Sydneysiders flock to new cafes the way bees swarm on anything with a stamen. Just when you think you’ve found a gem that doesn’t have a queue for tables and an intolerable noise level, then BAM, the latte set moves in. Shortly after Kogarah’s Montgomery St cafe opened, yup, there was a queue.
That was last winter and it still has queues. Get there early, or try mid morning, sandwiched between the breakfast and lunch rush. Kogarah is about 15km south of the CBD, and is a mix of residential (nice traditional architecture standing out among apartment buildings), commercial and light industry. Kogarah’s town centre has developed a lot in the past 10 years, and along with it is cafe culture. The ethnic mix includes a lot of Greeks, and fortunately strip shopping is still alive and bustling with fresh produce, delis, boutiques, eateries and cafes. Mediterranean flavours everywhere. Shopping the old-fashioned way makes a nice change from ubiquitous malls. Try Shooz to Boot, on Railway Parade, and My Emporium, Belgrave Street near the Greek church, for European imports.
Kogarah, about 2km straight up from the shore of Botany Bay, is probably best known for St George Hospital, the largest hospital in the area, and demand for good food and coffee goes with it. Many specialists have their rooms in the surrounding streets. I’ve seen medicos in scrubs scuffing down the lane to get Thai takeaways, and hospital visitors flock to the cafes to escape hospital coffee.
The sunny corner building housing Montgomery St cafe is typical of the federation architecture of the area – Victorian style, wrought-iron balcony railings and cute. The interior has exposed brick, with padded bench and wooden chair seating. All products are made on the premises.
We had coffee (very good), the grande egg roll with onion jam and aioli, and a cooked breakfast, while sitting in the sun. Cooked breakkies are $10-16. Our bill came to $33. The service is friendly and efficient, and staff cruise through the busy period without looking harassed. Montgomery Street is a side street, and although it has cars trundling through to the St George Private Hospital down the end, it’s still quiet enough for the traffic hum to be unobtrusive if you’re sitting outdoors.
The lunch menu kicks in after 11.30am. Two fine examples: corned beef sandwich with house-pickled beetroot, caramelised red onion marmalade, cheese, salad and mayo $11; lamb skewers in a lemon and herb marinade served with seasonal salad, fries and homemade tzatziki $15.
Montgomery St Cafe
52 Montgomery St, Kogarah, NSW 2217
Tel: 02 9587 7437
Open six days for breakfast and lunch.
*Pictures by Kelly Papaioannou, ©Taste for Travel 2012