Benzin Café is Daniel Karjadi's first boutique café. Growing up with a father heavily involved in franchise chains, including Jamaica Blue and Muffin Break, Daniel has considerable café experience up his sleeves.
At the four-month-old Benzin, Daniel is but one of a triumvirate of owners (including his brother); with the name coming about via them all identifying as petrolheads.
Sensibly then, they’ve chosen to open in Dural, where there’s more space to go around, for things like parking. The large format space sits under a childcare centre, with underground parking beneath, plus a long driveway and apron where folks can show off your own pimped ride. This attracts in car club meetups on Sundays, so if you’re interested in cars, that's the best time to visit.
In keeping with the theme, the interior has an industrial feel with concrete walls, made more interesting with a shiny grid of nine classic wheels and automobile-themed art.
All the grey is kept from being gloomy with plenty of natural light, with plenty of folks taking advantage of the bench seats that line the walls of the sizeable open-plan room.
With beverages a big part of the Benzin offering, a jittery caffeinated ‘fill her up’ car mural by Lithgow-based artist, Le Grizz, makes the perfect backdrop to their cement grey La Marzocco machine.
We pass up the Gabriel Coffee in favour of a PB & B Shake ($9) teaming smooth peanut butter - cleverly placed on the inside rim of the glass - with banana into an enjoyable milkshake with a nicely adult salty edge. A well-presented Booster Juice ($8) looks healthier than it tastes, with flecks of green spinach dominated by mango and banana with a hint of lime. I reckon it could do with more lime to balance the fruit's natural sweetness, but I’m a bit of a sour freak these days.
In terms of eats, Benzin have a contemporary Australian all-day brunch and lunch menu with enough global influences to keep things interesting. Served with shoestring fries, the Katsu Sandwich ($17) gives you three white-bread finger sandwiches with the crusts cut off filled with chicken katsu, rainbow ‘slaw, a scrape of Dijon mustard and Bulldog tonkatsu sauce. It’d be improved with Japanese white bread that has a pillowy softness that’s very hard to match.
Presented on a metal rack, a pair of Pulled Beef Tacos ($18) win by using aromatic and tasty rendang-inspired, pulled beef. The long fibres suit the over-stuffed taco that sits somewhere between soft and hard through toasting, however there’s too much of it to be pretty eating, so I’d suggest eating some out before you tackle it hands-on. Even keeping the toppings – guacamole, black beans and salsa – on the side, it’s messy business with juice and fried shallots flying everywhere.
Portions are slightly on the small side, perhaps to allow you to indulge in a Sonoma treat for the road – that is, if you’re allowed to eat inside the pimped-out vehicle you’ve “gone drivin’” in, as the cafe's closed sign suggests.
Thanks to AGFG for arranging this visit.
1/242 New Line Road, Dural
Ph: none supplied