Annandale. A post office, an intersection that inspires multi-lingual profanity even on a good day, a pizza shop and a busy roundabout adjacent to a purveyor of well priced manure. Let's face it, Annandale was never where anyone ever went to rock or roll. It used to be where recently married 30 year old somethings with a slight artistic bent who (in the hopes of a different kind of enrichment) traded in spectrum for the domain and went to have well adjusted, dairy-intolerant children behind moderately sized white picket fences. But that's just the edifice, step into a little backstreet off Johnston and you might find a little revolution afoot. Shot through the mouth, and you're to blame ...(Revolver), you give other cafes...a baaad nammme.
CakeKnifeWives, it's time I took you for a little turn, roughly 360 degrees around, all the way towards Revolver, Annandale. All the way behind and deeper into the chirpy suburban backstreets lies this renovated little denizen of drool that houses some of the most intense caking, coffeeing (and pickling) the Sydney cafe scene has to offer. It's a secret the locals were trying to keep under well-fed wraps, but word about revolver is definitely out-and-very-about. If you haven't gotten your molars dirty, Revolver style, then you're just not being very nice to your teeth. Well. What are you waiting for? Are you ready to Yumble?
In a culinary epoch that offers the dubious virtues of soy cheese, vegan chicken, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and people who count the calories in their spittle, think of the existence of the ultimate cheeseburger w smoked mozzarella old school pickles + rosemary salted chats as Foodie-Soul-Redemption. There is something so 70's/80's about this burger. It reminds me of milk bars and pocket money and pinching boys you liked. It belongs to an era when the only artificial thing that touched a cow was a milk maid's hand cream. OldSchool and real. Its intense meaty, smoked-cheese-tart-homemade-pickled-relishedness isn't for just anyone. Like war, love, and the manual settings on an SLR camera - it's only for The Brave. Who among you will answer its call?
Celeste did. And she testified that it was a gorgeous gob-glob of earthly juiciness. Luscious meat and fresh, wet tomato packed in oh-so-delightedly-tightedly with a good honest slice of garish beetroot makes for old school burgering that will possibly make your eyes drool more than your mouth. It is foxy, creamy and stunning, the bread is the perfect cradle for the beautiful slab of not-too-cooked beef and salad and sticky sauces. The epic amount of smoked mozzarella layers the deep, rich meat in clouds and clouds of salty, subtle creaminess. Upon returning again to revolver I tried a big section of burger without the meat... and died. These are singlemouthedly the most exciting pickles I have ever had. They make them in the kitchen and they should feature within the top 5 on any list of things to do before you die. You honestly won't believe that the depth of taste that emanates from the slithering saltiness of one of these home-made pickles actually belongs to what was once a humble cucumber. If a burger before 10am isn't your style, then how about this:
Dad and Dan were both man enough for revolver's big brekkie. On wooden slabs in heavy black pans is exactly where you want to wake up. It's a cosy bed of two baked fresher-than-a-fourteen-year-old-at-the-movies eggs in house-made baked beans, with honey cured bacon, roast tomato, pork-fennel sausage and toast. Vegans and Muslims. Don't even think about it. You'll hurt yourself, you will. Delicious and sizzling, it's absolutely divine to watch the intense orange of a burst yolk spilling into the tomato and beans. The veggified version with danish fetta and hummus is a more pig-friendly option that doesn't sacrifice anything in deliciousness.
Summery special salads abound as well. This was the trout-flickered brown rice with roast vegetable and papaya. A chilled, oiled, gorgeous mess of rice and fish, with the roast vegetables to break up the colour and flavour. Salty and crunch speckled with the cool, chilled pink of tantalizing troutliness.
The tasmanian trout on sweet corn rosti w caramelised onion, avocado + lemon fetta was like finger painting on a plate. The tasmanian trout probably heard about how nice the rostis are at Revolver and decided to swim directly across the Bass Strait and up the East coast all by its forward-thinking-self.
The corn-spangled rosti plays cheeky hide-and-seek with you under layers of peaceful avocado, parsley-speckled-trout and dreamy dollops of fetta. And the purple splash of caramelised onion is perfect.
