Thursday, March 13, 2014

Anvil Coffee Co | Kirribilli

On the day I was at Anvil Coffee Co, was the day the building I work in was evacuated due to a major fire on the construction site next door at Barangaroo, Sydney CBD and consequently, intense smoke infiltrated our offices and our airways. Everyone was basically sent home until further notice.

So taking the scenic route home, I decided to stop by Anvil Coffee Co in Kirribilli for lunch after a recommendation from my brother who warned me it can get very busy. As siblings, we could not be any more different than chalk and cheese, but nevertheless I thought to stop by to give the place a go for lunch. When I arrived, wow, what a discovery…

Our beautiful Sydney Harbour on the ferry, and the views in Anvil Coffee Co in Kirribilli
Location and Ambience

As I was coming from the city, I got to Anvil Coffee Co by a pleasant 5 minutes ride via the Neutral Bay ferry from Circular Quay. We have a beautiful harbour that seems to look different each time I look at it. When you step off Kirribilli ferry wharf, and walk a few metres up the ramp, you will notice an establishment so small that it’s like a rustic sailor’s cabin. When you walk in, you can see the small kitchen and counter all in the one space and you will not miss the aroma of coffee. There are seats outside the establishment just near the ferry ramp but if you walk further in the café, there are small tables for two by the large open windows with simply stunning south eastern views of Sydney Harbour that I would normally expect to see in a fine dining establishment.

My view from my table at Anvil Coffee Co, Kirribilli
I sat at a table by the big open windows overlooking Sydney Harbour and some of Sydney’s most expensive real estate situated off the little harbour peninsulas. You are literally perched on the water and you can hear the sound of the waves softly roll and crash against the timber at the bottom of the establishment. The windows with timber frames covered in peeled paint are open, ensuring there is a soft sea breeze against your face as you look through the lunch menu. The fresh air of Sydney Harbour was a good way to detox my lungs from the smoke inhalation earlier on. The view is simply stunning.

If you choose to sit near the window, it does get hot after a while as the sunlight streams through the large open windows. It wasn’t too uncomfortable for me but I did notice a couple leave to take a spot on the outside of the establishment which is a lot cooler, being under shade.

The tables look like they have been made from repurpose wood. It’s not really one of those tables where you can comfortably put your legs through (which is fine if space is compromised for sensational views) so you have to sit on an angle, but the tables have a little space that allows ladies to place their handbags (if it's small enough) in the little compartment. I’m not sure if the table was designed for this purpose, but I used it as I have this thing against putting handbags on the floor (rumoured to be bad luck from a money perspective, so I thought not to take my chances).

Food and coffee

Anvil Coffee Co’s drinks menu has an interesting list of coffee blends for you to try including their Far Poppy Blend and Kenya Kiang. As it was a warm day, I tried their cold coffee, the Black Magic Over Coconut ($5.50). They also had an interesting tea blend – I will need to try Peace & Quiet Her Bal Tisane tea next time.

Black Magic Over Coconut is a single origin double espresso served over young coconut water and ice. It does look like Coke poured into a glass when the mixture settles, but the taste is very different.

Black Magic is a cold drink and a powerful caffeine hit with the subtle hint of young coconut water. The coffee and coconut water combination was unusual which is why tried it. But the espresso is the dominant taste. If I was feeling lethargic in any sort of way before walking in the establishment that drink zapped that problem away pretty quickly.

For lunch I had the Avocado Quinoa Tabbouleh, Meredith Dairy goat’s cheese & lemon vinaigrette on gluten free bread ($16). It says sourdough on the menu but I chose gluten free. It’s organic, healthy and a light lunch. I’ve always loved the zesty taste of tabbouleh. I’m fussy about my tabbouleh as I am about my coffee. Oh yes, I’ve studied the taste of tabbouleh in various recipes and forms – too much lemon juice is not good, additions of shallots or lettuce is an absolute no, no. Anvil’s tabbouleh was perfect, which was upgraded with quinoa, a highly nutritious gluten free grain, instead of burghul (durum wheat). A great vegetarian lunch.


The service was friendly, relaxed and accommodating. I didn’t really notice the background music until two elderly diners mentioned to the wait staff there was something wrong with the music recording as it was repetitive. The wait staff replied, 'There is nothing wrong with the music (sounded like house music), it’s like that, but I’ll turn it down for you.” I was quietly amused.

Best time to go

Contrary to what my brother said, who must have gone either during a work day morning, as commuters rush to catch the ferry to the city, or a weekend, it was quite tranquil with only a few people there during a workday lunch time. This is another great little establishment I can crawl into to hideout for quiet time (assuming I can get there on a weekday lunch as that’s the best time to go).


You really can’t get better views than in Anvil Coffee Co, which was clearly the highlight. The lunch was organic and wholesome and for an enhanced experience, I would recommend you try to go during a time when city commuters are not around. Anvil Coffee Co is an understated little gem on our grand Sydney Harbour.
Where? Holbrook Ave, Kirribilli NSW 2061
When? Mon-Sat 7am-3pm, Sun 8am-3pm
Phone? 0405 143 774


Anvil Coffee Co on Urbanspoon

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