Hidden on a popular Surry Hills street is this cafe/bar/artspace. It serves cheap, quality eats, pours smooth local coffee, and stocks boutique wines. Time to follow the signs to the Nixon Project.
No, literally, follow the signs. On the corner of Foster and Campbell St there is, literally, a sign that reads “Nixon Project” with an arrow pointing you straight into what used to be the home of Stazione Espresso. But unlike that coffee stop, Nixon’s got a vision.
It’s gearing up to become the kind of place where you can chill with friends, pop in for a quick coffee, grab a cheap and healthy meal, meet corporates over lunch, and check out the next-big-musical thing on the fly.
You’ll never know what you may find on your day of arrival, and that’s the way it was intended. “We want eventually every day to have something new popping up here,” says manager Toni Veziris. “We’re working on gigs for May, nothing massive, just little gigs in that corner space. Also little parties, a few art exhibitions and some pop-up wines and beers.”
We’ve tried, tested, and can fully attest to its quality as we find ourselves buzzing off the walls of this wooden-clad venue. High tables line one side, a communal working table the other. And in between it all is your friendly barista, here to serve you another cup of java.
If you need it, that is.
Right now those beers and wines come courtesy of Young Henrys and Charles Smith respectively. They’re the known names. But one name that floats to the surface at Nixon that you may not be versed in (yet) is Black Drum Roasters. They’re from Summer Hill, and Nixon Project is the first to stock and serve their coffee in Australia.
The Nixon Project
The vibe: Trendy-cool.
Cuisine: Modern Australia w/ a healthy spin.
Ideal for: University meetings, business meetings, coffee hits, music lovers.
Bartender's choice: Affogato
Try the... Chorizo hot pot, $9
By the way... A different artist will paint the back wall every month, and a special superhero called Green Man will curate your dinner menu soon.
While the music hasn’t started playing yet, you’ll be kept well entertained by the cheap and healthy rotating lunch menu. Boards on the outside will inform you on what special is doing the rounds today, but the idea behind it, according to Toni, is to “give the people something fresh and modern.”
Otherwise, the set menu is a smorgasbord of affordable sandwiches and salads, eggs and small plates. We’re not exaggerating when we say that Nixon Project offers cheap eats for an otherwise expensive neighbourhood; nothing on the current menu costs more than a twenty.
In fact, all sandwiches and salads run for a bang-on university-student-friendly $11.
As a signature sanga, try the Nixon w/ bolognese meatloaf, tomato relish and cottage cheese, or for a little indulgence, there’s the 4/20 w/ nitrate free double smoked ham, soft brie, cranberry sauce and peppery rocks.
But if $11 is beyond your budget, we can steer you even lower. The breakfast bruschetta w/ cottage cheese, roast mushrooms, slow toast Tommies and rocket leaves will set you back $9, as will chorizo hot pot of Spanish ham, black olives, garlic and chilli. Which you can slosh down with a beer, if you feel like splurging.
By night, a transformation. Toni’s coy and mysterious about the whole ‘dinner’ thing at the moment, but he does reveal that there will be a superhero chef called Green Man taking over the pots and pans. What any of that means, we’ll have to wait to see.
If nothing else, the affogato will start and end your night on a high. It comes with a shot of vanilla, and a shot of liquor. Toni likes to pour the vanilla over first. Dig in, then work his way through the alcoholic bits.
You may choose differently. And that’s perfectly okay too.
Address: 35 Foster St, Surry Hills
Phone number: (02) 9281 4071
Opening hours: Open for breakfast and lunch