The founder and previous managers of The Shortlist – Rebecca Keane, Jake Thomas and Hugh Piper – have worked their magic again with the recently opened Copper Mill cafe. A simple, stylish fit-out featuring concrete floors paired with wooden bench-tops and tables and a fresh coat of slate paint have successfully tapped into Alexandria’s business clientele. Yet the longneck water decanters and distinctively relaxed open kitchen leave you with no doubt that the trio have stuck to their casual roots.
Coffees are whipped out using Golden Cobra’s Human Cannonball roast, or there’s a rotating single origin filter option from Moccamaster, all served using powder blue and terracotta cups and saucers. The menu is a rustic, comforting affair with chef Piper’s Peruvian background infusing each dish. The beet-cured salmon salad with quinoa, garden peas, cherry tomatoes, chilli and yoghurt is hard to go past. There’s also a healthy array of sandwiches assembled daily using fresh Brickfields loaves and rolls. As Piper says, the menu is a selection of “dishes I’d want to eat on the weekend”, all served on simple, round plates, leaving aside the bells and whistles.
Named for Alexandria’s industrial history, the exposed brickwork and copper pipes are a reminder of times past. The space feels larger than you might expect, thanks to a clever floor plan, with plenty of bench-side stool seating and window watching pews available.
Cheeky details like Young Henry’s flagons used as flower vases, brown paper takeaway bags with Kanye West’s epitaph to ‘hurry up with my damn croissants’ and an encyclopaedia of horror characters used as wallpaper in the bathroom, allude to the owners’ youthful spirit. A lot of work and thought has gone into The Copper Mill, with no corners cut. The trio have already proved themselves a formidable Darlington force and they’re doing it again in Alexandria.
The Copper Mill
338 Mitchell Road, Alexandria
Mon to Fri 7.30am–4.30pm
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