My, my, Alexandria certainly is becoming quite the foodie hotspot. It seems now the locals here are spoilt for choice, much like their fellow inner-westies over in Marrickville. Keeping in harmony with Alexandria's business district and concrete jungle theme, the Copper Mill is a spacious and stylish spot, perfect for the locals to grab a coffee or some lunch to escape the suburban mayhem.
Formerly serving at Chippendale cafe, Shortlist, Jake Thomas, Hugh Piper and Rebecca Keane have continued with their impressive set-ups and effortless appeal, with no small detail being overlooked. Walls are painted in grey slate and exposed brick and copper pipes are a reflection of the industrial area. The raw and casual appeal is maintained with wooden tables and benches that are adorned with help-yourself cutlery buckets and Young Henry flagons of water. Window seats are available too, where you can watch the daily thrum of dog walkers and fitness gurus en route to Sydney Park.
These coffee pros are pouring a not-too bad Human Canonball, roasted by Golden Cobra ($3.50), as well as a rotating single origin from Moccamaster ($3.50). The real star of the show though is the simple, healthy, rustic menu that is served up quick smart from the open kitchen. Their culinary skills do not go amiss here: a sure-fire Peruvian influence evident with a bacon and egg roll spiced up with pork chicharron, egg, kumera, salsa criolla and lemon mayo ($10). Furthermore to this latino swinging, the ancient Peruvian grain quinoa is puffed up in a cereal topped with dates, coconut flakes, yoghurt and a sweet pear and cardamom milk ($9.50). More straightforward options such as sourdough toast, come courtesy of Brickfields bakery — thick slices with homemade jam ($4.50) are classic winners.
The strength of the fare comes at lunchtime, when humble salads are assembled with fresh ingredients and unusual dressings drizzled over to complete the package. Beet-cured salmon with garden peas, quinoa, cherry tomatoes ($15) and chilli yoghurt is a beseeching option; but the real chart-topper is a delicious plate of broadbeans, chorizo and a sunnyside egg, with parsley and lemon zest adding a zing and a side of sourdough balancing it all out ($13).
So tasty is this bread in fact, that it's also hard to overlook the daily sandwiches ($9). Who doesn't love Christmas ham, especially when gruyere cheese and an eggplant pickle are its companions? Speaking of eggplant pickle — let's hope this homemade condiment gets kept on rotation. Decidedly the champion in a vegetarian sarnie, it perfectly complements the roast cauliflower, butter lettuce and feta cheese. But we'd like a tad more on our sarnie please — actually no, the whole jar to lick clean the contents.
Sweet-tooths will be pleased to see a small array of pastries on offer, otherwise an iced chocolate ($5) or a coconut hot choccie ($4.50) will seal the deal. The Copper Mill is offering up decent food and coffee, service with a smile, and an ideal opportunity for locals to avoid chaotic King Street or the exhausting queues at the Grounds.
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