Youeni has recently moved back in to Surry Hills. As a regular at their OG café in Castle Hill, I was pretty damn happy to see them move back in next door for my daily dose of caffeine. The fit out is similar to the original, with polished concrete and glass dominating the space. But the real reason we are all here are their house specialties— great coffee, honest food and friendly banter.
When I walked into Youeni on opening day, the lovely, smiley barista men are there to greet me. After taking a moment to ogle their huge semi-naked cake (get your minds out of the gutter), salted caramel tart and blueberry muffins, (all of which I was assured aren’t that bad for me), I ordered my coffee. I need to take a moment to emphasise just how seriously I take my morning coffee—very seriously. I also feel that as a soy coffee drinker, I can quickly weed out the shit baristas because soy is a tricky little beast. They nailed it. New local #sorted.
If you’ve been to their cafe in The Hills, then you’ll know that the owner, Chris, makes as many elements of each dish in house and yes, that does extend to the sweet treats. He is insanely passionate about creating healthy food at an affordable price and best of all— he won’t make you wait too long for it. The fridge is stocked with house made chocolate, treats and salads, and we’re told new salads will hit the menu soon. Chris has also brought his right hand man, Nolan, with him to take care of the drinks and ensure that I never wait too long for that great coffee I spoke about.
The food at Youeni, as in Castle Hill, can only be described as healthy and delicious wholefoods, and the menu itself is modest but concise. It’s filled with signature dishes like The Chislett and Life Extending Bowl. The Chislett is a classic breakfast dish of toast topped with smashed avo, slow roasted tomato, basil, chickpeas, seeds and alfafa. My hot tip is to order this on the house loaf, aptly named because it’s, you know, made in house and add a poached egg.
For lunch it has to be the life extending bowl—a salad of roasted pumpkin, turmeric, chick peas, black turtle beans, cauliflower, beetroot, carrot, broccoli, turmeric chickpea puree, roasted garlic, citrus cashew relish, lemon and olive oil. Yes, it’s a bit of a mouthful, but don’t be concerned by the huge number of ingredients because they’re all included for a reason. That reason is to make you feel like a rock star afterwards, because you’ll be that chuffed with yourself and how healthy you’ve just been.
The guys at Youeni have big plans for the coming months, which are likely to include dinner and another expansion, so stay tuned.
If you want to read our verdict on Cornersmith Annandale, head here.
Image credit: Claudia Shmueli