At first glance, Cultured looks like another standard cafe – porridge, eggs, fish and chips and fruit salads. At closer inspection, much like the produce market it sits in, Cultured is inspired by Australia’s assorted cultures.
The most interesting expression of the Cultured team’s idea is the pan-seared carrot pudding, a soft dome of carroty sponge with basil-lime cream and pistachio honeycomb on top. It’s like a soft version of Indian carrot halwa. Then there’s the Thai-Burmese-English blackened-chicken sour curry with a scotch egg. And the watermelon, spinach and salted-pineapple “fruit salad”.
More subtle tweaks include the eggplant fritters (a take on the eggplant parma) with bocconcini, pesto and a merlot-infused tomato sauce. And a crumbed-fish taco with mushy peas, bacon relish, mango salsa and a large (for a taco) hunk of crunchy, battered fish.
The design has the aged-warehouse look, and includes the pot plants that are ubiquitous in the Sydney cafe scene.
From the mini, 35-seat mezzanine you can see all the merchant-floor action. The coffee beans are from Five Senses.