Sunday, 23 December 2012

Not Bread Alone

Apologies to all my readers, it has been a while since I posted something new. A lot has happened in the last 2 months. As I discovered that my grandma has been diagnosed with Dementia, I have come to terms that losing memory is not a simple case of forgetting something. But the interactions that come along with the memories are also lost along the way.

I now see this blog as a way to capture not only of my memories of the cafes that I go to but it reiterate stronger the reason why I had started this blog and that is to share with people the story behind the cafe. I have always mentioned to friends that I don't critic on the food or coffee because I don't believe that everyone taste is the same. But I believe that in knowing the story behind the cafe it can give you a different feel of the cafe when you visit it.

So in this post, it is only fitting that this cafe appeared for the Christmas Posting because of its biblical story behind it. So read on to find out about the story of Not Bread Alone.

I was on my way for an Indian Dinner at Crows Nest that I gone past this place and immediate this sign caught my attention "We roast our coffee in house". Through my blog, you would have realize that I love to hunt around for boutique roasters and friends of mine have been nagging me to find a cafe to blog on in the North. This one just fit both criteria, so I decided to come back to the cafe the next weekend to try the place out.

As things turn out, my favourite music store Allans Music is no longer in business and my source for music books required me to start hunting for another. It was a coincidence that Zephyr Music is only around the corner from Not Bread Alone. So guess wasn't too long from when I saw the sign to my first try at the cafe.

Through facebook, I contacted Not Bread Alone to organize for a session and very soon a session was scheduled for the interview to happen at the cafe, early in the morning to avoid the morning weekend rush. But guess what, even though i'm early, I am the second customer and Barbara was on her way out for a home delivery at 07.15 hours in the morning!

Not Bread Alone is located in Crows Nest, but like Not Just Coffee, while the address might indicate it is on the main street. Physically it is not located on the main street but on the side street. So how do you get there.

This is the view of Pacific Highway that is closest to the intersection for the cafe. 

This is the intersection between Pacific Highway and Hume Street.

The easiest way to recognize the intersection is to look out for the Australia Post building. 

You will see a nicely painted wall on Hume Street as you turn into the road. 

Cafe Name: Not Bread Alone

Shop 2, 376 Pacific Highway (Corner of Hume Street)
Crows Nest

Monday - Saturday : 0730 to 2300 (1700 to 1800 break)
Sunday : 0730 to 1700

Why did you choose Not Bread Alone as the cafe name?

It stems from biblical saying that you cannot live on bread alone. For Barbara Lloyd (owner of cafe), her goal for the cafe is to provide a place where customers can take a moment in your day to enjoy and for her that mean activity around food. 

The business of running a cafe started 40 years back with Barbara's mum in Mosman. During those days when Mosman was only catered for the high end. Her mum started a cafe in the area that will cater for the everyday budget with a strong belief in serving good quality food with simple ingredients. Till this day, the cafe is still catering with mum's original recipes like the apple crumble dessert. 

If you like your Benedict eggs then you would be happy to know that all the eggs used in this dish is in the 800g category which meant that there are more white to make the egg rounder and bigger. If you are really an egg lover, then you will also be pleased to know there are over 10 different ways in which eggs are cooked in the cafe. They are also freshly picked up from the Flemington Market in the morning too. 

For those of you that likes muffins, you would be pleased to know that everything is baked in house including all their cakes and muffins. 

So why this location?

Barbara admitted herself this is probably one of the worse location because it is a very small place and tucked away from the highway and also away from the main eatery street in crows nest. But the quality food makes up for it and in the end being tuck away also meant that her customers have a bit more tranquility as compared to the cafes on the main street. 

With council permission, she has now added more outdoor seating and has also extended her hours to operate 6 nights a week other than Sunday (At least keeping part of the Sabbath day). This cafe business has grown through locals recognition of the quality food and service and for now 80% of her customers are regular. So many are her regulars that she knew many of them by names and on top of her local delivery, you wonder why her customers just keep coming back. 

Barbara prides on the service of her cafe. Initially she hired high end restaurant waiter/waitress but found that the attitude that comes along wasn't fitting for her cafe. So in the end she changed the way she hired people. She now search for nice people and train them because she say you can't train people to be nice or have a smile but you can train someone to serve. In the photo is the cafe's chef who is also Barbara's personal friend. 

Through her years of experience in the industry she saw the social change associated with having breakfast in a cafe. Breakfast has become a social thing as people living lifestyle changes. People used to have breakfast at home with their unique cooking style but now enjoying breakfast in a cafe is a way to enjoy a moment. And it is precisely this moment that she caters her cafe for. 

Coffee Blend
If you like the coffee, you can also purchase the coffee beans directly and for those that wonders about the roasting, the roaster can be seen just behind the cashier. 

So what do you like about this industry?

Barbara mentioned that she likes looking after people and meeting a broad range of interesting people. She also like meeting her customers at the time of the day when they want to enjoy and  providing them that enjoyment is what she likes about this industry. 

An interesting note came up as the session draws to an end, Barbara mention that Crows Nest at some point has the highest concentration of eateries in the Southern Hemisphere in a 1.5km radius. Anyone wanna dispute on this one?

What is your favourite coffee?
Double shot flat white

As usual, I had a cappuccino.
Cappuccino Price Index $3.90

That's it from me for this year. Have a Merry Christmas (safe & healthy) and Happy New Year. See you in 2013 with more cafe stories. 

PS: I forgot to mention, for the rugby lovers. Babara's son plays rugby in Italy so I'm sure a chat about rugby is alright anytime. 

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