You’ve probably heard of Edition. The Darlinghurst cafe that taught Sydneysiders that not only is Japanese-Scandi is a thing that exists, it’s that it can be delicious. And now, a careful expansion into Darling Harbour sees the opening of a Haymarket branch. Bigger, bolder, and I think even better than the original: a place worthy of being considered as the cafe’s next…edition.
Hurr hurr hurr.
Date Last Visited: 1/Sep/2018 (2 visits)
Address: Steam Mill Lane, Haymarket
Highlight Dishes: milk bun rolls, udon w/pipis & XO, yuzu white chocolate
Price Guide (approx): $30pp with a coffee
Darkness usually heads up the rear of the list titled ‘things food photographers hate’, but I’ll have to make an exception for Edition Haymarket. If you’re going to apply the dark theme, this is how you do it!
Polished concrete. Exposed beams. Naked wood. Noir everything, and in a triumph of design marrying Japanese tradition and pragmatic sensibilities, a horigotatsu (table w/sunken floor) style seating area that’s as functional for intimacy as it is aesthetically befitting. Awesome.
And that’s just the space. How about the food?
Good enough that Edition Haymarket is one of my top three cafes in Sydney.
Let me qualify the above with some context.
There is a distinct group of cafes that I call ‘outliers’. These cafes push the envelope by being genuinely inventive, fusing cuisines or simply excelling in a way that few others do. Think Cavalier, Devon Cafe and Boon Cafe. The best examples will always value the bite over the gimmick: if it’s not delicious, don’t put it on the menu no matter how inventive.
Needless to say, this isn’t a problem Edition Haymarket has.
Okay first, the coffee: it’s variable. My first visit yielded a brew that was too acidic for my liking; on return, I received a far superior, nutty profile that was dead-on. Nobody is going to tell you to avoid the coffees here.
Not to unduly defend their baristas, but I’ve never been to any cafe where the coffee is always perfectly consistent*.
Or maybe I just have a sh*t palate. Go figure. Heh.
Chips. Yes chips. Not the sole reason why I dig the cafe but certainly a part that constitutes the sum. It’s basically the food equivalent of a tsundere – tough (crunchy) on the outside and soft on the inside. Totally
Did I just use an anime reference to describe chips? How
much godlier low can this blog go?
Not your ordinary milk bun? Check. Delicious? Check. We’re good.
Edition Haymarket’s constant evolution enabling it to stay at the front of the pack became evident as quickly as on my second visit, where the pork katsu bun I just talked about was replaced with this chashu pork bun. Swapping out the crunch of a katsu’s panko crumb with the soft, chewy sweetness of chashu pork, it may be the same pig but it’s a completely different beast. I don’t know how to break it to you but both were delicious – surely it’s not a crime to like pork whether it’s deep-fried or chashu’d?
Chashu’d? Is that a verb now?
Arriving with restaurant-level plating, the udon w/pipis & XO is one of my favourite dishes on the current menu. I’m apparently in the majority: we were duly-informed that at the time of our 2nd visit, this was the best-selling dish.
And why not? When it’s a slippery plate of carbs with flavour dialled up to 11 with powerful XO, juicy pipis and expertly finished off with lemon zest, this is the kind of dish that one regrets sharing. Trust me – personal experience.
If anything, the noodles were just a little too soft for my liking. It’s all that al dente pasta man, I tell ya.The next entry on the series ‘art or food?’ is the butter-poached prawns w/pearl senbei. It’s a dish worthy of a exhibiting in fine diner on both looks and substance. There’s little to fault: the combination of perfect prawns (I’ve used the word ‘perfect’ a lot haven’t I?), nori dust and sweet apple was a beautiful flavour combination.
My only issue with the dish was with the pearl (tapioca) senbei – greatly let down by its overly tough texture.
A dish that sits solidly in the ‘okay’ bucket but not more, Edition Haymarket’s take on a barley risotto was interesting, at best. Flavours were predominantly earthy – artichokes, nuttiness, and the like balanced by lemon zest. Solid. I was less sure about the texture – barley becomes slightly gluggy when cooked, which made each bite a slippery, gluey experience that’s not what I seek in a good risotto.
