Espresso Warriors sets the benchmark high for quality coffee and great food in Mount Druitt – 3.5 out of 5.
Location: Mt Druitt Westfield Shop 143, Cnr Carlisle Ave and Luxford Rd, Mount Druitt, NSW 2770
Last visited: 2 December, 2015
Must Try: Kray Shakes, The Golden Gaytime and their Eggs Benedict are a winner!
Happy New Year Foodies and welcome to my first post for 2016! I hope you had a fabulous Christmas and New Year’s break. I enjoyed catching up with family and friends, carol-singing, fireworks and of course plenty of delicious food. Keep checking back over the next few weeks as I share stories from my trip to Queenstown, NZ and #foodpics of the delicious meals we had there. Now onto this post…
We often cop a lot of flack here in Mount Druitt but to be honest, it’s not all that bad. There are some really cool things happening to our local food scene as we speak. Espresso Warriors is one of them. I first stumbled upon Espresso Warriors on a Friday in April last year. It was the first day of business for the new franchise, which had then been running successful operations in Warrawong and Wetherill Park.
It was the first time I’d seen an establishment of Espresso Warrior’s calibre in my neck of the woods, and certainly unlike any of the other cafe’s and dine-ins at Westfield Mount Druitt, where previously you would head out of the complex to Starbucks to grab a decent cuppa. Personally, I felt the cafe could rival any of those in the Inner-Western and Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. The opening seemed to have awoken the curiosity of many local shoppers who could not resist stopping in to take a look at the cronuts and cold drip station set along the front bench.
I’ve been to Espresso Warriors on a number of occasions since then and the reason I keep coming back is that the food is great, the coffee expertly ground and poured, and the service is consistently friendly. It’s even in their mission statement which reads, “Espresso Warriors; a cafe that pledges to provide an above standard coffee and cafe experience.” Speaking with co-owners and sisters Christine and Jennifer Soon one day, I was pleased to hear of their passion for providing Western Sydney with a new take on coffee. As Christine said, ‘Why should it only be the Eastern Suburbs that can experience great coffee.’ I completely agree with this. Times are changing and it’s not only those in more affluent suburbs that seek out fine food and dining experiences. As the surrounding suburbs of Windsor, Richmond and Marsden Park expand with new homes and business parks, I predict a new wave of fine dining establishments and popular food outlets will flock to the area to meet the demands and expectations of the changing population here in Western Sydney. (Note: Not too long after Espresso Warrior’s opening, the popular Soul Origin opened up a franchise near Woolies, possibly wanting to secure a footing in the growing market).
When out on a food blogging adventure, you’d typically visit the venue, photograph and review it on the single occasion. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to return on another day, to see if the restaurant lived up to it’s standards. In this instance, I had the unique opportunity to dine on two occasions and I’m happy to say that I left smiling each time.
On the first of the two visits, I’m joined by Ms. D. and Ms. C. for a sibling lunch catchup. The grinder whizzes as we walk through the door and we are greeted by a delicious coffee fragrance. We watch the barista pour a perfect rosetta for a latte as we wait for a table. Ms C. and I are both obsessed with taking photos of our food, so I knew I was safe from Ms. D. who typically (and deliberately) takes a bite from her plate as soon as the food arrives so I don’t get a chance to get that perfect shot. #sisters #gottalove’em.
To drink, the girls chose two of the fresh fruit juices. Although I would have loved to try one of Espresso Warrior’s Kray Shakes, a version of a loaded shake topped with cronuts and other goodies, the Chai Frappe was calling me that afternoon. I’m glad I picked it because it was bursting with the Christmassy aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg. The frappe was silky and wonderfully creamy. You’ll definitely have to try it out!
Ms. D. orders the Salmon Fishcake Stack while Ms. C. chooses the Eggs Benedict with ham, explaining that she must try it once at each cafe she visits. Being a sucker for pork, and feeling quite hungry that day, I couldn’t look past the barbecued pulled pork served with mash. Completely carnivorous I know, but as they say, ‘When in Rome/ When dining out…’
We couldn’t help but laugh as we flicked through the menus to find a series of useless facts, left to keep us smiling while the staff perfected our orders. Apparently Donald Duck stirred quite a controversy in Finland due to his lack of pants, and apparently a “jiffy” is an actual unit of time. Check the image below for more.
The food arrives and I tuck into my pork. It’s juicy and tender but could do with some smoky barbecue sauce stirred through the meat. The mash is buttery with a caramel sweetness that works perfectly with the pork.
The Salmon Fishcake Stack is served on a bed of diced tomato with a sweet tomato relish, smashed avocado and gooey melted brie on top. It’s a little messy to eat but the flavours are good. It’s definitely filling – perfect for serious hunger attacks.
Ms. C.’s Eggs Benedict arrive on a pice of white sourdough toast. The fine ham slivers and tender poached eggs are dredged in golden hollandaise. It’s creamy and buttery with a touch of citrus zing. Red, black and white quinoa is sprinkled on top as a garnish, adding crunch and bite to the dish.
On my next visit, a few days later, I’m joined by The Cousin to celebrate his birthday. Our waiter notices my camera and suggests we sit at the large wooden table towards the back of the room, explaining it has the best lighting. I love the rustic wood grain and make a mental list to buy a table like that one day (It’d look incredible for food styling, although I’d probably look for a black or creamy wood grain).
We’re there for lunch and starving. I know I’m definitely going to try a Kray Shake this time. The Cousin hadn’t had one previously so it was the perfect excuse to order a double! The special for the day featured Kit Kat bars and Cronuts so we couldn’t say no. Served in ‘hipster mugs’ swirled with a rich chocolate sauce with a thick layer of choc coating the rim, the shakes were creamy with a bold choc-hazelnut flavour. These were topped with creme-pat-filled cronuts, decorated with chocolate, chopped hazelnuts, and both white and milk chocolate Kit Kat fingers. A single strawberry on the top served to justify our order. It must be healthy if it’s served with fruit…right?
To eat, The Cousin chose a Bacon and Egg Roll with barbecue sauce while I go for the Baramundi special.
The Bacon and Egg Roll was everything you’d want and expect. Soft roll, crispy belly bacon and golden fried egg with perfect crunchy edges. Yum!
The Barra was lightly browned and served on a bed of the same sweet, nutty potato mash with carrots, cauliflower and broccoli florets, and a light lemon butter sauce. I hate to sound like Manu from My Kitchen Rules but being a butter fiend, I really liked the sauce and wanted more! The fish was cooked well, but could have used a little more seasoning.
Overall I’ve been consistently pleased with the standard of the food and service at Espresso Warriors. Sure, there are some minor adjustments that could be made, but overall the food tastes great and I enjoy the atmosphere within the cafe. I’m a sucker for supporting businesses in my local community, but it’s also great to see a venue of Espresso Warrior’s calibre doing so well. I’m sure it will grow to be a much loved venue in the local food scene.
Food Presentation: 3 out of 5
Taste: 3 out of 5
Service: 4 out of 5
Atmosphere: 3.5 out of 5
Have you been to Espresso Warriors? Let me know what you think in the comments section below. Share your recipes and food photos by tagging #brendonthesmilingchef and #whatsbrendoncooking on Instagram or Tweeting to @bthesmilingchef or leave me a comment below.
Happy cooking and keep smiling,