It is with huge thanks to Lisa from Weekend Food Escapes that lifer friend, Onika, and myself got to do a brunch trip to Rydalmere and tryout this cafe tucked into an industrial area that is attached to a coffee roasters, Cherry Beans. Lisa suggested me to head chef and owner Shane Lee (non-cricketer) because Cherry Beans does some damn good burgers among their cafe styled menu.
This particular venue is large industrial sized with mammoth warehouse roofing with a back entrance into the roasting section of the venue It has industrial graffiti styled art decorating the walls and there is also a smaller covered outdoor area where you sit on smaller benches or stools with smaller tables and coffee bean hessian bags all around, it was here we chose to sit.
It should be noted that out of their 39 Australia-wide franchised venues Cherry Beans is the only one attached to the actual roasting warehouse. Cherry Beans is a coffee roasting company that also franchises cafes, they specialise in arabica beans from around the world and their coffee is rated quite high. Each of the venues are franchised to associate with the bean but the food and operations at each individual venues is the responsibility of the franchisee.
The bonus of the Rydalmere Cherry Beans is the size of the venue is impressive and their weekday trade is huge because of the local industrial business, they also have a huge unit complex nearing completion across the road which will see their weekend trade increase, the downside is that the weekend industry trade slows down as the industrial area stops operation however smart people in the area will be aware of the great food and will venture in. For Onika and myself we were blown away at the quality and nuance of the food, it felt out of place in an industrial area cafe, it would easily transfer to the beaches area or inner city.
Chef Shane Lee is a chef who has worked and developed his own style and influence working at Bills, Four Seasons, Qantas First Class Lounge and Sofitel Wentworth, his greatest influence appears to have been French where he also worked and learned molecular gastronomy, it also oddly compliments that he is a qualified aerospace engineer. His menu is nuanced and refined, with an emphasis on clean and fresh ingredients. After years of working for other venues he decided it was time to open his own. All the meals have a skill to them and it is evident it is a well trained and experienced kitchen making your food and your burgers, this will not sit well with some burger aficionados. Some people will not want refined and nuanced burgers; as I was trying to explain to Onika, they are like librarian burgers that are stunning, intelligent and taste great when they let their hair down but a lot of the burgerinos will want a dirty whore burger that slams them against the wall and has their way with them. I hope this makes sense, it doesn’t make them better or worse, it makes their style different, it literally felt like everything you ate was clean and healthy, balanced and nuanced, imagine applying the principals of Feng Shui to a meal, this is what it tasted like, we were full but it felt like all we ate was healthy and better for us.
We started our feasting with the Breakfast Burger: Scrambled eggs, bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado mayonnaise on a brioche bun for $10-. You can also add a hash brown for $1.50. This was our introduction into Cherry Beans’ food, it was a simple dish, a great breakfast burger that was soft, fluffy and very light. I would have liked this one with the hash brown and while it was simple and delicate I would have loved to have a chilli sauce on it, a nice kick in the mouth to bring it home. If I lived in the area and was on my way to work I would definitely buy this and a coffee to eat in the car on the way to trafficville. We decided to rate every dish out of five, something I have only really ever done for burgers but………Onika 3.5/5 JK 3.8/5.
We then got their most popular breakfast dish, the Sweet Corn Fritters for $15. It comes with 3x sweet corn fritters (it may have been 4x – can’t see clear enough in the pic and we ate so much I have forgotten), two poached eggs and a simple salad. It is incredibly evident why this meal is their most popular, it is epic, it screams health on a plate and the part I loved the most, no bread, we cracked the egg to get some egg porn and them moved them on top of the fritters. They were perfectly cooked fritters and close to the best poached eggs I have ever eaten, and that simple salad with the most lightest of dressings brought the entire dish together. The salad was one of the freshest I have ever eaten and having a mouthful of the fritter with some of the egg and avocado in the one mouthful was one of the best breakfast bites I have taken. We both considered this our favourite dish of the meal. Onika 4.8/5, JK 4.7/5.
