Friday, 5 July 2013

Salvage Coffee, Atarmon

Sydney Morning Herald released their SMH Good Cafe Guide awards for 2013 last month and Salvage Specialty Coffee was listed as the home of 'Bonsoy best barista', Dan Yee. Unfortunately he was not there the day I visited but I thought the cafe would still be worthwhile trying out. 

We were immediately greeted when they saw us standing outside looking at their menu. Mum and I were planning to only get coffees but it was lunch time so we thought we'd give their food a go. I ordered a soy latte, hoping their other baristas may have gotten some tips from Dan Yee and have the potential to be okay! 

Soy latte, $4.00 and latte, $3.50
As we were waiting for our coffees I noticed they were using Vitasoy cafe soy milk - not Bonsoy. Just because Bonsoy best barista isn't there, why can't they use Bonsoy? That was problem number one. Then our lattes came out in coffee cups not latte glasses - problem number two. Salvage Coffee uses Mecca coffee beans and from my visit to the original cafe, it's pretty good. However our lattes tasted weak and not hot enough - problem number four. There was way too much foam in both coffees, resembling a cappuccino but without the chocolate dusting on top - problem number five. I'm so critical of their coffees because they're associated to something award-winning, they shouldn't be faulting these things. 

We were sitting outside and this tree was hovering over us, every time the wind blew its flowers and leave would fly down, landing on our table, water and coffees. We definitely weren't sitting at the best spot. 

I'm usually pretty patient when it comes to waiting for food, but waiting for 20 minutes for food that doesn't require any actual cooking except for the poached eggs isn't quite acceptable. The food just needs to be plated and the bread toasted, I didn't think it would be that time consuming.  
Sourdough w/ smashed avo, pine nuts, tomato & fresh herbs, $12.00
The sourdough was toasted evenly and very crunchy. I loved the smashed avocado! It was well seasoned, the herbs gave it freshness and the pine nuts worked wonders with it! The tomato was drizzled with oil and sprinkled with seeds. I see the care that has been put into assembling this, but it still doesn't take that long!  

Poached free range eggs w/ cured king salmon, fennel & sourdough, $14.00
Mum and I combined our two lunches together because we felt they were both missing components when eaten on their own. Mum told me the poached eggs were runny but cold. There was a generous amount of cured king salmon, sweet, mild and not at all salty. I ate the rocket and fennel salad with my avo and sourdough and it tasted great. 

I regret not ordering the wagyu sandwich as it looked much more hearty and filling at the same price as my sourdough and avocado. I was a bit disappointed with my visit to Salvage Coffee, I though I would enjoy my experience instead I was left a bit frustrated by the mediocre coffee and the long wait for the food. It's a pity because the wait staff were friendly and the food was tasty. 

Salvage Specialty Coffee
5 Wilkes Ave

Salvage Coffee on Urbanspoon


  1. that cured salmon looks amazing!

  2. I love how smashed avocado sounds so much more exciting than mashed. lol.

  3. Hi Kara,

    I am seriously disappointed you had such a negative experience. I thought I'd just reply to clarify some things that you should be more aware of before calling things 'problems'. And I'm not upset at you or anything, just so you know :)

    Firstly, Bonsoy. We DO use Bonsoy and have from the start. Bonsoy, Sydney-wide have been out of stock for supply to cafes for a few weeks. If cafes have it, it is because they've had larger stock supplies or go through it slower than we do. We buy small amounts often to keep it at it's 'freshest' (yes, we actually think about that kinda stuff). The Vitasoy we did have was chosen after blind-tasting it as a backup should Bonsoy not be available.
    Secondly, thirdly and fourthly; lattes served in a cup with a handle and not a glass. A big part of what we do in regards to our coffee menu is to give menu items definition again. Coffee items have been bastardised in the industry for years. We are bringing purpose back to beverages. We work in coffee to milk ratios with our beverages and define them accordingly. Latte means milk and are traditionally the milkiest of coffee beverages (see in Italy, it's the kids that drink lattes). Therefore, our lattes are our largest coffee to milk ratio. They ARE the milkiest. They are the weakest in coffee flavour but equal in coffee to ALL our other standard beverages. If they were too "weak" for you, but you still wanted that volume of drink, you could have ordered a double shot if you had let us know, our staff would have totally re-made it for you. We aren't there to force drinks upon people, we are there to find out what you want and make the drink accordingly. We obviously failed to communicate that and for that we apologise. Anyway, defining a beverage by the vessel it's served in is stupid, think about it?! Is a martini not a martini if it's not served in a stemmed, cone-shaped glass? Of course not, as long as the ratios are all good right? Our cappuccinos come without choc dusting, again, we don't define a cap from a flat what by one having dusting on it and the other not. That's dumb and antiquated and the likes of Startbucks, GJ's and other commercial quality places can keep it. To us, it's about flavour. We do push the boundaries in regards to temperature of drinks and them being too cool. We believe we have found the correct temperature to maximise sweetness and body with the milk we use. Soy has a lower caramelisation point than regular milk. We choose to go to the point of maximum sweetness, and serve it there. Hot soy is categorically burnt, it just is. Most of our customers are ok with this, but of course we would make it hotter if the customer wanted it. Same goes for our Jersey milk. We use a superior product to most cafes and again, heat it to maximise sweetness. For this milk it sits between 55-62. We heat it to 62 degC as standard. Again, if it wasn't hot enough, we would obviously make it again.

    My baristas and business partners Matt and Toby are great baristas. In fact, having worked with people from around the world who are at the top of their game, I am sure could mix it with them too.

    As far as the food taking 20 minutes, I'm very sorry for. Because I wasn't there, I can't really comment except to say that it's odd for meals to take 20 minutes at our place and that I'm totally sorry if that happened. It upsets me a lot in fact, as we pride ourselves on good service.

    Aaaaanyway, I didn't mean to write an essay, but I thought I should explain. We have learned from your negative experience and are putting things in place as I type. Also, we make mistakes and aren't perfect, it's a thing. I totally want you to come back and see if you can have the same experience many of our customers experience - leaving satisfied and fulfilled. In fact, let me know when you are coming on 0401 265 220 and I'll give you an awkward hug to break the ice :).... I probably wont.... but I might.

    Dan Yee xoxo.

  4. Hi Dan,

    Thank you for your feedback, it's great to have constructive discussions about food and coffee! No hard feelings!

    It would be great to drop by Salvage Coffee this week and have a cup of coffee. I'll contact you on your number.