The inner west has never really been on my list of places I would consider moving to – it’s simply too close to the city, too busy, and doesn’t feel like you’ve left behind the hustle and bustle of the CBD. You’re still in the midst of it all, and for those who love an up and coming life this would be amazing, but for a person like me who enjoys my quiet downtime the suburbs have always been my retreat. I will say though, the inner west has the lion’s share of some of the best cafes and restaurants, and that is one of the aspects that I miss about Night Owl no longer living close to Newtown and Marrickville.
So I was absolutely delighted when I discovered that Mr Spofforth was opening up literally around the corner from my apartment. There was about over a month of the premises being boarded up pending on council approvals and construction kerfuffles, and I got excited when I did some digging and realised that the guys opening it up was the family behind the sadly-no-more The Butcher’s Block from Wahroonga. It was about its second week of reveal that Night Owl and I woke up early and traipsed up the street to see what they had to offer.
One funny observation over my time of living in the area: the divide between the North Sydney and Mosman councils is right down Spofforth Street, so one side is classified as North Sydney, the other side Mosman. Mosman and North Sydney councils have different bin days however, so one day you will see one side with all of their recyclables out, the other side no. Voting days can also be a little confusing, to say the least!
Mr Spofforth‘s front has a slight nautical theme with its mostly white decor and warm timber. It endevours to be a light and airy space, however with Mr Spofforth’s positioning between two shopfronts the restaurant extends longer than its width, meaning limited windows and quite yellow lighting inside. For photography purposes, I opt for a table outside, and we are let out to the narrow side alley which accommodates a few very brand new tables and chairs. Service is a little hesitant but friendly and with a shy smile, and our coffee orders are taken as we peruse the menu.
Allpress coffee is the grind used here, and it’s milky and subtly robust. Tea is by Teacraft. The breakfast/brunch menu is solid and simple: Bircher, avocado on toast, Benedict, breakfast burger. Some standouts include the Spofforth’s Omelette with shredded Queensland spanner crab meat, and I’m inevitably drawn to the French Toast made with Brasserie Bread brioche bun, sour cherries, salted caramel, mascarpone and pistachio. It’s a clear choice!
It arrives beautifully presented and I immediately dig in, loving the contrast of the sweet salted caramel and the delicious tartness of the juicy sour cherries. The mascarpone adds a beautifully creamy, light-as-air texture to the fried brioche, and I’m not embarassed at all to say that I scraped my plate clean.
Night Owl, in the mood for something green, opts for the Avocado – avocado, feta, mint, watercress, dukkah, poached eggs, pepitas, sourdough. It’s a generous serving size and Night Owl struggles to finish her second poached egg.
We visit a second time, about a month later – it’s not too difficult when it’s just around the corner! This time the two of us are feeling slightly worse for wear after a rowdy evening out, and so a hearty breakfast is in order.
The second time we visited service was a little hit and miss. Upon arrival, there’s no signage for you to take a seat or to wait, so even though the cafe was half empty, we did the polite thing and hovered just inside for about three or so minutes – lots of staff weaved in and around us and we seemed to be invisible until I flagged someone down.
Coffees are ordered, and this time I opt for the Breakfast Burger: potato bun, fried egg, double bacon, rosti, chorizo spread, hollandaise.
The burger is huge and gloriously messy to eat. Take out the skewer, compress it down and devour, letting the hollandaise ooze out over your fingers. Night Owl has also selected something with the hollandaise – the breakfast classic of the Benedict, with poached eggs, sourdough, creamed spinach, Mr Spofforth’s hollandaise and smoked salmon.
Another hearty and fortifying breakfast. I’ve had a peek at their lunch menu and it’s go-to fare of chicken and beef burgers, fish and chips, pasta and salads. Get a takeaway malted milkshake on your way out, or one of the many goodies from Brasserie Bread in the glass cabinet out front. While it’s definitely the new family-friendly establishment on the block, I do feel that the menu from their previous Butcher Block days was more experimental. I’m interested to see what’s store in the months to come.
45 Spofforth Street
Mosman NSW 2088
(02) 9904 5269