It’s not you – it’s me. It’s me, not being able to get along with you.Joining the ranks of the udon dish in pure excellence is the chicken breast. In fairness, cafes have a hard time making chicken – especially chicken breast – interesting without deep frying it. This dish needs to be the reference lesson: it was pure joy to eat. It was the buttery XO Franken-sauce plus those earthy mushrooms that did it: full of flavour, it made the whole dish sing. The chicken? Its neutral flavour meant it was the perfect vehicle to carry such greatness.
The only disappointment? No longer on the menu!The miso-glazed lamb rump joins the edible art gallery alongside the pipis and prawns, but with as much flavour as the both of them put together. Unless you haven’t visited a Japanese restaurant at some point, miso and lamb is not an unusual combination. But when it’s executed with such skill – producing a result whose beauty matches its taste – it’s something I can’t even take for granted in a restaurant, let alone a cafe.
Definitely one of the highlights, and I’ll be damned if this doesn’t come back next time winter rolls around.The pork jowl has no price, for it was a gift from co-owner Daniel Jackson (why thank you good sir for the generosity), because apparently we ‘just had to try the special’.
Well, if you’re a fan of unctuous pork, he’s certainly not wrong. This is melt-in-your-mouth goo, with a roughly 3:2 distribution of fat to meat. I’m partial to pork jowl but not a fan, so I was happy to share this. Spicy charred kimchi and a yuzu gel kept my mouth from waxing over, and flavours fresh. Another data point in a long line of examples showcasing Edition’s impeccable control of flavour balance.
Would you believe me if I said I enjoy Edition Haymarket’s desserts even more than their savouries? Edition Haymarket’s managed to swing me – the guy who doesn’t like to eat sweet things for breakfast – to doing exactly that. Goddamn.
The yuzu & toasted ice cream is a dessert I could see being served at, well, any fine dining restaurant in Sydney. In fact, I like it more than most such desserts. It’s as if it’s specifically designed for my palate: a highly refreshing element (yuzu), heaps of texture (a ‘coco pops’-like crunch), and secondary flavours of nuts and brioche. Many thanks to Taiyo Shima who headed the pastry kitchen at Edition Haymarket before moving on!
The best part? It’s still on the menu – you bet we ordered it twice.An obituary to our dearly departed chocolate mousse cake:
Our time together was fleeting.
You were so sweet, though I was resisting.
But when I took a bite, I discovered the joys,
Oh the joys of chocolate cake baked expertly.
We shan’t forget the berry sorbet.
Without it, you merely be cake.
Together, you two create the forest.
A black forest, that sadly met its fate.
Struck off the menu.
If you want me to stop hurting your brains with my gut-wrenching poetry, just petition Edition to put this back on the menu, and we’re all good, yeah?
Soufflé pancakes have become very trendy in Japan as of late, and what Japan does in food, we tend to adopt with varying degrees of success. While I have no qualms about letting this trend deflate, it’s good to occasionally see what the fuss is about. A plating accident saw our pancakes arriving with the strawberries & cream off-centre. While I didn’t actually mind this, it’s not what you should expect!
The pancakes weren’t overly aerated, maintaining a bit of resistance in texture: it didn’t pass the jiggle test – also partly due to its height – but it didn’t disappoint in flavour either. There’s nothing worse than eating air-filled cake. The cream on top added required weight, while the macerated strawberries were incredibly sweet and very moreish to eat.
Edition Haymarket’s a pretty good restaurant, hey? Nice interior, great food, perhaps even worthy of a chef’s hat.
But wait. It’s a cafe. Yep. This is something that’s all too easy for me to forget when I think back on my experiences here. To think a cafe is pulling off all of this restaurant-grade wizardry, with a cuisine that’s tailored to my preferences is just crazy. But such a place exists. Pigeonholing Edition Haymarket as a mere purveyor of coffee – even good coffee, no less – is a disservice in light of what it brought to Sydney’s culinary scene.
Now this is a cafe I can see myself returning to again and again.
This post is based on two independently-paid visits to Edition Haymarket, with one dish provided for free, unsolicited.
- Nobody but themselves are doing what they do (Japanese-Scandi)
- Food that is restaurant, and sometimes fine dining-level
- A well-designed, moody space
- No dish is sacred – it’s the nature of an outlier that continually reinvents
- Portions can be small for those used to big breakfasts
- Service can be slow at times; waitstaff need to scan the floor more frequently
- Those that prefer a traditional cafe experience will come away disappointed
Would I return: yes!
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