Straight from the parable to the plate, husband and wife team, Andrew Park and Lyn Kim, are feeding the multitude in Neutral Bay. Don’t let the overt Christianity put you off: there are no meager offerings, and the only things stuffed down your throat will come via your own hand.
Even the signage for the bright and airy café is discreet – from the street all you see is a simple black sign saying ‘Coffee’.
Inside there's just a stylishly designed gleaming gold logo plate, some words hidden behind the swish white coffee machine, and a dangling gold cross around Kim's neck. It's a second-generation café for Park and Kim, who opened up an earlier café by the same name as part of a row of businesses in Chatswood. Soaring rents and a desire to refocus their lives on family and their two kids, has seen the pair downscale to this well-situated, sun-drenched Neutral Bay café.
Under a tangle of hanging planter baskets, trailing vines, and hipster-inspired Edison bulbs on twine, I opt for a Beetroot Latte ($4.50) from the surprisingly restrained coffee-focused drinks list. It’s satisfyingly pink, and easy to drink, if a little sweet for my personal taste buds. My dining companion had no complaints about their Dirty Chai ($5), which has an intriguingly complex aroma.
With the decor looking so on-trend, I was kind of expecting the dishes to be a triumph of Instagram-worthy presentation over flavour. What I found instead was some of the best café food I’ve tried so far this year. Balancing healthy, clean eating with bags of Korean-inspired flavours, Korean Beef Tacos ($16) arrive looking like a veritable garden. Under a vivid green ginger, coriander and spring onion sauce, you’ll find shreds of slow-roasted Angus brisket, Thai-style romaine salad, and flecks of spicy ssamjang Korean miso. With a squeeze of fresh lime, these two soft flour tacos are difficult to pick up, wet and messy to eat, but gee they taste fantastic.
Chicken Fajitas ($14) are presented similarly, on back-to-back soft flour tortillas, though on this dish they avoid quite so much overstuffing. Spicy char-grilled chicken, crisp shallots, and cabbage ‘slaw are lashed with sriracha aioli, giving them a satisfying but not overwhelming level of heat. I didn’t want to stop at just one, but we’d already made a commitment to share both dishes.
From the all-day menu, Homemade Labneh ($17) straddles breakfast and lunch rather nicely. Presented on a pink plate with a pink smear of herbed labneh, it’s a healthy collection of poached eggs, heirloom tomatoes, pea sprouts, grilled chorizo and compelling baby bok choy kimchi. With chimichurri and paprika oil toppers and a host of nuts and seeds, it’s a compelling collection of high-quality ingredients that eats well, with or without the accompanying linseed sourdough toast. Praise be!
5 Loaves 2 Fish
1/17 Grosvenor Street, Neutral Bay
Ph: (0447) 117 777