The Wooden Whisk
An early morning coffee, especially while rushing to work, is a necessary ritual for many non-morning folk. For the brain to function effectively, a Monday to Friday caffeine hit is the best $3.50 you can spend. The people at Wooden Whisk, a two-pronged venture on the North Shore, knows its target audience. St Leonards is a massive hub for train commuters heading into the CBD. Presumably that’s why the two cafes only open on weekdays, which is a loss to weekend latte sippers.
The Wooden Whisk – and its small sibling around the corner, Whisk Espresso (35 Chandos Street) – are the realised ambition of Sean Flanagan, who was previously with La Buvette in Potts Point. His breakfast menu has a fanciful flair not usually found in cafes, with a grazing board of goat’s cheese, double smoked bacon and tomato chutney. There's also a nod to the hearty Irish breakfast (he is a Celtic-derived Flanagan, after all) with black pudding and potato hash popping up side-by-side with chorizo.
The lunch menu is a sandwich-heavy proposition, with a New York-style reuben with pastrami that dares challenge Reuben Hills’ highly regarded take on the classic sandwich. There's also a great lamb ragout, Morroccan lamb fillets and ocean trout with pearl cous cous.
The smaller scale Whisk Espresso is a more fast-moving affair for those on the run, where you can grab a quick coffee and snack. There are future plans to open on Saturday and Sunday, when there's slightly less of a rush to get caffeine.