Sydney. Iris. A girl after my own heart when it comes to food, literature, hidden cafes. As expected, the weekend was awash with delicious new discoveries, walks for hours and hours, the sharing of breakfasts and the snapping of photographs. Cloudy Sydney with its temperamental weather couldn't keep us from visiting Cafe Cre Asion, tucked away in the neighbourhood of Surry Hills. The cafe is located in a completely unsuspecting street with tables and chairs skirted around outside. At first glance, it doesn't seem like much but it's when you enter that you are truly charmed by this small cafe.
The cafe came to be about five years ago and was opened up by a restaurant owner from Japan. It is therefore no surprise that they specialise in matcha-based dishes. Nor is it a surprise that they beautifully capture the astringency of this magical tea leaf or its subtle taste, especially when the tea is sourced from Shimane Prefecture in Japan. Cafe Cre Asion will not disappoint.
Although the seating was limited and resembled small children's chairs (you'll find that your knees are the same height as the table), being seated quite close to other people has proven a surprise. A Japanese man seated next to me in blue parker sipped on what appeared to be what was left of his matcha latte. Soon after, he cleared his throat and struck up conversation. He turned out to be a friend of the owner. He told us how he was running an udon restaurant a few blocks away and invited us for a visit.
With us he shared his friend's vision to re-create a quaint, simple and earnest Japanese-fusion cafe that brought to Sydney a small snippet of the best of Japan's cakes. Although the owner was incredibly popular and highly ranked on Zomato, it meant long hours and constantly in the kitchen helping to create breakfast and sweets for hungry Sydneysiders.
There is limited seating inside, and I would recommend selecting your seat and saving it, as people flow in swiftly and although you may feel a little bad for hanging around when lines get long, others eat at their leisure and you may find yourself having to swap your dine in for a take away. While you wait you can stare and be tempted by a beautiful display cabinet of macarons, matcha and red azuki bean muffins and swiss rolls. Behind the glass and the counter, you can watch the staff freshly bake the cafe's cakes, working hard to bring together plates of toasted bread and bowls of matcha latte. The macarons are interesting flavours, pulling together Japanese influences of yuzu, flavours of chai tea, popcorn and others of cassis.
As a lover of mushrooms, Iris chose to have a savoury breakfast to be followed by a sweet ending. The mushrooms and avocado were additions to the whole grain sourdough toast. The organic wild honey topped off the sweetness of the apple through the creamy ricotta cheese in my selection. The sourdough, although light on the inside, was tough to chew when it came to the crust. Apart from the bread, I enjoyed the combination of flavours.
A few slices through and I was already quite full and mixed it up with the kinako mochi. The kinako mochi was mellow and cooling, reflecting a small kakigori or shirokuma with its slices of fuji apple and snow like ice shavings. One to be eaten while cold and not melted, that's for sure.
The matcha latte comes in what many are uncertain of being a cup or a bowl, but nevertheless is accepted with open hands. Smooth, creamy and green liquid gold sits unwaveringly. Best served hot, for those that are new to matcha and green tea it may be a bit more bitter than expected. Super creamy and not overly thick or strong, it was probably one of the best matcha latte's I've had in Australia.
As far as I am concerned, the matcha fondant is no doubt the cafe's signature dish. The centre is gooey, the matcha spills out as you break the cake and the astringent taste melds well with the chocolate cake. The cake is warm and comforting, the fondant's consistency being something many cafes and restaurants find hard to achieve. The berries add a sweetness and there's even additional matcha cream you can pour over your fondant with carelessness. Dare I say it, it's better than Nobu Perth's recently attributed matcha fondant dessert menu item, and for a third of the price.
I will give Cafe Cre Asion another visit on my next trip to Sydney, although I may leave room in my stomach to try out a few more macaron flavours and see how their matcha swiss roll compares to my own. Don't be surprised if you see me indulging myself in a matcha fondant and a large bowl of their ridiculously fulfilling matcha latte, all for one.