Friend and coffee blogger Winne Yeung went analogue for her latest coffee shop escapade in Sydney. More than just a coffee shop, Park Bench serves exotic flavoured gelato such as balsamic and taro and has an eclectic, yet earthy, design.
We sat on a park bench, at Park Bench.
Having walked by Park Bench quite a few times as it was on the busiest street of the city, I was intrigued to see exactly what it was all about. It was the coffee machine at the front of the store that caught my attention. Finally, on a sunny Friday afternoon, I had my coffee adventure.
Probably not just a coffee shop, the store boasted a whole counter of gelato ice-cream, various flavours like taro, black sesame all the way to strawberry balsamic, honey nougat as well as your usual vanilla, chocolate and cookies&cream. Taking over from its previous gelato store: Passionflower, Park Bench seemed a little less normal… And who wants normal?
My eyes first landed on the wall of potted plants, then trailed all the way up to the ceiling covered in astro turf where an upside-down miniature park bench and table welcomed you.
Certainly something different from what one would usually expect from the city: it was loud and cheeky (tip jar = feeling tipsy?) without being too obnoxious.
Utilising the space well, its chairs were made from milk crates with a pillow attached and we found a park bench in the corner, it was spacious whilst being able to seat approximately 2o. Recently I headed back there and found that in the store front they added a few more tables and chairs, with a picket fence surrounding them. Cute.
Not ridiculously expensive (considering we were in the city), a scoop of gelato was $4.90, coffees were $3.50 and several desserts ranged between $10 to $13. After returning for a visit, they’ve extended their menu to include sandwiches ($8) and other savoury dishes.
We both had an affogato, $6.50.
Considering this was a kind of special edition coffee adventure, I figured I would let myself have a different kind of coffee. An affogato is basically a shot of espresso either poured over some vanilla ice-cream (or whatever flavour you prefer) or served separately sometimes even with a shot of liqueur. It’s kind of like a dessert and coffee together rather than ordering two separate dishes.
After trying this affogato, I’ve been trying affogatos all over the place. The coffee was from a company named two black sheep, it had a nice crema on top and the espresso was incredibly aromatic matching perfectly with the vanilla bean gelato we had to accompany it. Apparently the two black sheep coffee shop was just downstairs to the store, definitely checking that out soon!
While we were there, a group of businessmen came in to discuss something (wasn’t really listening) sitting on the milk crates and drinking milkshakes; it was an interesting sight especially because they were in suits and carrying documents and stuff. Which just goes to show how casual this place seemed.
Park Bench, was perfect for the sunny day we were having. Cold gelato with espresso, mmm. It definitely felt like Sydney with a hint of Melbourne in the way it was so different from other places we’d been. People kept coming and going and each time I’ve walked by there, there are always people sitting around. The staff are friendly, never too busy to bring over a bottle of water and cups for you while you’re sitting there, it’s a small but nice gesture.
It seems as if I’ve been there many more times already, and I guess I have! I keep taking different people there and I’ll tell you what, if you have a group of more than 2, go for the tasting platter: it’s $13 and you get 5 scoops of gelato of your own choosing.
I hope Park Bench stays for a lot longer, if anything just for that affogato.
address: 580 George Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
phone: 0449 563 359
These pictures were taken with a Konica C35 Automatic on 35mm Fujifilm film.
Read more about Winne’s coffee shop adventures on her blog daydream in a cup.