In an otherwise innocuous street in Brookvale sits a small roasting house and cafe that serves coffee and food that belies its humble setting. Some delicately strung fairy lights and the words “Fresh Coffee + Bagels” hand-painted on the front wall are the only external advertisements – a rather gentle invite to passers-by, given the power of the flavours being generated inside.
Barrel One Coffee Roasters has been producing delicious coffee in Sydney’s northern beaches for years now, and their cafe (in the front of their dispatch warehouse) is approaching its one-year anniversary in May. But the menu has just been given a makeover, inspired by owners Daniel Agapiou and Samuel Graham’s recent trip to New York.
“[We’ve] always had a slight obsession with New York,” says Agapiou. “My grandfather spent his time opening up milk bars and delis in Sydney in the ’50s … Once I tried my first New York Reuben [sandwich] and pastrami bagel I knew I had to bring this to the menu.”
The boys have tried to stay as true as possible to the traditional deli-style cuisine, and it shows. The pastrami sandwich is packed with a generous 120 grams of melt-in-your-mouth, locally smoked pastrami (from Pastrami Kings, which operates out of The Nook in Manly), plenty of pickles, dill and two types of mustard. There’s also a rye Reuben, a bulky roasted pork-belly Cubano, and a smoked-trout bagel (from Brooklyn Boy Bagels) that’s a perfect, subtle offering of sliced fish, cream cheese, lemon, dill and a scattering of capers.
The cafe has also worked with renowned cheesemonger Anthony Femia of Melbourne’s Maker & Monger to create an array of American-style grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s the only venue outside of Femia’s own food cart in Prahran Market to serve these luxurious melts.
These sandwiches have the tendency to send a hush over the table, so as you sit back with your oozy cheese sambo, take the opportunity to admire the space. Agapiou and Graham collaborated with local designers Porter & Maple on the fit-out – the garage-style roller-door entrance and the industrial fixtures echo the car repair shops Brookvale has traditionally been known for.