Review: Barista and Cook (Lunch Menu) – Waterloo (Sydney)

A dazzling, light-filled open warehouse space fitted out with bright colours, hanging greens, and a playful mish-mash of tables, booths, and stools lined up to look out over Bourke Street: Barista and Cook couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for Waterloo, an area buzzing with new apartments. Opening earlier this year, the new coffee brewer and eatery has a fresh, attractive industrial look and an energetic approach to the local cafe culture, with the team clearly determined to jet to the forefront of Sydney’s high standards for breakfast and brunch spots. It has turned into a bit of a destination not just for locals but those from all over Sydney seeking out a good, social feast for brunch.



Now several months into operation, the team are looking to build on their already strong following by extending their menu, adding fresh new salads, shakes, and a shared-meat selection.




Owner Alan Thompson is a coffee enthusiast (hence the name) so there’s no shortage of good quality cold drips, Chemex coffee, macchiatos, and more, along with fresh juices (grab the Beet It ($8.50) which mixes pineapple, beetroot, and apple), smoothies, milkshakes, and tea. Drinks are designed to suit a range of tastes, so you could just as easily pep yourself up with a V60 Pour Over ($6) or Banana Boat ($9) smoothie with oats, maca, and almond milk, as you could indulge in some Oreo Biscuit ($9) with chocolate, yoghurt, and jersey milk, or Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate, and Black Sesame ($8.50) milkshake.



The food options are limited but there’s more than enough here to make sure you’re well along your way to satisfaction. Their respectable Grass-Fed Cheese Burger ($19) is a simple and straight forward meal with house pickles, wagyu, bacon jam, chips, and melted cheese in between a milk bun, an easy choice for the indecisive. Even better is the crunchy Spiced Fried Chicken Roll ($19) with kale coleslaw and chipotle mayo wetting the fried chicken with fresh flavour, stuff some of the side of chips into the soft bread roll and you’ve got yourself a winner.



Or you can always save those chips and use them to scoop up the Cauliflower Cheese ($10) which is available as a hot, creamy side.


For non-meat eaters loading up on one of the generously large salads is a tempting option, but for those who can the most necessary order would include a dip into the new shared-meat plates. Get the Smoked Beef Brisket ($22) which is served with eggplant caponata, hands down one of the best briskets I’ve had in a cafe. All shared meat plates comes with a choice of salad, and while the options are very few, any of them will pair up well with the rich, smokey meat.



The best dessert choice here is the new and improved Ice Cream Sandwich ($8) with a more-is-more approach, giving you a few scoops of intense vanilla ice cream sandwiched in between two waffles coated in chocolate. It caps off the balance of healthy and indulgent that’s available at Barista and Cook, tipping the scales towards the excessive.

This is a necessary local haunt in every sense, playing with the raised standards of Sydney’s cafe culture and punting right up there with the likes of Devon and Three Williams. It remains to be seen whether the hours will ever be extended to include dinner, but for now, Barista and Cook is one of the best breakfast/brunch/lunch spots in Sydney.

Barista and Cook

Address: 834 Bourke Street, Waterloo 2017
Contact: 02 8399 1234
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 6am-4pm; Saturday-Sunday 8am-4pm


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.