Sydney’s inner west cafe scene is alive and well, and Petersham, known to locals as ‘Portugese Town’, is right up there with the best of them. Just off the main drag, The Counter provides locals with expertly made coffee and inventive sweet treats as well as a comprehensive breakfast and lunch menu.
Johnny Geng has recently taken over ownership of The Counter, which was opened in 2012 by Mariella Traina, cafe owner and coffee lover for more than a decade. Johnny has taken the baton and run – experimenting with coffee preparation to extract the very best flavour from the bean. He sees this as a way to honour the hard work put in by others down the lifeline of the coffee bean – the farmers and the roasters. A perfect cup of coffee is a team effort.
To everyone at The Counter, coffee is fascinating and mysterious – every day they learn a little something new about the bean. It’s a continuous learning curve. The Counter team has worked with Coffee Alchemy to create a house blend that is rich and round and enhances milk-based coffees. The flavour profile is of intense caramel, chocolate and almond tones and makes for a spectacular latte.
Coffee Alchemy sources beans from all around the globe based on the season. As a result, across the year you’ll find all sorts of origins at The Counter, from Ethiopia to Indonesia and back again. Try the cold drip, too, which uses Single Estate coffee. Or try one of the staff favourites, a Yirgacheffe coffee, with its fruity, berry tones. Who are we kidding… try one of each!
The seasonal menu is complemented by a dazzling array of homemade pastries and sweets, brownies, cakes and muffins; there’s just not enough time in the day to taste them all. Try the towering carrot cake or the raspberry and macadamia brownies. No, scratch that – start with the caramel slice, and a raspberry and white chocolate ‘cruffin’.
The typical crowd at The Counter is hipsters: young hipsters, young hipster families, hipster commuters, hipster business people… you get the idea. You’ll also find the local council workers and NSW transport folks here for their daily coffee – there’s a friendly, community vibe with plenty of regulars.
Sit out the front and watch the world go by, or rest in the cool interior, with its exposed brick counter and subway tiled walls. With plenty of staff ready to take your order, you shouldn’t have to wait too long here, even if there is a short list for a table.