Hard Pressed

Phil Gijsbers’ French press coffee addiction started when he was 12 years old. And at Hard Pressed, customers can expect a similar awakening. It’s not uncommon for head barista Zachary Balmain (ex-Balmains and ST ALi) to serve patrons a sample of French press, pour-over or cold-drip.

In the open kitchen Jay Vanrhee (ex-Seven Seeds and De Clieu) is busy braising, smoking and curing.

The hero is the El Cubano, a Cuban-style grilled sandwich thick with orange-braised, free-range pork neck, Swiss cheese, pickles and Dijon. The Jamaican jerk roast beef and the pickled octopus options are both also worth a mention, along with breakfast dishes such as jamon croquettes with poached eggs, samphire and saffron aioli.

Mimi-Myrtle + Co collaborated with Callum Wallace to create the Tarzan-meets-industrial north-side interior, complete with ferns, pine-green panels and concrete breeze blocks. Reclaimed materials were sourced from everywhere; demolished schools and old churches, but Gijsbers especially likes the forest-mural feature wall and copper-piping tap that runs from one side of the room to the other.