The coronavirus has Australia (and the rest of the world) in shutdown mode… being cooped up at home has allowed me to understand what I really miss and apart from being able to enjoy a sense of personal freedom, I have to admit I am missing good coffee & eating out! Seeing as I spent most of the last few years trying out as many cafes in Sydney as I possibly could (living the good brunch life as any true Millennial does), I thought I’d take the time to share one of my personal favourites with you.
Nestled in the heart of the historic and elegant Queen Victoria Building (that’s the “QVB” to Sydney-siders) is where you will find Metropole café. It’s a bustling hub amidst designer label stores & boutiques, where the sound of coffee being made & guests chatting instantly engages the senses. Located right in front of the Mulberry and Longchamp stores, with plenty of seating, it’s the perfect spot to relax whilst you’re wandering around shopping or even for a quick business catch up.
What I love about Metropole the most though actually isn’t the coffee (although it’s pretty good)…. the reason I keep returning is the pastries! I’ve travelled a fair bit around Europe (I especially adore France) and have to admit that I’ve eaten more than my fair share of baked delights, even at home in Australia…. But no bakery, café or shop in Sydney even comes close to the quality and range of delectable pastries as Metropole does. It is quite simply the best; being such a fan of their selection, I was fortunate to sit down with Metropole’s owner & manager, Nik Spartan, to find out more about this much adored foodie spot. We had a quick chat where I was able to discover exactly why their selection is so delicious and what makes Metropole stand out amongst the plethora of cafes in Sydney.
When it comes to their pastries, Nik filled me in on exactly why they are so mouthwatering and taste as good as any you would find in Paris – it’s because Metropole source their selection which are made by French bakers in Sydney. My stand-out favourite is undoubtedly their apricot danish. It’s light and the apricot halves on each end consistently have the most delicate balance of tartness & sweetness, amongst a delicious filling & fluffy pastry. I can honestly eat these apricot danishes at any time of the day, however they do tend to sell out quite early in the morning. Some workdays you’ll be lucky if there are any left by 9am!
I also rate their prosciutto & swiss cheese croissants very highly as well, as an alternative option to the apricot danish. The tastiest croissants in Sydney; Metropole also offer varieties with ham & cheese, chocolate, almond, and ham, tomato & cheese. It’s not only just the pastries that keep me coming back though – their sweets & cake selection is utterly outstanding, particularly the Italian tiramisu.
Customer service consistently remains Metropole’s main focus and Nik honed his approach to this from working in a deli at a young age, with a love of connecting with people being his main drive. When I asked one of my friend’s, Irena, who introduced me to this café exactly why she loves it so much, her answer was, “they always know my name and I like their tea”. Now English Breakfast tea isn’t terribly hard to mess up so I suspect the way they make her feel welcome has more to do with why she keeps returning!
Nik also mentioned this to me as well during our chat – that the staff have a real focus on keeping their customers happy and remembering your name. This probably is also helped by the fact that staff turnover is low and Nik does everything he can to support them. A lot of the baristas and servers are studying or on sponsorships, and are treated as extended members of the family.
Metropole cafe isn’t one of those fancy “Instagrammable” flower cafes… and truth be told – it simply doesn’t need to be, in order to attract & retain their customer base. This is because their customers (myself included) aren’t going there just for the photos – we keep returning for the high quality of food & drinks and a place where the staff know your name. Happy staff equal happy customers – combine that with an owner/operator who has a real passion for excellent coffee & service, add a sprinkling of the most delicious pastries & cakes selection in Sydney and you get Metropole in the QVB. Once the coronavirus shutdown is over and life is back to a sense of normality, this is one of the first places you’ll find me at…most likely eating an apricot danish!
I hope you have enjoyed this article – do you love visiting cafes too what makes you keep returning to your favourite one? Let me know in the comments below!