It’s not surprising that a café with Single Origins coffee and freshly made panini sandwiches has popped up in the foodie hub of Crows Nest, but it is surprising that it is not more well known. This is probably because Montagu is not located on any of the main streets, but rather tucked away inside the end of Ernest Street that backs onto a council reserve and an inner laneway.
Despite this, the place is bustling with customers on Sunday morning enjoying a lazy brunch just like we also are about to. The style of the café is in line with the recent trend of transplanting a Surry Hills/Melbourne café vibe into the suburbs of Sydney, with black walls and etchings in white chalk on top of them as well as funky decorations.
They’re a bit shortstaffed today so it takes awhile to get their attention since we’re seated outside in the covered courtyard, but they’re friendly and we order a cappuccino with 2 of their all day breakfast paninis. The boy enjoys their coffee; he’s a fan of Single Origins beans which have more of an earthy aroma and slightly more bitter taste.
I was a bit nitpicky and requested that my free range bacon Panini come with tomato relish instead of beetroot relish, which they were happy to accommodate. The bacon was quite oily, and was layered with a fried egg and aioli, but sadly the usually strong garlic taste of the aioli was missing – in fact we couldn’t taste any aioli at all. The panini was decent but did not live up to our expectations based off the reviews we had read prior to coming…
Free range bacon panini, $10
The boy got the smoked salmon panini with citrus crème fraiche and rocket, which was quite fresh and zesty tasting thanks to the citrus crème fraiche. The salmon was nice and light and the panini bread was toasted well to give a nice bit of crunch in contrast to the soft filling. The overall mix of flavours was something the boy hadn’t tried before so it was an interesting experience for his tastebuds.
Smoked salmon panini, $10.50
A side note for those who love quirky decorations at cafes/restaurants – looks like the teapots at Montagu come with cute little knitted tea cosies which we spotted on a neighbouring table and took a sneaky snap of…
My verdict is that while the paninis were not anything spectacular, the laidback vibe of Montagu is great and it looks like it’s already a popular choice among locals. I’d probably come back on another weekend to try out their lunch menu.
2/13 Ernest Street
Crows Nest NSW 2065
Phone: (02) 9438 4478