The Chalkboard Cafe, Waterloo

The Chalkboard Cafe

UPDATE February 2015: This restaurant is permanently closed for business.

What’s the formula for a successful cafe in cosmopolitan Sydney?

It may not be as simple as a good eggs Benedict on the menu. Sydneysiders are a fickle bunch of eaters and every popular cafe is trying to woo customers with a signature brekky. Many Sydney cafes now offer all-day breakfast and supplement this with an extensive lunch menu.

To me, the formula for a good cafe is simple – the enjoyable experience reminds us on a bleak Monday morning that it was a good weekend.

Dining room at The Chalkboard Cafe, Waterloo

Dining room at The Chalkboard Cafe, a view from the mezzanine level at PYD building, Waterloo

We are invited by Paula Gordon and Robert Knight to The Chalkboard Cafe, their new venture housed in the PYD building in Waterloo.

Chef Robert Knight and Front-of-house Paula Gordon

Chef Robert Knight and Front-of-house Paula Gordon

An Englishman, Robert’s pedigree in the kitchen includes stints in boutiques hotels in London, Queenstown in New Zealand and more recently Hamilton Island in Australia.

Paula is the face at front-of-house and prides herself on providing service excellence through her many years in the hospitality industry.

“I’m very passionate about making good coffee” she tells us.

“Some of our breads such as the white pendasal and the orange vanilla biscotti are house baked by my father in our kitchen too” she adds.

The menu at The Chalkboard Cafe includes classic breakfast favourites such as eggs Benedict, brioche French toast and buttermilk pancakes. It also features a mix of light snacks including a house-smoked salmon with potato rosti, goat’s cheese and tomato salad as well as crispy pork belly that comes with a seasonal Asian salad.

Flat white with housemade biscotti $3.50

Flat white with house made biscotti $3.50

The coffee here is from boutique roaster Double Roasters in Marrickville. Paula’s barista skills come through in the bold coffee aromas in our flat whites.

An elegant touch is the house-baked orange vanilla biscotti that comes with each coffee you order here.

Wake Me Up - Celery, Apple, Orange & Ginger $6

Wake Me Up - Celery, Apple, Orange & Ginger $6

“Try our Wake Me Up” says Paula as she offers us a fruit juice made of celery, apple, orange and ginger that adds a bit of attitude.

It is certainly a nice way to start our breakfast on a lazy Saturday morning.

The menu looks exciting and rather than ordering a breakfast and lunch between the both of us, Paula suggests we sample flavours across a range of items on the menu.

The tasting portions (not on the menu) orchestrated by Paula is an excellent way to introduce Robert’s food to us.

Granola with mixed berries, green apple, tamarillo & vanilla yoghurt (Tasting portion), Regular price $12

Granola with mixed berries, green apple, tamarillo & vanilla yoghurt (Tasting portion), Regular price $12

Granola with mixed berries must be one of the healthiest and tasty breakfast cereals I’ve had in a long time.

Granola with mixed berries, green apple, tamarillo & vanilla yoghurt (Tasting portion), Regular price $12

Granola with mixed berries, green apple, tamarillo & vanilla yoghurt (Tasting portion), Regular price $12

Crispy baked roll oats, nuts and honey are paired with blueberries, strawberries but the green apples and tamarillo give it a lovely tart finish. The luscious, creamy and chilled vanilla yoghurt brings this simple breakfast cereal together.

Chalkboard Benedict with bacon (Tasting portion), Regular price $17

Chalkboard Benedict with bacon (Tasting portion), Regular price $17

Chalkboard Benedict with bacon and House Cured Smoked Salmon Benedict arrive in its signature yellow hollandaise sauce topped with chopped chives.

House Cured Smoked Salmon Benedict (Tasting portion), Regular price $17

House Cured Smoked Salmon Benedict (Tasting portion), Regular price $17

The hollandaise sauce is fresh, thick and rich as it should always be.

Drizzled over a poached egg sitting on a pillow of potato cake, I’m quite sure this dish will tempt the hardcore sleep-ins to jump out of bed for breakfast.

Chalkboard Benedict with bacon (Tasting portion), Regular price $17

Chalkboard Benedict with bacon (Tasting portion), Regular price $17

The smoked salmon is subtle and succulent and the bacon is how I like mine to be – crispy with a slight chew.

But the star of the show is the wobbly free-range egg nestled under the rich hollandaise.  With a gentle yield of my knife, the thick gooey yolk oozes out in all its eggy glory. Instead of toast, the soft and creamy pototo cake is a nice mop for the egg.

This is a definite must-try dish at this cafe.

House baked white pandesal with orange marmalade and raspberry jam (Tasting portion), Regular price $8

House baked white pandesal with orange marmalade and raspberry jam (Tasting portion), Regular price $8

Save for the butter, the white pandesal that comes with orange marmalade and raspberry jam are all made in-house.

Pendasal is a popular bread in Paula’s native Philippines and this one is freshly baked by Paula’s father here in the kitchen.

