TO those who head to Merewether and make a beeline to the beach, Drift Food Coffee Catering might be tucked away in the back streets. But it’s clear locals – and those visitors in the know – head to Drift for their fix.
Perched on the corner of Llewllyn and Dent streets in Merewether, Drift is in a strip which includes a supermarket, fruit shop and deli, making it the perfect complement to a quaint suburban shopping strip. With easy parking on the street outside, Drift is the perfect pre- or post-beach pit stop in a suburb where parking is often at a premium.
Drift opened in mid February with Cat Ramplin and Josh Sudana at the helm. The couple were previously at Merewether’s Burwood Inn where Josh was in the kitchen and Cat front of house.
Now the couple front their own cafe which bustles weekdays and weekends with brekkie and lunch trade, and regulars popping in for their fix of Five Senses Coffee and whatever sweet treats the cabinet boasts that day: think flourless chocolate cake, banana cake, Victoria sponge with jam and cream, salted caramel doughnuts, triple berry doughnuts.
It’s a large site with plenty of seating for street watching on a bench seat looking out the large windows or on tables throughout the cafe. For the little ones there’s also a cute kids’ play area complete with a kitchen play set which mirrors Drift’s real kitchen at the opposite end of the building.
With a breeze floating in through glass louvres and sun pouring in the huge windows, Drift is the perfect place to settle a while: order at the counter and make yourself comfortable.
Coffee (nicely hot, strong and not at all bitter) and tea arrives quickly in turquoise tea ware, the chic charcoal teapot perched on a wooden board continuing the beachy feel. Food arrives not too long after, the burgers in American-esque plastic baskets with a hearty serve of Old Bay seasoned fries.
The combination of celery salt, paprika and other spices including red and black pepper will have you salivating at the mere memory. In a city where many cafes and burger joints serve burgers bare without a side of fries – which means you have to order a side of fries you inevitably end up eating far too much of – it’s nice to have a burger come with fries, and for a good price too.
The cheeseburger is equally tasty thanks to a succulent waygu beef patty, American jack cheddar cheese, house-made burger sauce and a generous slice of pickle topped off with lettuce, tomato and onion. The Southern-style buttermilk fried chicken burger is just as moreish, with moist yet crispy chicken and a simple salad and avocado topping.
The chilli-salt squid salad with Asian herbs, wombok cabbage, peanut and nuoc cham dressing arrives piled on the plate and packed with plenty of perfectly cooked, tender squid.
Turning the salad over to drench it all in the Vietnamese sauce on the bottom of the bowl makes for a light yet satisfying meal packed with pops of chilli heat and crunch from peanuts all the way through.