It doesn't look like much - the cafe is about 5 metres wide, and the side opens up in a sort of canteen situation, with cookies, cakes and biscuits in jars. People literally take a second look on the street because they can't believe there's a window in the alley that looks so inviting. The interior is decorated with mint condition (I assume) action figures, old army surplus equipment and exposed copper pipes.
They've only really been open for a couple of weeks, but already they're well known by the locals for their excellent coffee, friendly service, and decor that is some sort of eclectic industrial kitsch.
We were welcomed in by Andy, the guy who runs the place, and shown to a seat. Three Ropes doesn't have a huge selection in terms of food or beverages, but they know what they do and they do it well.
Ok, this cup right here? It contains THE finest cap I've ever had. It was smooth, it was robust, and it had the exact right amount of foam to qualify it for cappuccino-hood, which is so often lacking. I seriously cannot rave about it enough!
Stephen's flat white was much stronger in coffee flavour and quite bitter, but it was just what he was after.
We ordered two sandwiches, and mine was beautiful. The baguette was fresh and toasted, so that the crust was lovely and crisp, and it was filled with caramelised onion, wilted baby spinach, and a creamy spread that could have possible been creme fraiche. The sausage was amazing, filled with quality pork and sharp fennel.
The gentleman at the table next to us was eating this sandwich, and it looked so good that Stephen ordered it too. It was big enough to function as a doorstop, buttered on each side and toasted, and filled with ham off the bone, cheese, baby spinach, and a delightful smear of some kind of sweet chutney that really just made this sandwich special.
The desserts were made over at Circa, and the minute Stephen heard "frangipane" he knew he had to have it. The shortcrust pastry cradled a thick frangipane paste and juicy, caramelised apricots.
This was the king of lamingtons - the sponge was butter-yellow and dense, covered in a thick chocolate sauce, and then served with a sprinkling of shredded coconut.
If you're in the Parramatta area, you OWE it to yourself to visit Three Ropes Espresso. The food is good and humble, the coffee is extraordinary, and the boys there make you feel like a local.