Let’s get this over and done with early: this place sells CRONUTS. There, we’ve said it. Now let’s move on.
Because while a good handful of the clientele has come to sink their teeth into the croissant-donut hybrid piece of sugar-hit heaven that Brewtown Newtown sells like wildfire, this cafe/micro roastery/retail collective is so much more than a New York novelty.
It’s the brainchild of coffee connoisseurs Charles Cameron and Simon Triggs, who met while roasting coffee at Toby’s Estate six years ago before developing their careers elsewhere; Cameron at Single Origin Roasters and Triggs at Gnome Espresso.
It wasn’t until late-2013, when Berkelouw Books’ Newtown branch closed its doors, that the two saw an opening to combine their love of a good brew with a love for the local by establishing a caffeine-induced outfit together. “I got the call from Simon that there was an opportunity to do something here,” says Charles (Charlie). “Living in the south end of Newtown it didn’t take me long to say, ‘Yes, please!’”
Images courtesy of Kai Godeck
Aside from the golden gnome greeting you at the door (an inside joke referencing Triggs’ sister-venture), the first thing you’ll notice is the space. Gone are the racks of bookshelves and narrow passages of its Berkelouw days, in its place, an open industrialised setting of sandblasted exposed brick and wrought-iron beams, a throwback to the building’s manufacturing glory days when the area (fun fact) was called O’Connell Town.
“I love spaces with all kinds of surfaces,” says Charlie. “Wood, tile, brick, that’s what you get here. Wrought-iron signatures, dome lights…” They’re definitely aiming to secure Brewtown as a bistro-style cafe. It doesn’t hurt that it has a full commercial and pastry kitchen at its fingertips either.
Charlie assures us the busiest time is Saturday brunch, but even at 2pm on a weekday there’s a lively lunch presence - and a versatile menu to suit. “We’re not just that cronut place,” he says, “but we’re definitely riding the cronut wave!” The Elvis Burger (that’s fat Elvis) reflects this, as well as the bourgeoning ‘dude food’ craze. It’s a heavy construction of savoury cronut, beef patty, bacon and gruyere, with a side of hand cut chips that’ll satisfy any hungry truck-driver.
For hungry cyclists (this is Newtown after all), there’s a full vegan quinoa and chickpea falafel, or ‘veganator’ as Charlie likes to call it, available. But we’re busy smashing the beetroot cured ocean trout on Sweet Infinity sourdough, served as a breakfast (w/ sourdough) or lunch (w/out). We recommend you stay for both. It’s that good.
We also recommend you don’t leave Brewtown without a coffee in you.
At the moment, Charlie’s roasting two espresso blends: a Metropolis (black) and a Casablanca (white). Single origin plays less a central part to this outfit than mixed blends - which often represent all three major coffee areas (Latin America, Africa and Asia/Indonesia) in a specially curated mix. “It’s an artwork,” admits Charlie, who takes care of all the blending. Even adding 10% of a different roast can create a completely different coffee. His trained palette can tell the difference. All we can tell is that it’s delicious.
It’s at this point the sugar-craving hits our dessert stomachs. The last remaining cro- slabs of homemade banana bread look inviting, but so does that walk upstairs to Brewtown’s retail co-op: O’Connell Street Merchants. Be brave, take the stairs. Be even braver, resist the need to impulse-buy. Okay, don’t.
We couldn’t tell you what shops will be showcasing their wares today as this marketplace has a higher turnover than Kevin Rudd’s office. It could be Tokyo Bikes, Three Over One, Samantha Robinson etc. One thing’s for sure, there WILL be an impulse-buy at the newly launched Affogato Shack. That’s coffee by Brewtown, gelato by Cow and the Moon and concept by Charlie. “Basically Cow and the Moon and myself started the Affogato Project when I was at Single Origin,” he says. “We would pair different flavours of gelato with different single-origin coffees and Simon and I decided to continue the idea here.”
Here, it’s your choice of rum & raisin, pistachio or vanilla gelato, which come with Brewtown’s Casablanca blend as a standard. That’s one choice. Or , you could go all-out bat-shit sugar-high crazy with a cronut affogato sundae. That’s right, we’re saying it. CRONUT. Topped with gelato and smothered in a hot espresso shot.
You got us. We did come here for the cronuts.
Where: 6-8 O’Connell Street, Newtown
Opening hours: Daily (8am-4pm)
Facebook: Brewtown Newtown