Healthy, fresh and friendly is a winning formula at Barry Cafe.
Seated beside an expansive wall of windows, in the warm sun and levity of a Friday morning without work, I am welcomed into a space already known and loved by Westgarth/Northcote locals, Barry Coffee and Food. I take in the fresh white walls, timber tables, bustling attentive and friendly staff and beautiful floral arrangements on the tables. In that moment I cannot think of a single thing I’d rather be doing.
A staff member brings me a menu and I am immediately drawn to the Broccolini and Kale Breakfast Salad ($19) – I’ve got a thing for Buddha bowls and this seems to be pretty close – which includes kale, raw broccolini, avo, lentils, chilli, basil, activated almonds, coriander, pepitas and topped with a soft poached egg. Basically, all of the delicious things.
I order my standard full-fat flat white ($4.20); Five Senses Barry’s Blend, a combo from Brazil, Ethiopia and Tanzania. It doesn’t disappoint. Then I notice an interesting menu item, coconut cold brew ($5.50)… now I may have been living under a rock, but this is a new concept to me, so of course, I order one of these too. It arrives in a beautiful round glass and looks like a regular cold brew over ice, but because it’s mixed with coconut water, it has an appealing cloudiness. It tastes really interesting, refreshing and smooth with a bitter kick at the back of the tongue and no hint of the sweetness you might expect from the coconut. I’ll definitely be back for one of these when the weather warms up.
The kale salad arrives. Beautifully presented in a rustic pile, a very generous portion of glossy greenery with a perfectly poached egg and a few delicate micro-herbs on top. To me, this is a perfect breakfast. Filling, tasty and super healthy with a little protein.
The lovely server suggests I try something sweet and when I express my worry that I’ll get too full, she runs off a list of items that can be easily packed up for take-away. I’m convinced (pretty easily!) and I order the ricotta hotcake ($20) which has grilled pineapple compote and coconut labne. I’m told that I’ll need to allow twenty minutes for this to be prepared, but I am very happy to wait and continue to sip on my coconut cold brew.
While waiting for the hotcakes I spot a small selection of boutique grocery items on the shelves including jerky, cereal and packets of coffee that are piled floor to almost-ceiling. I take a wander around and notice the delightful sweet treats ready to be consumed with a take-away coffee, and the small fridge filled with healthy grab-and-go tubs of fresh salads.
My hotcake arrives and it is a thing of beauty! I cannot help but photograph it with its sticky caramalised pineapple, a slice of freeze-dried pineapple sitting upright amid flourishes of purple, yellow and orange pansy petals. Finished with a drizzle of maple syrup, I cannot wait to tuck in despite already feeling quite full. A fluffy and substantial mouthful with a crusty, well-done bottom. This would be perfect to share with a friend as it’s a big meal on its own.
Before leaving I have a chat with café co-owner Anne and we concur that Barry’s point of difference is the combination of an expansive healthy menu, a focus on friendly service and good food that is reasonably priced. It was an absolute pleasure to visit Barry and I will be back with my family very soon.
Barry Coffee and Food
85 High Street, Northcote
03 9481 7623