Barry for food and coffee.
The usual sign of a good cafe, or at the very least a good coffee, is a tick of approval from the ambos. It is pretty safe to say, if a Paramedic is in your local Melbourne cafe, it’s sure to be a winner. With that philosophy in mind, Barry – Northcote’s newest hot spot – has plenty of Paramedics lined up down High street.
Serving up a range of the usual coffee options – espresso, long black, latte, flat white – as well as cold drips, aeropress and pour over using the fine selection of Five Senses blends and single origins, the coffee at Barry is superb, tasty and friendly to all palates. But so should it be as the teams behind Richmond favourites, Touchwood and Pillar of Salt are in front of this North-side venture. They know their coffee and they’re playing it safe.
The food on the other hand, is exceptionally experimental. The menu does little to keep the every day man, who just wants poached eggs happy, but instead favours vegan, vegetarian, gluten, lactose and every dietary intolerance plus is paleo, raw, superfood and pressed juice fad-diet friendly making it, the proud sponsor of pretty much every food fad of 2014 on the one menu.
The menu is dominated by the superfood culture sprucing coconut water, quinoa, kale and even activated almonds in most dishes. I tried the raw broccolini, kale, avocado, black pearl barley, chilli, basil, activated almonds, coriander, pepitas and a soft boiled egg salad and the burnt onion, buffalo mozzarella and basil omelette on toast.
The salad looked amazing. Well presented and as fresh as it could be. The textures were interesting, and there was no shortage of super ingredients packed into the one meal. But getting a taste of any one flavour was difficult – more chilli was needed to spice up the bland and maybe some lime to cut through all that green-leafy veg. The omelette on the other hand was delightful with strong caramelised onion and stringy mozzarella, both of which were presented with liberal offerings. I added a side of eggplant kasundi, which delivered some punch to the omelette.
Served with a side of north-side hipster, the decor is the usual third-wave sensation; however, a touch too crisp and out of place amongst the shabby-chic alternatives in Northcote; perhaps more suited to the likes of Prahran or South Yarra, forcing some competition on stronghold Top Paddock.
Barry is a bold move, taking a risk on a menu based on fad-food, which may not keep the masses happy. Having said that, the cafe is fresh, well presented and in the right location for the organic, superfood movement to create a strong following. It will no doubt rotate a seasonal menu that will evolve with age. If anything, the coffee is well made and very much appreciated.
85 High Street Northcote