If you like coffee and love beer, allow me to introduce you to nitro cold brew, a sparkling, nitrogen-charged coffee with the foamy head of a beer. It's going to be your coffee of choice come summer, and to get it, you'll need to visit Mecca's latest temple of coffee, in Alexandria.
Located in an industrial warehouse, Mecca is perhaps the most impressive fit-out yet by designers Smith and Carmody, who are also responsible for styling much-loved cafes Excelsior Jones, Brickfields and Cornersmith. Inside, there's also an art-deco tiled floor and a striking wrought iron railing which wraps around the concourse and extends up to the mezzanine. Several large vases display a tangle of branches which look sculptural and brilliant; to hell with flowers. Even the minimalist chairs will have you tilting them this way and that, admiring them and speculating on the cost.
Mecca serves a wholesome menu of bowls, rolls, plates and salads that brim with fresh, colourful ingredients. Sydney has been binging on American barbecue and burgers for far too long, and I, for one, want to fit into my jeans again. Mecca takes an ordinary bacon and egg roll and upcycles it to a pasture-raised ham off-the-bone and fried egg roll with choko and onion jam and dill mayonnaise ($12). If you usually order muesli at a cafe, try their elegant coconut black rice with house-cultured buttermilk, amaranth (a nutritious grain), yoghurt, seasonal fruits, pistachios and mint ($14). It simply radiates good health.
The menu is all-day, so go ahead and order the brisket ($18) first thing. It's so tender it melts apart when you approach it with a spoon. Accompanied by crispy smashed kifler potatoes, sauerkraut which has been lacto-fermented in-house and a lemony white bean puree ($18), it is a clever balance of creamy, crunchy and briny. Welcome to hipster heaven.
What stands out on every dish are the high-quality ingredients. The table butter is homemade, fruits and vegetables are seasonal, plus all the meat and eggs are ethically sourced from Feather and Bone. You'll pick up on the difference straight away.
We know Mecca can do great coffee as we've been drinking it for ten years at their Circular Quay, CBD and Pyrmont branches. At the Alexandria store, they use their Darkhorse blend, which is roasted out back and brewed out front for a fresh, creamy taste with hints of chocolate, peach and wine ($4). Now that's what a coffee is supposed to taste like. Nitro cold brew ($6) is poured straight from the tap, which must be a nice change for the baristas, and they also serve a selection of teas and natural sodas.