Is it a creative menu? (Four words for you: Soft. Shell. Crab. Benedict.) Or friendly service that makes you feel even more welcome than your nan does? Or is it a funky yet warm ambiance that invites you to do a Frankie and relax?
Or maybe all of this doesn't matter- it's just down to how good the coffee is.
The brand new Naked Brew in Sydney's hip Erskineville ticks off all of the above, meaning by all criteria, it is a good cafe. A very, very good cafe.
So are clothes really not needed when eating out anymore? Let's find out.
We kicked off with some savoury options:
- Soft Shell Crab Benedict with Edamame, Daikon, Fried Onions, Sriracha Hollandaise on Flinders Range Sourdough
- American Bacon with Poached Eggs, Tomato Relish, Pan-Fried Swiss Chard and Kale on Flinders Range Sourdough
- Field of Mushrooms with Poached Eggs, Pan-Fried Swiss Chard and Kale on Quinoa and Soy Sourdough
Each of these dishes were, in one word, stellar.
Adding the luxurious option of soft shell crab to eggs benny is borderline genius and the execution of this dish was really exceptional. The crab brought the salty taste of the sea to the dish, complimenting the creamy hollandaise which itself had a balanced chilli kick to it. The fresh edamame lifted each mouthful beautifully.
After having bacon and eggs at Naked Brew, I wonder why all versions of this dish don't come with a side of fried kale and swiss chard. The addition of these healthy greens made took the standard old bacon and eggs to the next level and made you actually feel good about ordering a plateful of fried cured meat for a change.
Vegos can delight in the Field of Mushrooms dish which had a generous range of mushrooms served up with my new favourite side of fried kale and swiss chard. The quinoa and soy sourdough was so tasty too and the perfect way to soak up some runny egg yolk.
- Lamington French Toast with Pomegranate, Roasted Coconut, Passionfruit, Fresh Cream, Jam, Fresh Berries and Roasted Crumbs
- Strawberry Ricotta Toast with Hazelnuts and Maple Honey
The Lamington French Toast was a seasonal special and all I can say is that I'm glad we were there in summer. I can't rave about this dish enough- it had everything. The french toast was light and buttery, making it a great vehicle for the rich cream. The roasted coconut permeated every mouthful and the fresh berries lightened each decadent mouthful nicely.
Lastly, the Strawberry Ricotta Toast was also nomtastic, with the slightly tart strawberries and sweet pomegranate seeds offsetting the creamy ricotta beautifully. The hazelnuts were a fantastic textural addition to this meal as well. My only wish is that there were slightly more of these little crunchy golden nuggets in the dish.
We tried out the Vietnamese Iced Coffee (pictured up top) which was sweet and rich. Its main ingredient of condensed milk took the decadence of an iced coffee to the next level.
The Belgian Chocolate Milkshake at Naked Brew is really right up there in the world of milkshakes. We tried it out on the recommendation of a local semi-professional milkshake connoisseur, and agreed that this milkshake was one of Sydney's most outstanding half a litre of chocolate liquid goodness.
The standard old Flat Whites here were among the best around, and you'll regret it if you don't order a mug. I was very sad when I got to the bottom of my regular old cup and never made that mistake again. The espresso itself is from specialty coffee roasters Five Senses who do an amazing brew.
If thick, creamy, milky drinks aren't your scene (no judgement, but seriously- who are you?!) some lighter cool drinks are on offer as well. As expected from this creative cafe, the drinks fridge was just as imaginative as the food menu. We tried a Chrysanthemum Kombucha and Cucumber, Mint and Lime Sparkling Water, both of which were just as refreshing as they promised to be.
This settles it for me- when I come back in another life, I'm putting in a request to come back as a pooch in Erskinville. Or at least a professional milkshake connoisseur.