Goat's Cheese and Tomato Salad (Tasting portion), Regular price $14

Goat's Cheese and Tomato Salad (Tasting portion), Regular price $14

A simple goat’s cheese and tomato salad looks vibrant as the ingredients are fresh with a good lashing of extra virgin olive oil.

House Cured Smoked Salmon, potato rosti, sour cream and capers (Tasting portion), Regular price $16

House Cured Smoked Salmon, potato rosti, sour cream and capers (Tasting portion), Regular price $16

The tender House Cured Smoked Salmon is given some texture with a crispy disc of potato rosti. Sour cream and tangy capers give this smoked salmon its classic combination.

Braised Pork Belly (Tasting portion), Regular price $27

Braised Pork Belly (Tasting portion), Regular price $27

A rectangular chunk of braised pork belly sits on a bed of roasted onions and three spears of grilled asparagus and cider cream. The pork rind can be a lot more crispy. Although the meat is succulent, the aroma is slightly gamey.

As Paula continues to dish out tasting portions of the mains, we are experiencing the range and versatility of Robert’s cooking in each dish.

Open Steak Sandwich (Tasting portion), Regular price $18

Open Steak Sandwich (Tasting portion), Regular price $18

I am not a big fan of caramelised onions because of its sweetness but when paired with chunky cubes of seared beef fillets in this open steak sandwich, it works extremely well with the sauteed mushrooms and toasted sourdough.

Paula tells us this is one of the most popular items on the menu and it’s easy to see why.

Citrus cake

Citrus cake , Regular price $5.50

A citrus cake with orange and lemon is a light and fluffy way to end our tasting lunch at this cafe.

Dining room at The Chalkboard Cafe, Waterloo

Dining room at The Chalkboard Cafe, Waterloo

Housed in a stylish space in the PYD building, the high ceilings and an open-spaced dining room at the foot of a large staircase give this cafe a sense of openness. Designer furniture and modern home decor shops surround this cafe on the ground floor of the building.

You can definitely find a funky piece of ornament for your home but I think the food at The Chalkboard Cafe should really be the first point of call when you visit the PYD buiding.

So dear readers, do you have a favourite coffee or cafe in Sydney and if so, what is your dish recommendation there?

ChopinandMysaucepan dined as guests of The Chalkboard CafeAll views and opinions on this blogpost are our own.

The Chalkboard Cafe
PYD Building
197 Young street
Waterloo, New South Wales

Tel: + 61 2 9698 2553

Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 7am – 4pm Thursday & Friday nights 5pm – 9pm

The Chalkboard Cafe on Urbanspoon

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15 Responses to The Chalkboard Cafe, Waterloo

  1. Mike Jay says:

    I eat at the Chalkboard a few times a week. The food is ALWAYS amazing. It’s my favorite place to eat on (or just off) Danks St. And the service is brilliant as well. If you haven’t tried it then I can only say go there and try it :)

  2. I’m sure that it takes a lot of hard work to make a successful cafe especially in large cities with lots of cafes!

  3. Edgebander says:

    Great post, nice work keep it up man.

  4. The egg yolk shot – just wow! All the food does look really good. Shame I live so far!!

  5. milkteaxx says:

    i love the look of the granola and the pork belly but it was the egg yolk porn that won my heart!

  6. I don’t know how you got those magnificent photos in a restaurant setting but I want to learn! OMG talk about droolworthy photos. Simply stunning.

  7. bams Kitchen says:

    I think this place must be a hit as look at that salmon with eggs benedict dish. Delicious photos even in a dark setting . A hot cuppa and I would be sold. GDay mate.

  8. What a fantastic looking place! The eggs are absolutely perfect, and lucky you having a tasting plate! All your images are exceptional as usual :)

  9. I’ve been putting off my visit to Chalkboard due to exams, but it looks like it’s calling to me more and more…yep it’s time to strap on the camera and get going!

  10. Norma Chang says:

    Great idea from Paula to have tasting portions so you could sample an array of dishes. They all look so delicious. Wonderful photos. Making me hungry.

  11. great shot from above. citrus cake looks like a winner.

  12. Juliana says:

    Nice cafe…I love how the food look, especially the Benedict egg…awww…running egg yolk 😀
    Hope you are enjoying your week!
    PS. In regards to honey caviar, these do not “pop”, they are solid…

  13. Wow! That is an epic meal! I do love Brekkie but I must admit that my fave cafe brekkie belongs to Cumulus in Melbourne. Im still on the hunt for one in Sydney that beats it. I must try out Chalkboard :)

    • Gretchen says:

      Hi Nic,

      You welcome to dine in at the Chalkboard Cafe and try our breakfast…and if you are up for a different experience (Cafe after Dark), please come and join us on Thursday, 27 June 2013 – TAPAS NIGHT, with live band/entertainment :)

  14. I must admit I always get grumpy when my poached eggs are poached too long at cafe brekkies (which happens more often than not unfortunately!) but these ones look absolutely perfect! Great looking breakfast menu :)

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