After ten years of owning and managing an inner city cafe, Karlos Azzi decided it was time to open one in Ultimo. He had spent years watching people come and go from the cafe in Darlinghurst, and witnessed the happiness, and social interaction that coffee brings to a community.
He wanted to provide a venue that was warm and welcoming, and somewhere that locals would enjoy dropping by for a coffee and a chat. Everyone from young designers, architects and marketing executive to teachers and students can be found chilling out here. This industrial, chic cafe has certainly achieved a sense of community by offering a homely place to relax and take a second away from the world.
Walk in to this open, communal environment and the first thing you notice is the wafting aroma of good coffee. The Black Groodle’s coffee is well known in Ultimo for the uniqueness of each blend. Karlos said, “We produce damn good coffee, which is deep in flavour with a rich, chocolate, nutty overtone, possesses a hint of sharpness on the tip of the tongue, and has great structure and body. It has a lasting, pleasant aftertaste, without bitterness – just 100% taste!”
A bit hard to resist? The locals certainly think so. Head Barista, ViVi Thendean, pounds away on the La Marzocco espresso machine from breakfast through to afternoon tea, consistently serving coffee with maximum taste.
Open from Monday to Friday for breakfast, lunch and afternoon coffee, it serves up salads and lunches as well as delicious breakfasts. Billed as Street Food Made Local, the cafe is known for its homely food offerings. Glorious salads, brimming with Mediterranean flair and bursts of colour are piled high in bowls ready to be served up alongside a dollop of hummus and some Lebanese flatbread. Pick as many or as few salads as you like, or perhaps go for a wrap. For dessert, you can’t go past the Knafeh – a baked cheese with semolina and rose sugar syrup. It’s decadent and it’ll be a memorable mid-week lunch. There are plenty of smaller sweet treats too, made by in-house chef, Cyrille Launey. Take your pick from brownies, salted caramel bites, muffins, banana bread, hummingbird cake or his famous apple tart … oh and don’t forget to try the delicious homemade cashew nut Balawa made by Karlos’ mother.
The open kitchen provides customers a chance to watch the kitchen staff producing homemade and old-style, comfort food. White subway tiles line the walls, providing a blank canvas for the daily specials. Steel accents and natural timber furniture, including cute-as-can-be benches, also dot the space, blending the lines between industrial chic and a home-away-from-home.
It may be named after the owner’s beloved dog, Jed, a golden retriever cross poodle, but the cafe is an ode to its owner’s passion for good coffee, great food and homely ambiance.