The Factory Grind was one of those cafes that sat on the edge of my consciousness. I’d noted it always had full tables when I was visiting venues in the renovated St. Margarets complex, but had never actually made the time to visit. A recent brunch with a friend demonstrated just how negligent I had been...
About a year and a half ago, The Factory Grind was taken over by Efe (Eddie) Topuzlu. While keeping the same name, Efe has set about earnestly trying to resurrect the look and the fading reputation of this once-popular spot.
With dangling greenery, geometric wallpaper, a curved banquette and light flooding in from two sides, the interior is much more inviting than I was expecting from the old garage exterior.
With the afternoon sun still hitting Bourke Street, we opt to enjoy our late lunch outdoors on the sheltered Short Street side. Efe – if you haven’t already guessed by his name – is Turkish, and has placed his own cultural spin on the café’s updated menu.
The Turkish Breakfast Board ($24), served all day long, is a great way to graze with friends. You’ll find a combination of fresh ingredients, like tomato, cucumber, purple cabbage salad and dark olives, complemented by cheeses, like stringy halloumi and marinated feta; with feta also featuring inside a flaky, burek cigar.
The board normally comes with a boiled egg and sucuk (spicy sausage) though if you ask nicely (or if you happen to be Turkish), you can get a pan of sucuk scrambled eggs instead.
Use the accompanying plate of bread to mix and match between sweet and savoury snacks by combining it with the generous pot of house-made cherry jam and dried apricots. Best thing I put in my mouth was the dried apricot that I dragged through kaymak (Turkish clotted cream) and honey.
While it might not be Turkish, Scrambled on Arepas ($21) remains one of the café’s most popular items. It’s an updated throwback to a previous owner, delivering you two Colombian cornmeal arepas (like crisper savoury pancakes) with Turkish scrambled eggs (menemen) tossed with lightly cooked tomato and green capsicum. The plate is adorned with a swathe of mashed avocado, topped with a crunchy cucumber, green olive, cherry tomato and jalapeño salsa, and an ascending row of puddles of chipotle mayonnaise. It’s an interesting and well-balanced vegetarian breakfast that I’d happily order again.
As for the all-important coffee, it’s actually a pretty big deal here. You’ll find 12-hour extraction cold drip, batch brew filters and Turkish coffee, all on the menu. My dining companion’s Latte ($4) was smooth and didn’t require sweetening against ordinary cow milk. It was made on Sweet Spot, their house blend of Colombian and Sumatran beans, roasted in Botany by Deluca.
I stayed faithful to the café’s point of difference and drank a Turkish Coffee ($6) that was both smooth and strong, served with pistachio-rolled Turkish delight and a palate-cleansing lemon mint sparkling water.
The last thing you need to know about this Darlo gem is that they never close. Put them in your head for those pesky public holidays, that is, if you can’t get here sooner.
The Factory Grind
1/344 Bourke St Surry Hills
Ph: (02) 8021 8026