Fernside Coffee Shoppe
A fab new café that definitely isn’t in Surry Hills
Just think – as recently as a couple of years ago, associations with Redfern were avoided as readily as Mel Gibson at a bar mitzvah. Pubs and cafes a mere couple of blocks south of Cleveland Street – the suburb’s city-side border crossing – were adamant in listing their address as Surry Hills.
But thanks to some brave pioneers, and appreciative local patrons, it’s not only OK to be the ’Fern side of the street, it’s good for your street cred.
Fernside Coffee Shoppe’s site was a no-brainer for new cafe owners Abe and Arthur, who have transformed a rather forgettable shopfront on Baptist Street, across from the Surry Hills Shopping Village, into an attractive and smart space. Arthur laughs when he refers to the decor as industrial French chic, which doesn’t make much sense on paper, but, well, it seems fitting: warehouse-style high ceilings, polished concrete and exposed brick are softened by homey mismatched vintage furniture and some eye-catching work from local artist Will Lynes.
And while the confines are impressive, our favourite part is the use of the floor space. There’s room for more tables, but a wide corridor has been left open for those getting takeaway – which means none of that uncomfortable hovering over diners while you wait for your Campos coffee.
The menu is simple for now, with the boys wanting to get things right in these early stages. Breakfast, comprised of cafe classics like eggs benny (called the ‘Baptist benedict’), is available all day, while lunch features panini and other lighter Italian-style offerings. The owners are also trying to get a feel for local tastes, with one patron’s suggestion already finding its way on to the menu.
It all comes back to that sense of community and local pride that’s brought such positive changes to this once-spurned suburb. Let the reinvention of Redfern roll on.
Where: 401B Cleveland St (entrance via Baptist St), Redfern
Hours: 7 Days, 6am-4pm | kitchen closes at 3pm