First came The Paddington; then The Unicorn; Morris; Sonder; news of Josh Niland’s Saint Peter; The Paddington Inn; and Merivale’s Fred. Something is happening in Paddington. “I feel as though it's in a bit of a rejuvenation period at moment,” says Nick O’Neill. He’s the owner of Paddington’s latest cafe, Thirty Coffee. It’s not even a month old but it feels like it has been part of the landscape for years. Not because it has an intentionally well-worn look, but because its concept is precise and perfected. It’s also already always packed.
Most of the cafe’s fans are here for the coffee. O’Neill is ex-Single Origin, and with help from a brilliant Square One Coffee roast, he’s producing complex, zesty espressos and a good rotating range of filters. “Other than their own shops, I'm the only one in Sydney that has their beans,” says O’Neill.
Everyone else is probably here for the bacon-and-egg roll made with smoked milk buns from Textbook Boulangerie Patisserie; a manchego-and-mango barbeque sauce; purple-cabbage-heavy slaw; a soft-yolk egg; and some the best bacon in Sydney (chef Tommy Prosser’s own Black Market Bacon). Smokey, textural, savoury and hearty.
This represents the rest of the menu well. There’s nothing outlandish or experimental, but it’s all very well done. There’s a daily selection of fat baguettes. Granola comes with house-made (which requires a serious amount of effort from Prosser) coconut yoghurt, rhubarb compote, slices of Granny Smith and a puffy-crunchy seed garnish. House-smoked salmon sits with crunchy, roasted zucchini stalks, almonds and dill on a bed of cauliflower puree. “I didn't want people to come in and not get what they feel like. Just keeping it simple,” says O’Neill.
O’Neill is also behind the minimalist design of the narrow space, which has a long concrete bar hosting customers on one side and O’Neill and Prosser on the other. “I've got sparkling water on tap, I have nice tunes on. It's just tasty food and tasty coffee,” says O’Neill.
Thirty Coffee 422 Oxford Street, Paddington (02) 9331 1807
Hours: Mon to Fri 7am–4pm Sat & Sun 8am–4pm