When Chris Theodosi and Jesse Orleans decided to use Canadian maple syrup for their pancakes at Happyfield, they thought they’d ordered enough.
“We bought 48 cans, thinking they’d last at least two months. They lasted a week and a half,” Orleans tells Broadsheet.
Judging by how busy their new Haberfield cafe is on a Tuesday morning, it’s no surprise they ran out so quickly. Between the tasty menu, affable front-of-house staff and Five Senses coffee pumping out of the sunny yellow espresso machine, Happyfield is an exciting addition to the traditionally Italian suburb.
The eatery has an American diner feel. And that means “proper” pancakes. “You have to be able to fold them twice without them breaking,” says Orleans. “And they need to be a half-pinky thick. Anything thicker is too dense.”
Besides pancakes – which are also served with Pepe Saya butter – there’s the McLovin Muffin, which has chipotle aioli and handmade chicken sausages topped with folded eggs and melted cheddar on an English muffin.
The Bircher muesli is topped with toasted coconut, mint, tamarillo and slices of grapefruit and orange. Mixed mushrooms are sprinkled with dukkha and served on a bed of whipped ricotta and feta. For lunch the mortadella and provolone ciabatta is a nod to Haberfield’s Italian history, while the crisp-skinned barramundi with cavolo nero is a fancier option.
As well as staples such as flat whites and lattes there’s an excellent nitro cold brew, and a dark caramel coffee topped with a creamy, golden foam, which arrives in a frosted mini mug. Theodosi holds it up to admire the barista’s work. “That’s the colour split we’re looking for.”
Happyfield is open for breakfast and lunch and is licensed. There’s a small selection of locally brewed beer, a handful of wines and cocktails. Try the Hail Cesar, a Canadian interpretation of the Bloody Mary, made with vodka and delicately sweet Clamato juice.
The cafe is the result of passion and what Theodosi says was lucky timing. “Everyone told us Haberfield was too old school and we shouldn’t open here, but we thought there was a gap.”
The pair picked up the keys on March 1 and were about to book the builders when lockdown closed Sydney’s diners.
“We had friends who had to shut their doors. We hadn’t even opened, so it could have been so much worse,” says Theodosi.
They worked out a deal with the landlord and spent the extra months before opening perfecting the fit-out. They painted the pressed-tin ceiling yellow, added banquet seating and chipped back the plaster on the exposed brick walls. Theodosi’s dad tiled the high communal table in the centre of the room.
Happyfield takes its name from its home suburb. “My wife suggested the name Happyfield and at first we hated it,” says Theodosi. “Jesse said, ‘It’s too happy’.”
But between the sunshine-yellow and sage-green décor, Theodosi’s yellow socks, and the energised, comfortable space, “happy” is the best way to describe this lovely neighbourhood eatery.
96 Ramsay Street, Haberfield
(02) 9716 5168
Tue to Fri 7.30am–3.30pm
Sat & Sun 8am–4pm