262 Liverpool Street
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|Opening hours||Mon-Fri 7am-3pm|
When you arrive at Two Good Co Cafe, located at Yirranma Place in a heritage-listed former church from 1927, a smiling concierge approaches on the front steps with a warm welcome.
“Hello,” she said. ” Come in. How are you ?
Cafe patrons are usually not met before entering, then offered, as our friendly guide, or “Goodcierge” does, an explanation of the history of the building, the current function of the inhabitants and the various works permanent and temporary art on display.
Indeed, Two Good Co Cafe, nestled inside the former site of the Church of Christ Scientist, is more than just a place to eat scrumptious orange and olive oil cakes, a Kua coffee from speckled earthenware ceramics or enjoy a cauliflower cheese toast created by Three Blue Ducks chef and co-owner Darren Robertson.
Part of Two Good Co, a multi-faceted social enterprise created by former engineer Rob Caslick, the cafe is a strand of many parts. Starting with a soup kitchen at St Canice’s in Kings Cross founded in 2010, Caslick’s drive to help others has grown into a wide-reaching organization that supports, empowers and employs women who have experienced or are at risk of living homelessness, domestic violence and complex trauma.
Yirranma Place, which roughly translates to “place of many creations”, is a philanthropic center run by the Paul Ramsay Foundation. Home to social enterprises and non-profit and advocacy groups, it is home to Two Good Co’s first cafe.
Our “Goodsparker” explains the wrought iron gates by artist Barkandji and Uncle Badger (William Brian) Bates, three intricate three-meter-tall panels in front of the portico and telling stories from the Dreamtime. We hear about his ceiling mural above, depicting the emu in the sky, and see an interactive digital installation exploring 100 years of Darlinghurst.
Next comes the coffee. Designed by SJB Architects, it is a wonderful space. A towering ceiling houses artist and wife Quandamooka Elisa Jane Carmichael’s suspended sculpture made of woven dark orange discs.
A large curved window framing the sky, trees and Art Deco apartments opposite, casts light on the staff walking away below. The café’s small open space means that making coffee and delivering pies, cakes, cookies, salads and toast have a communal feel. Conversations start with customers about ingredients and recipes as if we were dining together.
Shelves feature Two Good Co products including skincare, candles, muesli, granola and a cookbook, as well as salt and Black Cede citrus granola.
The menu, which ranges from coconut chia pudding with bacon and eggs on a potato bun, to soup of the day, fresh-cut sandwiches and a cooked pumpkin salad with chilli and garlic. maple, is prepared in a kitchen further back in the building, staffed in part by graduates of Two Good Co.’s training programs.
Here at Two Good Co, cakes, pies and cookies are out and proud, displayed triumphantly on a central mirrored plinth like trophies of handmade baked goods.
It’s all I can do not to devastate this spectacle of loaded plates, in particular the pie of the day made with sweet potato, green salad, goat cheese and caramelized onions.
Instead, our “Goodcierge” suggests taking a seat on the marble banquette, covered in peach-colored upholstery and lining one wall. This leaves time to play funhouse mirrors with the elongated reflection of the central plinth. But, be warned. Anyone sitting near the nearby huge wooden doors will be struck by their rapid automated opening.
Two glorious golden slices of orange and olive oil cake come with a nice flat white, followed by slices of dark, plump banana cake topped with a frosting sprinkled with rich granola from the killer mix by Black Cede.
Savor a cauliflower and cheese toast, one of chef partner Darren Robertson’s creations for June and July, reveals a creamy little number oozing tender veggie strands inside the Bread and Butter Project’s seeded bread .
Robertson’s other dishes, including a fragrant salad of Italian sausage, pears, lentils and watercress, and an excellent chocolate biscuit, will be followed by menu contributions from cookbook author Belinda Jeffrey in August and by Matt Moran of Aria in September.
Two Good Co cafe is a humble, beautiful and inspiring place. We sit tracing the shadows of the wall cast by Carmichael’s gently rotating sculpture as more patrons arrive, ready to meet the people working for good all around us.
Two good coffees
Vibe High-end food from the social enterprise Two Good Co in a small cafe with impressive architecture.
Essential dish Salad of Italian sausages, pears, lentils and watercress or orange and olive oil cake.
Instagram worthy dish Pie of the day, including the recent sweet potato version, warrigal sprouts, goat cheese and caramelized onions.