Saturday, 28 July 2012

Gusto Espresso Bar

Gusto Espresso Bar – 211 Coogee Bay Rd, Coogee NSW 2034

Gusto - driven by the Bean
Gusto Espresso Bar is a small café situated on Coogee Bay Rd, just up from the Coogee Bay Hotel. Gusto is very much driven by the coffee bean. Two large and rather chic looking coffee machines line the back of the counter, while a significant area of the somewhat limited front bench is dedicated to coffee preparation. There are a few tables out on the footpath, perfect for people watching, however the seating inside is quite limited. There are two high benches seating four along the walls, and some smaller, lower tables hidden along the back wall.

Food on display - I ordered the banana bread
I went to Gusto with my friend D and her boyfriend A for a late afternoon catch-up tea/coffee. We had originally planned on going to another café, however that café had shut by the time we turned up at Coogee. Rather than heading home, we went on a mission to find a café that would remain open into the early evening. After a few misses, we stumbled upon Gusto which, judging by the number of people that were sitting outside, was very open.

We walked inside and quickly grabbed a seat at one of the high bench tables. As there are no menus at Gusto, we ordered off the large chalkboards behind the counter. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Gusto had actually gone to the trouble of listing all their teas. Most cafes, and especially most espresso bars, usually just write ‘Tea’ on their menus, leaving it to the customer to guess which teas they stock. Gusto’s board listed the usual: English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Camomile (sic), Peppermint, Green Tea, and ‘Lemongrass’.

Lavender Grey? Or Earl Grey?
When I got to the counter to order I was all prepared to order an Earl Grey, however quickly changed my mind after I scanned the tins of teas above the coffee machines and saw one labelled “Lavender Grey”. Seeing this somewhat unusual flavour made me excited, so I dropped my original Earl Grey and chose the Lavender Grey instead. However I was soon disappointed (and a bit confused) when the waitress corrected my order back to Earl Grey. My confusion continued when my tea arrived and the tea bag was clearly labelled ‘Lavender Grey’. Clearly my waitress had no idea about what it was she was serving.

Teapot in my tea cup
The tea was served in a standard metal, slightly banged-up teapot. My cup was also quite average. I found it interesting both from a presentation and a practical perspective that my teapot arrived sitting in my tea cup. I’m not sure if I like this or not; it either shows practicality or a lack of care in the tea-making process. My ‘Lavender Grey’ (as it eventually turned out to be) arrived in a teabag by TeaDrop. The tea was of a nice grade, however when I tasted the tea, I could not detect any lavender. The bergamot was also quite lacking. This leads me to believe that their stock might be a bit old, however this is hardly surprising for an espresso bar. I ended up getting 1.5-2 cups of tea out of my pot. By the time I came around to my second cup, my tea was way too strong. This was partly my own fault; I should have taken the teabag out sooner.

Overall, I found Gusto to be pretty standard in terms of tea, however their brand/quality of tea is surprisingly good for a café that runs on the bean. In terms of ambience, Gusto does not seem to invite their customers to stay for long. The stools which we sat on were very high and fashionable, but not were conducive to sitting for long periods and chatting. As Gusto seems to mostly be an in-and-out take-away coffee shop, I doubt that long chats were ever the owner’s intention. To sum up, I probably won’t return to Gusto unless I find myself in need of a late-afternoon tea-fix again. Saying that, however, the steady stream of customers ordering multiple coffees suggests that Gusto is definitely a must for coffee lovers.

$3 for a pot

Tea: 5/10
Good brand. Standard flavours. Confusion about what it was I drunk. My ‘Lavender Grey’ was not very lavender-y and lacked in bergamot

Pot: 5/10
Small pot; only poured 1.5 cups. Stainless steel; not very inspiring

Ambience etc: 6/10
Busy coffee shop, not conducive to long chats. Steady stream of customers in and out the door makes the café feel quite small.

Overall score: 16/30

MissTea xoxo

Find them:
(02) 9315 8963

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1 comment:

  1. Looks good c dot. You should take me here some weekend.