What makes an iconic local gem? Not many places can say they have been around for two decades. Family founded First Drop in Redfern kicked off in 2003, and has witnessed its customers date, fall in love, get married, have dogs… then kids, fall outta love, and do it all over again (not necessarily in that order). And now finally they open their second venue.
We rock up to a quiet street just a skip away from the busy Metro Centre. It’s on the ground floor of a commercial building. It’s a large, clean, airy space with high ceilings and heaps of seating. On a breezy Saturday lunchtime, the place is humming with friends and families eating as happy fur babies enjoy the breeze outside in a large covered dining area. We take up a secret little nook behind the kitchens which have padded banquet seating.
A plan roars overhead. Sipping on an Emerald juice of apple cucumber, spinach and lemon makes me wish I was heading somewhere tropical jsut like my tastebuds. The first thing to notice about this place is that these boys are serious about coffee. The counter is graced by a La Marzocco machine. It’s the Lamogourghi of coffee machines with a double boiler, pristine shots and glossy milk. Ethiopian blend, Coffee Supreme is on today. They have batch filter, cold drip six hour coffee on tap and specialty beans by St Dreux. And yes, my latte is excellent.
The menu spans all day brekkie, ‘First Drop Favourites’, lunch, bowls and deli sandwiches. We kick off with onve of the ‘Favourites’ – HomeMade Beans.
Whaoh! It arrives like a kids’ tea party (in a good way) two halves of scorched chorizo stick out of a homemade tomato sauce. The eggs are baked in tomatoey goodness and a ball of knotted burrata is slowly oozing its glory into the sauce. It’s just waiting for slices of toasted sourdough with Pepe Sayer butter to be slam dunked. My word, this is a doozy of a dish. It’s been refined over 20 years and I really, really love it.
The Santorini surprise reflects the owners Greek heritage. A wedge of crispy spanakopita is accompanied by a salad of watermelon, grapes, kefalograviera cheese, halloumi, dried figs, greek yoghurt, walnuts & honey. Two skewers of chicken souvlaki are nicely spiced on a generous serve of flatbread, perfect for picking up chunks of greek salad, with a dollop of zingy house made tzatziki.
$15 gets us a skyscraper, chicken panko sarnie on Turkish bread. It is great value. It’s packed with shaved red cabbage, pickled carrots, gherkin and wasabi mayo. It’s not hard to see why this cafe is so popular. Good servings, lashings of fresh produce and cooked with love. The sandwich section contains some epic creations from a wagyu reuben to a duck banh mi.
The other winner is the Oriental Chicken Bowl ($23). Slices of glistening, seasoned grilled chicken sits on top of a chinese cabbage salad tossed in a ginger and garlic dressing with carrots, shallots, avocado, edamame, coriander, cucumber. It’s a cracker.
There is a lot that drives chefs crazy including cooking dishes that your customers love so much you can’t remove it from your menu. Owners Michael Savvakis and Christopher Hing have honoured a melting pot of flavours along with favourites which have been nutured for over TWENTY YEARS!! Perhaps that’s why the food at their new venue in Marrickville is so darn. good. That’s tried and tested for you.
First Drop Cafe, Shop 4 and 5/76A Edinburgh Road, Marrickville
Hours: Monday – Friday (6:30am – 3:30pm) Saturday – Sunday (7:30am – 3pm)