After extensive market research, I have discovered my small and ever-dwindling readership breaks down into the following types:
- People I am on the course with
- People I know personally and have told about the blog
- My girlfriend (I think)
- Absolutely no-one else
If you do not fall into either of those categories, I can only presume you have stumbled upon this and are interested in doing the Sydney WDI course.
For that reason, and in an effort to provide something useful should you take up the challenge, here is my guide to the places to eat within a block or two of GA.
In the proper Sydney Good Food Guide (which is like THE most important thing EVER and people genuinely GIVE A SHIT and BUY IT EVERY YEAR) they award 'chef's hats'. I won't be doing that.
Instead, I have devised my own rating system based around the common denominator of virtually all venues - the cheese & ham croissant. I will be using that to provide a meaningful benchmark of pretentiousness.
I have eaten in all of these places and will continue to do so, making any criticism pretty much null and void/entirely hypocritical.
Mecca is basically the pretty girl at school who's not bothered. The staff in there are what One Direction will look like in c.8 years after their yet-to-be-forged addictions have been dealt with. They once forgot my order and, after I reminded them, the guy instantly reached inside the till and handed me back my money. This is a sign that either a) they have an amazing attitude to customer service, b) are making way too much money, or c) both a) and b). Not to wish anything untoward, but I have this tiny desire for there to be a murder outside this place during my time at WDI, just so I can use the gag 'at least he was killed facing Mecca.' (Although technically I have used it now, so please don't go murdering anyone on my account.)
- Croissant title: Provolone and Proscuitto
- Pretentiousness: Massive but it's not their fault.
Bread Rolls on Harris
This has become our class go-to, partly because we have become a kind of cult, blindly copying one another's actions, but particularly because everything costs $4.50. The woman in here is the best salesperson on Harris Street and has this amazing trick of displaying one of everything, then when she sees you eyeball it says 'last one!' which makes you go 'OK, sure'. Right in front of you she replaces it with another from under the counter, and then you both lock eyes in silent mutual acceptance of her cunning. Clever girl.
- Croissant title: N/A
- Pretentiousness: Can't even spell pretentious. (Or croissant).
Fancy name, scooter parked outside, collars popped on their cafe-branded polos - yep, these guys are Italian. The atmosphere of operatic-singing, arse-pinching Italian-ness pervades the menu too, with a plethora of delectable sweet treats to accompany their kicks-like-a-mule coffee. This is a place that tradies swarm to which speaks to its value, consistency and lack of fuss.
- Croissant title: Provolone and Double Smoked Ham
- Pretentiousness: Wee bit
That line people say about 'I could tell you but I'd have to kill you?' I think if the guys from Le Depot said this to you about their recipes they would absolutely mean it. There is some serious artisanal shiz happening here, the kind that makes you wonder what would possess men, children even, to be so driven as to learn the dark arts of cake decoration.
- Croissant title: Ham and Cheese. Though you really want the Croque Monsieur or (the hipster's choice) the Crepe.
- Pretentiousness: they're French. It's natural. And alluring.
If you do WDI you will love Lego House for a few reasons. It's cheap, cheerful and, most importantly, open on Sundays. Seriously, if you come in on Sunday the only choice for three blocks is drinking the coffee at Lego House or the water in the Ian Thorpe Pool. They have let me down slightly in respect of the Asian-restaurant-funny-pun thing, but they do mention Lego which is pretty cool. The menu is your classic attempt to please all of the people all of the time and, being absolutely fair, they very nearly do. Also notable is the proprietor's Lego House tee which I presume he screen printed himself during a quiet shift.
- Croissant title: Cheese and Ham. (Ham the consistency of a vinyl floor tile.)
- Pretentiousness: Zero.
There are words in the English language which should never be placed in a sentence together. The proprietors of Lush Bucket have found an example of this and plastered it as big as they can across an Ultimo wall in tribute. Props to them. Inside is the healthiest array of food you will find in Ultimo with salads containing vegetables and grains you have never heard of. I swear they are making this shit up. ABC staff love this place and descend on it during their two hour lunchbreaks which can hold you up. Plus, the sweet barista lady has a habit of conversing with me which delays her dispensing of the black stuff. YES I HAVE BEEN TO IRELAND ONCE GIVE ME MY COFFEE WOMAN BLOODY HELL IT'S RIGHT THERE.
- Croissant title: Even the word croissant sounds fattening, don't say it.
- Pretentiousness: Barely registering.
I presume what you are seeing here is an accurate likenesss of Hannah, serving her pies. What is immediately obvious, judging by her figure, is that she has never eaten one of them in her damn life. Basically, if you are the kind of human who places stock in what other humans think of your human shape, this is not the place for you. For the current me, trapped in a coding maelstrom, without such concerns, this is where I'll be at 1.15pm. Real Sydneysiders respect Hannah's for being the guys behind Harry's Cafe de Wheels, the famous artery-clogging caravan in Woolomooloo, which basically makes them Clark Kent to Harry's Superman. And Superman was/is a dick.
- Croissant title: Don't come round here with your fancy French ways.
- Pretentiousness: Zero.