the place with the cool cups" (get a takeaway coffee and you'll see), there's a whole lot more behind (and in front of) the clean-cut, white walls of this cute addition to the newly renovated station.
From the outside any expectations of cheap furniture are replaced by nice, chunky tables and leather-clad chairs supplied by local company Giant Design. The interior is equally stylish and extra colourful with inviting, teal banquettes stretching around the perimeter if you require somewhere comfy and shaded for when you really need that morning coffee. FYI, said coffee is spot on and the juices are customisable and fresh.
Then there's the food. Boom: train station cafe stereotype shattered! We decided on the smoked king salmon and the pulled duck. The former included a healthy portion of the aforementioned fish, layered on top of a crispy potato rosti and accompanied by sweet pea puree, avo, a perfectly poached egg and sprinkled with dried olive crumb.
The latter, which we were informed is already a firm favourite and must never, ever come off the menu, was, as they say in Carroll's home country, the dog's bollocks (that's a good thing). Topped with another perfectly poached egg, this divine and generous concoction of sautéed potatoes, lentils, shaved asparagus and tender ducky goodness was just what the doctor ordered.
Throw in a salted caramel or Nutella milkshake (yes, Nutella!) and there's no way you'll leave unsatisfied. In fact, combined with all the sweet little nuances that come from a genuine love of one of the most awesome pieces of literary gold — take a look at the menu in particular — and a visit to Cuckoo Callay will result in one of helluva frabjous day indeed.
Images: Cassandra Hannagan
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