Mecca Café, Ultimo, Sydney

I started drinking coffee out of necessity during my uni years but have grown to enjoy it and often cannot function without my morning cup now. Will someone please invent an alarm clock which makes you coffee? It’s Groundhog Day and Catch-22 at the same time every morning in my bedroom. Need to get up to get my caffeine but can’t get up without my caffeine. Intravenous drip plskthx.

Anyway, Owl and I were interested in checking out Mecca in Ultimo after having been voted Best Café 2011 by the SMH Café Guide. The promise of very good coffee was lure enough without it being so enticingly close to us.

Being the indecisive creature that I am, I often pick an item from the menu before I visit an eatery but despite much scouring on the internet, I could not find the menu for Mecca. Everyone mentioned the same thing: a good selection of salads, sandwiches, and your usual café array of pastries. Hmm.

We arrived at around 12pm and were surprised at how small the café was, plus it was completely packed! What little standing space they had was crowded with isolated individuals avoiding eye contact whilst waiting for their take-away. After surveying the vicinity and the menu (salads, sandwiches and 2 varieties of rather sad-looking pastries) we ordered our caps, a tuna sandwich to share, and plonked ourselves on the one communal table; shuffling the chairs a little to resemble some sort of meagre privacy.

I don’t have any pictures, although these blogs do. Some would call the décor ‘concrete chic’ but it I found it hard and cold. The surroundings rather befit the service, actually. Plus, the lack of textiles made the small enclosure rather noisy. I prefer the cosy kinds of cafes; the ones with large amounts of character. The coffees were good, to be sure, but the blend ever-so-subtly hinted at a nuttiness akin to old cigarettes which I found slightly off-putting. To each his own, I suppose.

The star of the place was definitely the tuna sandwich which contained ample amounts of leafy veggies, tomatoes, capers, tuna and mashed hard-boiled eggs. It was a tuna nicoise salad imprisoned by thinly sliced, untoasted sourdough and generously drizzled with olive oil. Half of my sandwich landed on the table much to my regret as I really could have done with more, so delicious it was!

Not being the kind of place you would linger and chat, Owl and I scooted off within half an hour of arriving. To be honest, I found the place altogether overrated and cynically mentioned to Owl the wonders of political influences and bribery. I probably would go back, but only for the sandwich, and only as one of the many avoiding eye contact and shuffling their iPods nervously.

Mecca Espresso
(02) 9280 4204
646 Harris Street, Ultimo. NSW. 2007.
Monday – Friday: 7.00am – 4.00pm
Saturday: 8.00am – 3.00pm
Sunday: Closed

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