You know how in sit-coms people will walk into coffee shops and the barista will go: "Hey Tommy — the usual?" And you know how you always sort of hope that will happen to you? Well, going to Double Cross Espresso Bar is exactly like that — the staff welcome every customer who pops in, and know several by name. The Crows Nest cafe specialises in quality coffee and a unique Japanese spin on Australian cafe food.
The shop opened in 2016 after co-owners Quinton Ng and Samuel Lee — who had had both been working in the hospitality industry for years — decided that it was time to run their own place. The cafe's name is representative of the owner's identities; Ng's family hails from both Hong Kong and Australia, while Lee is Korean–New Zealander. Designed with minimalism in mind, customers can order at the white marbled counter where there are maybe 100 stamped loyalty cards — a testament to the quality of the coffee on offer, and the number of return customers. Seating is available both inside and out, which is a perfect perch from which to people-watch during the lunch hours, which are less hectic than the mornings.
At the very back of the cafe, two chefs work in a tiny kitchen. Some popular dishes include, the mentaiko pasta laden with fish roe and a 63-degree egg ($17), and the tonkatsu tamago sando: two small pork katsu rectangles wedged on a stick with kewpie mayo and katsu sauce ($13). Lastly, for a sweet treat, the creme brûlée french toast, a brioche bun topped with mascarpone custard, a mixed berry compote, and fresh fruit piled on top ($15).
So if you're on the lower north shore and looking for a new place to try, Double Cross will not let you down.
Images: Natalie Carroll.