This is delicate and light and beautiful. One of my favourite things about this dish was the composition. Each flavour and colour kept to its own little section, it made the contrast wonderful and allowed you to work your way through different textures and tastes without having to suffer a standard bite of everything. It's so lovely and rustic to serve food this way.
The eggs benny are pretty famous, as well. As is the 9 hour roasted lamb bruschetta. However, both of this dishes suffer from one common, fatal failing: they're savoury, not sweet...and sweetness (at some point in every good girls day) just becomes down right necessary...
Rodney, the man behind the Revolver gun, knows a good cake. He does after all claim the earthly fortune of calling the baker-heart-breaker Barbara, Mum. All you have to do is see one of these taunting, tawdry treats to be glad as hell that they kept it in the family. The desserts are unapologetically classic: 1960's OldSchool mouth-pow-wow. We all go in for the pannacottas and the tirimasus, its so-souffle and beacoup-bruelee to do foreign sweet-somethings these days. We might have forgotten our cakey roots, but thank god Barbara hasn't...
Australians all, let us rejoice. The Vanilla Slice. It's back, Barbara style. The humble pie-shop smoko treat has gotten a new lease on its cakely life under the masterful direction of this woman who knows how to make an incendiary, frenziedly texture cream.
As soon as the vanilla slice appeared at the table (like prince charming on a gilded plate headed for the fairy tale of my stomach) I had the girls at the next table asking if it was my first time. Yes, yes it was. I was about to be touched for the very first time. The Vanilla Slice Groupies started frothing at the mouth about how unbelievable this treat was and advised me to fetch a sharp knife - posthaste - so I could cut into the almost bovinely dense pastry-body of this sweetly saccharine seraph.
Think stodgy, sticky, tricky vanilla insanity as cream. It is dizzying sugared-velvet on a stupefied tongue. Denser than denial but twice as custardly-comforting. Real whipped eggs. Layers upon layers of honeyed confusion. Lightness and heaviness all swathed in a sure, strong vanilla mouth-slick.
The crowning layer - like Colin Firth's Darcy's brooding brow - almost defies penetration. A dumbstruck butter knife has to beat into it with ever quickening force to separate the gorgeously honeyed velour of those syrup-sticky-stuckity-stuck layers. This spins on your fork. It dances and sparkles and smiles. Barbara's addition of real passionfruit in the icing is the culinary equivalent of being on an operating table and moving slowly towards the light: intoxicating, overpowering and celestial. Glorious, glorious passionfruited vanilla heartsong. The SharpSlapTang of the passionfruit laces the sugary-vanilla-cream with just the perfect amount of twist and spike to leave you in a dizzied jumble of your own abandoned passions.
The orange syrup cake is just as lovely. Dipping a sly fork into a wedge of this will leave beautiful spider-web-like strands of syrup tracing behind the dazzled fork in the shy morning light. Sparked with orange, zesty and fresh and moistly-rich, astounding cake. Celeste loved the no-nonsense chocolate cake with chocolate icing, and Mum and Dad edge closer and closer to a diabetic coffin with ample helpings of the daily muffins.
Chuck one of the best lattes I have had (and consistently) into the mix with some home-made tea blends, fresh juices and quirky sodas, and it really is enough to make your toes scrunch. This is an impeccable translation of dream into reality. You can tell that the owners have put all of their ventricles and aortas into the design of the menu, the design of the space and the way they bring it all artfully together. Here's to taking your imagination out for a walk in the real world! Well done, Rodney + Crew.
Revolver happens at 291 Annandale St, Annandale. Ph 9555 4727. It's Monday - Sunday 8am to 4pm.
Seriously, get here. Even if it's just for the coffee alone. This is a great place for breakfast and lunch, the more mature crowd is actually a nice change from SurryHillsBondi tweens and their partially exposed punk-rock derrieres. Besides. Older crowds make me feel younger! The prices are pretty impressive when you consider how ample the serves are - and how superior the ingredients. The space has a really lovely feel, clean and buzzing but peaceful outside, and with a very attentive, cheerful service. The love is there in the coffee, in the food, in the did-it-themselves renovations and in the fact that Barbara is usually around giving Rodney a helping hand on busier days. Aww, shucks. Where would we be without our mums? Come, then, come one, come all, and come now.
Revolver: it's totally Bang-Bang!