La Locanda’s Andrea Vagge and Fiona Bloomer bring us salads in the city, with not a puffy dress in sight (unless its aquamarine green).
You’ll be forgiven for not having noticed Greenheart Espresso before. Housed in a narrow space just off the corner of Kent and Park streets, it’s a little hole-in-the-wall cafe/lunchtime spot that cropped up from out of nowhere a little under two months ago.
But once your eyes have drunk in the distinct aqua hue of this outfit and its healthy lunchtime offerings, you won’t be able to unsee it again. The first thing you’ll notice is that sweet, aquamarine green. It’s easy on the eye and sits somewhere close to Pantone 3265 EC – for those of you who are design-inclined.
“The tiles came first,” says co-owner Fiona Bloomer, pointing at the counter tiles which were chosen by Matt Woods – who designed Bloodwood’s rough-hewn decor – and to whom the couple gave full creative license with their shop. From here, that colour flourished, overtaking the walls, the ceiling and the logo, in one huge, turquoise wash.
Naturally, the colour isn’t without its own sense of symbolism. From the green hue of raw coffee beans to the green, healthy spin they’re touting, chef and Fiona’s partner Andrea Vagge says it was the ideal colour and the ideal name for their latest venture.
Morning coffee or healthy lunch, Greenheart Espresso has both.
The vibe: Quiet and friendly
Ideal for: Work meetings and quick work bites
Try the... any of the salads with iconica chicken in them, $12 (takeaway), $13 (dine in)
By the way...they do lunch orders. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more.
Find them on Facebook: Greenheart Espresso
Yes, they’ve done this before.
Rewind back two years and the couple are back in the kitchens of Bronte’s La Locanda. Hailed as an institution for Italian cuisine, after nine long years of running this ship the two felt they needed a better work-life balance. “We have kids,” says Fiona. “Being Bronte, you have to open at night and on weekends. We wanted to find a place where we could have our weekends and nights to ourselves, to our family.” The answer, they found, was in the city.
Living just over the bridge in Annandale, they’re not fussed about the early start and happily fling their doors open at 7am to greet the morning rush of coffee and pastry fiends. Come knocking a little earlier and if lady luck (a.k.a. Fiona) is around, she’ll even let you grab your cup of java before the line settles in.
By 10am though, things tend to cool down enough for Andrea to focus on lunch. If you thought your morning hit was good, you have to return for this.
Every day Greenheart offers three organic salads with influences that span across the globe. When we arrive, there are lashings of Moroccan, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine waiting for us.
There’s a couscous and roast pumpkin salad and a quinoa, hot smoked Snow Mountain River trout, beans, fennel and radicchio salad, but the one we’ve got our eyes on the roast la ionica (preservative free) pulled chicken with soba noodles, chili, crispy shallots and Thai dressing.
It wasn’t a hard choice. Or a wrong one. The chicken is soft, sleek and tender and the flavours fuel our forks to pick all the soba (and everything attached to it) off the plate.
Behind the glass counters, pastries and sandwiches fly off the shelves early by the dashers-and-runners, but for lunch there is one other "quick" option: it’s a single item that changes daily depending on where Andrea’s chef-like mood takes him. Yesterday it was pork fennel sausage, radicchio and onion pizza. Today, it’s Vietnamese green papaya and chicken rice paper rolls. Tomorrow? Well Andrea hasn’t decided yet.
Guess we’ll just have to follow the green-tiled road to see for ourselves.
Address: 432 Kent Street, Sydney
Opening Hours: Weekdays 7am-4pm