Phillip Bay looks like a typical migrant, working class suburb of Sydney. You’ll find big houses, big blocks, and a host of European touches, like frills on the gates and sunny roof terraces.
You’ll also find the Daily Dose Café & Restaurant, located on a suburban street in the former digs of a long-standing corner delicatessen that was run by Greek migrants.
The site is now owned by Mary & Jim Leondaris, and it’s instantly apparent that they’re dab hands at running cafes. Mary explains firmly that Daily Dose is their “seventeenth and last café” before going on to say her retirement plan involves Greece.
Moving on from the space's historical use involved a complete shut down over Xmas, to allow for a three-month renovation. The resulting café and restaurant is slick, without completely losing the charming, corner store vibe.
We pull up at an outside table in order to fully appreciate the bright blue skies, warm sun, and sleepy suburban backdrop. “We did a big Greek night here last night, and the marks on the pavement are all the plates,” said Mary, looking a little woefully at the white marks that sit in contrast to her shiny, clean interior space.
Mary delivers us iced water in lovely curve-topped glasses, which quickly turn frosty with condensation in the sun. Coffee here is fabulous – Arabica beans sourced globally and roasted locally in Mascot by William De Nass. It’s great in an Iced Coffee Frappe ($7) where a shot of espresso has been blended with vanilla ice cream and ice, and then topped with cream. The frappe arrives with a sachet of sugar on the side, but doesn’t really need it.
This is lucky because the coffee is so robust, our strong Flat White ($4.00) gobbles up two sugars to balance it, without turning it sweet.
The classic Haloumi Stack ($16.50) is more elegant than Eighties here. It starts with toast, smears it with good quality hummus, lays on potato and zucchini rösti and baby spinach leaves, then drapes the lot with lightly blistered haloumi cheese. Judiciously applied pesto and scattered button mushrooms contribute to the artful plating, with the dish eating as well as it looks.
For my dining companion, a chance to have The Lot ($19) proved too alluring. He resolutely mowed his way through eggs, tasty house-made beans, sausage, roast tomato, wilted baby spinach, mushrooms and quality bacon. The golden scrambled eggs were very well handled - you could virtually see the protein net holding them together, ensuring they won't be rubbery. The button mushrooms were the only weak point on both plates. While they looked the part, they were tangy and sharp from having been cooked in wine. It's a bit too hectic for brekky in the ‘burbs if you ask me. Otherwise, I love Daily Dose and its ‘locals only’ vibe.
Daily Dose Cafe & Restaurant
29 Canara Avenue, Phillip Bay
Ph: (02) 9311 0721