Competition along the Majors Bay Road shopping strip has made the people of Concord the winners. Toco Fresh is my second quality café experience there in as many weeks.
With so many neighbouring cafes, the motif is clearly aim high, because nobody can afford to fail and see their repeat business decide to head next door.
Far from a cookie cutter café offering, Toco Fresh has a distinct point of difference from their popular Italianate neighbour.
Bright colours are the first thing you’ll notice, across painted metal stools and chairs in their al fresco seating area, and in the bright neon signage within.
With a larger outdoor space, there are plenty of racing bike propping opportunities, as the large group of MAMILs (middle-aged men in lycra) next to us suggest.
For them, and us, coffee is the first order of the day. Beans roasted by The Grounds in Alexandria are put to good effect in a Latte ($4) and a Flat White ($4), that both have well-balanced bitterness, body and robust flavour.
We leave aside protein-based smoothies for freshly squeezed juice, choosing one called OT ($9). The well-presented drink has an enduring spicy ginger and peppery celery finish, but kicks off with green apple, cucumber and lemon, that makes it super-easy to neck.
Juicy buttermilk chicken makes The Dirty Bird ($18) easy to devour. The oil-free fried bird is piled onto a single Belgian-style waffle with sweet pickles and a slurp of maple syrup, making an easily manageable rendition of the ever-popular Southern American dish.
Spying both house-made brisket and pork belly appearing across a number of items in Toco Fresh’s all-day breakfast and lunch list, I resolved to try both of them. Piled onto toast with cooked spinach to break up the intensity, thin slices of brisket are the basis of the Texas Eggs Benny ($20). Unlike the fried chicken, this is a substantial dish, with two poached eggs hiding under the mass of cleverly smokey Bearnaise.
The brisket is good, but Toco Fresh's roast pork is even better. Eaten inside a sesame-seed topped charcoal burger bun as the Osaka ($18), the thinly sliced, honest and porky roast has little bits of crackling scattered throughout. The pig is the highlight of this sandwich that teams it with tasty cheese, coleslaw, crushed cashews and wasabi mayonnaise, and calls it Japanese. I’d call it modern Australian myself, but whatever you happen to name it, it’s definitely a tasty, well-presented dish.
85 Majors Bay Road, Concord
Ph: (02) 8765 0850