With only a small counter and shop front, Black Toast is deceptively large. It goes back fairly deep, opening into a decent seating area. And it’s a good thing too, because it usually gets pretty crowded on weekends.
Packets of Campos Coffee, Sonoma and Madhouse Muesli and Black Toast’s very own organic chai line shelves as you enter, all available for purchase. There are also Sonoma sourdoughs and small range of fairly standard cakes and pastries laid out in the rustic wooden counter. The further you walk, the more industrial it gets, with graffiti art covering the walls, exposed pipe, etc. However, rather than feeling like you’re inside a suspiciously clean warehouse or factory, like most industrial-type eateries, you feel like you’re sitting outside it, on the street.
At $3.50, the coffee wasn’t particularly notable, just good given the lack of options around. This made me consider that perhaps the food and seating was the main drawing point of Black Toast, and the reason behind its popularity. Then the packaged chai got me thinking; maybe I ordered the wrong drink…so I went back to try the chai latte. I don’t know that they use their actual mix of herbs and spices you see in the packets or whether it’s some kind of powder, but the result is pretty damn tasty and full of cinnamon.
Regular coffee/chai: $3.50
43 Booth Street, Annadale
Sydney has no shortage of chocolatiers. Consumers definitely have an extensive selection when it comes to gifting delicate fine chocolates upon their friends and themselves. And although Belle Fleur isn’t one of the oldest chocolate stores, it does have over 30 years of experience in dreaming up exciting new creations and pleasing the public.
The stores themselves have a very homely authentic feel, although that is challenged somewhat when you come across the “novelty” chocolate section (chocolate iPhones, soccer balls and what not).
The selection of fine chocolate flavours is impressive though. If you’re finding gifts for your overseas friends, there’s a great range of Australian-themed flavours; ANZAC, wattleseed, lamington, beetroot ganache (don’t be put off, it’s really good) and eucalyptus. What stood out the most though, was the selection of chocolates that had fresh whipped cream in them. This is something that I haven’t seen in other chocolate stores and it’s damn amazing. In particular, I recommend the Melba; a combination of peaches and cream covered in milk chocolate, or the Tear Drop; whipped cream mixed with honey and praline atop a crispy nougat base all encased in milk chocolate with dollops of white chocolate on top.
You can also buy chocolate bars, chocolate coated goods and cooking chocolate, but these aren’t as impressive as the fine chocolate range (and Haighs has got you pretty well covered on that front). The hot chocolate is worth a try though; served hot in store and made from single origin beans, it’s rich and sweet but still has that real cocoa taste rather than sickly chocolate syrup.
Hot chocolate $3.50
Fine chocolates around $2 each
584 Paramatta Road, Petersham
658 Darling Street, Rozelle
Images from Belle Fleur’s Facebook and website.