The French snack, tartine, is an open sandwich with either sweet or savoury toppings. Never heard of it? That’s because they didn’t really exist in Sydney until a few months ago. “They’re like bread nigiri. It’s just such a lovely way to eat and for the past two decades I’ve been thinking, ‘Why doesn’t anyone else do this?’” Chef and co-owner Anthony Telford got offered a spot in Mascot and as a result, tartines are no longer a mystery to Sydneysiders.
The cafe is a partnership between Telford, a fine-dining veteran, and his partner Amy Kirchhoff, who’s done the interior. Almost everything has either been salvaged or restored from the roadside or someone’s yard. It’s a comforting jumble that looks somewhere between a furniture catalogue and a beatnik garage sale.
The food is similarly casual, with everything under $10, with both Telford’s experience and fatigue with fine dining equally visible. Each tartine comes slickly presented on Brasserie bread cut into six pieces, with Haverick’s meat and organic produce. Telford and Kirchhoff are particularly proud of a salty and textural mix of shredded beef, chives, cloud-like grated gruyere and crispy fried onions. “It’s slightly dainty –there’s no scrambling, no frying. We run a cold kitchen.”
Tartine’s are joined on the menu by jaffles with combinations such as gruyere, pulled pork or an entire lasagne. Although they’re stuffed with prime quality goods don’t expect them to be encased in anything but standard white bread. “You can cut it, make it look pretty and try all the flavours you want. It’s a jaffle. I’ll never cover them in flowers. It’ll rob my soul.” If you can fit in dessert - don't miss the banana, nutella and marshmallow option.
Melburnian coffee label, Grinders, is providing the beans in a single-origin blend. The earthy and aromatic blend is best when mixed with condensed milk in the cafe’s Vietnamese- and Spanish-style coffees.
The couple plan on opening another five venues with the same menu but different fit- outs, with the next one to be Bauhaus-inspired.