At The Carpenter white neon bulbs are arranged above the bar at 15-degree angles relative to each other. By the time they reach the kitchen they form a single line of light. This is the only artificial light in the place, which is otherwise illuminated by skylights built into the corrugated-iron roof. There are black wire chairs, brass-accented tables and a industrial-looking concrete floor, a theme echoed in walls of cladded plywood and the building’s exposed original bricks. Terracotta tiles adorn the bar’s facade, on which sits the minimalist espresso machine: the Mavam. Here’s where things get serious.
The Mavam is rare in Australia and is a designer’s – and more importantly, a barista’s – dream. It’s built into the bench and is not your typical, boxy coffee machine. Three group heads sprout elegantly from the bartop allowing customers to observe the baristas as they extract viscous double-ristretto shots from coffee by The Little Marionette. The coffee has a big, full-bodied flavour.
Like at any good neighbourhood cafe, breakfast and lunch is served here all day. There’s an American-style pulled-pork roll served with crinkle-cut chips and gravy; lamb kofta skewers with mint yoghurt; and a pork- and ham-stuffed Cubano sandwich for lunch. Breakfast is slightly more conventional. Milk buns from Brickfields are an appropriate conduit for the bacon-and-egg roll. And the granola is made in-house and comes with a healthy dollop of labneh.
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