When you open a cafe in a market as crowded as Sydney’s, it needs to stand out. So when co-owners Rob Lechowicz, Daniel Sorridimi and Paul Pisani of Cronulla’s new Blackwood Pantry began planning their cafe, they contacted only the best collaborators.
First were some of Sydney’s top coffee roasters. Ex-Brewtown barista Sam Cornish is behind the machine at Blackwood, and rotates beans from Edition, Reuben Hills and soon, Artificer on a weekly basis.
But cafes can’t only be about good coffee. Lechowicz worked at Bilson’s and Bambini Trust before heading to Europe for further experience.
Dishes on the all-day menu are punctuated with colour. There are breakfast classics such as French toast, but it is spiced up with Szechuan poached peaches. A chicken salad is lent crunch by macadamias and heft by roasted fennel. There’s a considered selection of teas available, and Blackwood is licensed. There’s Young Henrys on tap, a short selection of wines by the glass or bottle and three fresh cocktails. In about six weeks, Blackwood will open for dinner, too, once the “good chaos” settles down a little.
The design was also paramount. The polished concrete and pastel-hinted interior is by Luchetti Krelle, one of the most sought-after firms in Sydney’s hospitality scene. It has worked on the fit-out for ACME, Momofuku Seiobo, Sake and The Argyle.
Since Blackwood opened on Surf Lane a month ago, it’s been running hot. It’s clear the demand for great coffee, a restaurant-standard menu and beautiful design is there. Lechowicz, Sorridimi and Pisani planned to combine all three, and still keep things casual. “We wanted to create a space that’s really light, fresh and approachable,” says Sorridimi. “Rob’s brought back all he learnt around the world, and has channelled it into a really casual dining experience. Because it’s Cronulla, a beach suburb, we didn’t want it to be pretentious. We want people to come in with their boards and then dressed up later on.”