I remember last year when I used to be so set on visiting a new inner-city/inner-west cafe every weekend. I’m the type of person who can only prise their eyes open blearily after a half-decent attempt at breakfast, and so getting dressed and sitting on a train into the city with very dark sunglasses on at an early hour on a Sunday morning usually meant I was a pretty cranky lady until I got to whichever cafe I was checking out. Not to mention that with the popular cafes, you have to take into account the waiting list..
Yeah. I’m not a morning person in the slightest. I’ve read so many articles this year with titles like “25 things you will learn by the time you’re 25”, and so many have said that the desire to sleep-in will wane as “you begin to appreciate how much more you can do in a day by starting early”. To that, I thumb my nose.
So it’s sweet relief to later risers such as yours truly, that more cafes are popping up around the North Shore with a distinct inner-west influence. I was invited to visit one such cafe, Locomotion; one of the new cafes that has popped up in the newly developed Chatswood Railway Station.
I invited my old friend, Kulinary Adventures of Kath along with me to sample the menu as it has been a very long while since we have caught up. She also has quite varying tastes to me, so that’s always a big bonus when trying a menu. It always gets awkward when two people want the same thing and I’m trying to review the place!
The glass cabinet at the front of the cafe is loaded up with baked goods: banana bread, sliders, sandwiches and pastries. Bread for the sandwiches are from Brickfields Bakery, slider buns are from Brasserie Bread, and they also stock the famous Brewtown Newtown cronuts at $5 each.
We settle ourselves down in the cafe. It’s just secluded enough that it feels away and out of the madness of the station commuters going about their business, but still open so that you can people-watch – one of my favourite past-times.
The breakfast menu is available until 2.30pm, which is surprisingly late but a good thing as Kath was eyeing up the French Toast with Seasonal Fruits, Chai Anglaise, Mascarpone and Canadian Maple Syrup ($16.50). Being a chai lover, she also gets an Iced Chai Latte ($6.50). Chai comes from Prana Sticky Chai.
The French Toast is an enormously generous serving, piled with sliced banana and berries with a pretty dusting of icing sugar. Kath finds the French toast just a little “eggy”, but polishes off most of the impressive serving. The anglaise is a little on the runny side, but subtly spiced and creamy.
While I was waiting for my lunch, I had noticed that they had Kombucha ($6) on the menu. Now I’ve heard a lot on social media and in the news about this new “health drink”. To briefly describe it, it’s basically a fermented tea made by adding a culture of bacteria and yeast to tea, sugar, and sometimes fruit juice and other flavourings. It’s highly acidic, contains sugar, B vitamins and antioxidants, as well as a very low percentage of alcohol which results from the fermentation process. The word on the street is that it’s a “magic elixir”, curing everything from digestion problems to arthritis and cancer.
Now as with most things that are said to be good for you, I was prepared for something that wouldn’t agree with my palate; but when I drank it, it was surprisingly refreshing and delicious. It had a slight effervescence and sweet-tart flavour, reminding me a little of a light, less-sweet pear cider.
Luckily it was such a light drink as my 12-hour Slow-cooked Pulled Pork Burger, Loco House Slaw and Pineapple Chilli Jam ($13.50) arrived, with “taytos” crisps and dill pickle.
It was absolutely enormous. I ended up compressing the toasted, soft brioche bun down and slicing it in half before even attempting to lift it up with both hands to my mouth. You can’t eat a burger with a knife and fork, I’m sorry. The pulled pork was meltingly tender, generously piled into the bun on a layer of crispy slaw. I absolutely loved the pineapple chilli jam; it added a beautiful amount of warmth, tartness and sweetness to the whole thing.
The pickle was nice to crunch on in-between bites of the soft burger, and the “taytos” flavour of the day tasted like cheese and onion. I enquired about the use of packet potato chips instead of chips, fries or wedges, and it’s because they don’t have a deep fryer. The staff said though, that customers so far have been very happy with the potato chips, and have asked for them to be added on as a side (+$3) for their burger.
Kath and I finished up lunch by sharing a chocolate cronut, which was served halved and filled with sliced strawberries (photo above). I also asked if I could sample their coffee, a Sanchez blend from The Little Marionette in Annandale and St Peters. The staff behind Loco have really worked so hard to bring us all the tastes of the inner west! For you coffee fiends, they also rotate a different single origin and a cold filter bean on a weekly basis. But on this occasion I was directed to try the Marocchino ($4.30), dubbed the “Nutella coffee”.
Now I have a general rule of avoiding coffee as it tends to backfire on me a couple of hours later and make me incredibly lethargic; but I love the smell of fresh coffee and particularly cannot resist if a good-quality mocha is on the menu… and this has now been added to my weakness list. It’s basically a cappuccino…with molten Nutella drizzled around the inside of the glass before the coffee is poured in. Give it a stir when it arrives to mix it in, take a sip…and it’s a mind-blowingly good coffee. Nutty, chocolatey, creamy, milky and frothy coffee. Not too rich – it’s just the right amount of Nutella.
Overall, it’s a charming modern cafe; a relaxed oasis set amidst the kerfuffle of Chatswood station. It has the best of both worlds – a generous variety of takeaway drinks and snacks for those on the go, and the sit-down menu is quite extensive for those who have the time to linger and chat. And for me, it’s so conveniently situated that it’s near impossible for me not to pop in again sometime soon…or to get a takeaway Marocchino…
438 Victoria Avenue
Chatswood NSW 2067
(02) 9904 6957