Following on from this we indulged in the Chicken Burger, it’s a house made thick chicken breast schnitzel, a small salad with lettuce, tomato with a mild slaw and mayo on a milk bun for $15-, it also comes with large crinkle cut chips on the plate with tomato sauce. This is the thickest chicken breast I have ever had on a burger, it was so impressive and so juicy, we both loved it. The breast is sous-vide cooked to get all the chicken cooked through while maintaining all its juice and then it is crumbed pre-frying in Lee’s secret crumb that is packed with light herbs including hints of curry and what we thought was also a hint of parmesan. As a simple chicken burger it is epic, that breast is one of the juiciest I have had, but we both wanted something more with it, it is purely personal taste but I wanted chilli or a spicy version, with the secret crumb, a piri piri version would nail it, or add some more slaw and make it a spicy slaw. But not everyone is like me and if you like a perfect simple chicken burger get all over this! This is where you can see the nuance in the cooking, the skills in the sous-vide with the chicken and the subtleties of the flavours are impressive, but it lacked those face slapping seductions the burgers in the scene are currently embracing. It is a burger made from a well trained chef, it just needs a little more risk. Onika 3.5/5, JK 3.8/5.
Next in line was one of the sexiest dishes I have seen, another light and healthy dish that longed to be demolished. This is the Poached Chicken with sautéed kale, caramelised figs, caramelised onions with bacon and horseradish cream on sourdough then sprinkled in pomegranate seeds. This dish is $13. Firstly, I thought the kale was spinach so don’t hold it against the dish, it is a minor flavour in a big flavoured dish and I have to keep telling myself, KALE IS HEALTHY.
This was definitely the most beautiful dish we ate, everything tasted sublime but all the flavours didn’t work as wonderfully as one would have hoped when eating them together. While the figs made the look of the dish we both thought this was the one ingredient that would have improved the dish if removed, and maybe replaced with avocado, OR, remove the horseradish cream and drizzle the dish in a honey. The sharpness of the horseradish and the huge sweetness in the figs clashed. We moved the figs to the side and ate the rest together and it was insanely flavoured and moorish, we then ate the figs as the meal’s side at the end and this worked better for us. We also felt the small amount of bacon in the caramelisation with the onions was also lost in the dish but I am sure it added some umami to the dish that balanced out in each bite. I would definitely eat this dish again. Onika 4/5, JK 4.2/5.
And our final dish before being wheeled in barrows to the car was the BURGER BURGER, their double beef burger. their signature burger for $16-, this also comes with the crinkle cut chips. – 2x150g beef sirloin patties, Kosher dill pickles, tasty cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, caramelised onion, housemade special sauce between milk buns. It is a technically skilled beef burger, the patties are cooked at a high temp to emphasise the Maillard caramelisation and the sauce and cheese really work well, the cheddar is very cheddar and it added a delightful tang to the burg, as did the caramelised onions that had a smokey BBQ taste to them. I loved this burger but it had one let down I thought and that was the meat grade used, Cherry Beans use a home ground sirloin in their patties and this is where the burger was proficient and skilled but lacked the whorish soul a big beef burger needs. The sirloin has a very low fat content, and if you look at the below cross section shot you can see the patty grains are small and smooth, it is a lean meat burger patty and for the most flavoursome of patties you want bigger fatty grains and high fat content, I assume this is why they high-temp cook for not only reactions but to also seal in the juices and flavours quick. It actually works quite well but if you want a double beef burger you usually don’t want it to be too lean, I would also have preferred a bit more sauce for some added tang and hit. Onika 4/5, JK 4.1/5. This was definitely the favourite burger of the day.
And some more art on the walls inside, I loved this robot :).
We both had such a fantastic time feasting at Cherry Beans Coffee Roasters, for a cafe venue in an industrial area it is well out of place but also a wonderful hidden gem of culinary awesome, stay tuned for the future of Shane and his venue, there might be another venue coming elsewhere in Sydney and looking forward to eating more of his refined delights. Check them out!
Cherry Beans Coffee Roasters Deets:
62 South Street, Rydalmere NSW
Phone: 0413 245 919
*** JK (and any guests of Spooning Australia) ate as a guest of the venue but to be frank, if it was shit I would happily tell you as such.