AS BRUNCH CONTINUES TO BE THE IN THING, CAFES ARE BOOMING, BUT GOOD FOOD AND COFFEE IS NOT ALWAYS GUARANTEED
You could be forgiven for showing surprise at the success Cafe Matteo is enjoying. If you haven’t been there, you might think it is just another cafe. They seem to sprout like mushrooms these days. On the outside it is indeed yet another coffee shop.
It is also proof you don’t need to come up with some amazing gimmick to do well.
Just try hard, be true and generous and people will come and then come back.
Matteo established its reputation for straightforward food and service when first opened on the other side of Anderson St to its current location.
In the same neighbourhood, but now in larger digs, the new Matteo hums with customers, breakfast through lunch, six days a week. To be honest, I thought it would be nice enough. Having been in for coffee once or twice, I’d glimpsed the cake/salad cabinet and acknowledged the fresh appeal. I did not expect to leave after lunch impressed enough to tell friends and pledge a return visit.
We arrive and help ourselves to the long bench seating in the centre of the cafe.
It’s Saturday almost midday and there are a few customers waiting for take-aways, mums and bubs, friends catching up, a solo worker with laptop open and a bevy of soccer mums and dads with their little crews proudly sporting team colours.
It’s busy, but there is plenty of industrious friendly staff, including Raili, who has come across from the old shop with her cheery smile and efficiency.
The coffee at Matteo is universally considered excellent and the cake cabinet sheer temptation. I love the sound (and look) of a macchiato tart – ganache on top, chocolate biscuit base with coffee mousse inside – as well as the pistachio and almond shortbread.
Not today! This is about eating some wholesome food and we’re in the right place.
Matteo’s club sandwich with kumera chips is a substantial feast. Layers of toasted rye pinioned together with wooden skewers and filled with turkey, pan-fried chicken breast, local smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and herb aioli, along with chunky sweet potato batons, is every bit as good as it sounds.
Quesadilla, a soft pan-fried tortilla stuffed with Matteo’s own lightly spiced bean mix, roasted capsicum and cheddar, smothered in crème fraiche and avocado salsa, is a walk on the wild side with a healthy undertone.
We’re stacked and agree it is apparent why this establishment has been embraced with gusto by local patrons.
Modern appeal, open, light and bright with plenty of outside and indoor seating, it’s a sure thing.