Review: Barry

Naming a café after a first name feels a bit like naming a dog a human name, like Robert. However, there’s something endearing and likeable about the name Barry. It reminds me of a friendly man who lived next-door to you when you were a child, who tells you a lot of stories that are a bit too vivid for a child to hear, and who you don’t realise was a bit strange until you’re much older. Oddly enough, the name of one of Northcote’s most popular eateries isn’t dedicated to a colourful childhood character. Instead, it comes from the adjacent street that it sits on – Barry.

How could I look past this menu item? Peppers, eggplant, zucchini, and chilli braise, poached eggs, tomato and cucumber salsa, labne, and house made chickpea flat bread. And I was not disappointed. Killer spices, nice and saucy, and the house made flat bread (I've never had chickpea bread before) was the texture of a pikelet and very tasty. This was a staff favourite as well with both of the two waiters that served us making excited noises in reference to it.
It seems everyone has either been or plans to go visit Barry, stationed on the top end of High Street. And why wouldn’t you? Barry is related to Pillar of Salt and Touchwood in Richmond, and by now, these guys know what people want to see on their plates. Today was SUCH an incredible day. I was so keen to spend the entire day out soaking up the sun’s rays. I’m looking forward to summer and being able to spending all my days sitting outside with a cup of coffee and some delicious food.

Mum tossed up between this and a tart on the specials board and she was very happy with her choice: Lemon and coconut poached chicken, zucchini, cucumber, bitter leaves, toasted pine nuts, tea soaked currants, and honey yoghurt. She said this tasted very healthy (which can sometimes be a polite insult) but in this case it wasn't - she loved the inclusion of the currents, which gave it a burst of sweetness. 
To start off what I’d like to imagine is my “summer of brunching”, I wanted to visit Barry, having heard a lot about it’s interesting menu and good quality ingredients. Health food here is celebrated, rather than dreaded. And even better to know, it’s not all kale and activated nuts. Barry is also able to hold it’s own with its own versions of sugary and fatty wonders. Even more exciting, there is no cliché smashed avocado (crushed avocado but it comes with grapes so that’s a bit exciting) in sight, and instead, there’s a dish that combines crunchy peanut butter, heirloom tomatoes, and salt and pepper peanuts on toast (“trust us” they say on the menu).

My skinny cappuccino was deliciously creamy and not too chocolately 
The coffee here is the tried and tested (and loved) 5 Seeds house blend made on 50% Brazil, 20% Peru, and 30% Ethiopian, brewed on a very fancy Synesso machine. There are also Single Origin, Aeropress, and Pour Overs available as well. You can also get an impressive hot chocolate and for 50 cents extra a spoonful of peanut butter (they love peanut butter here so it’s my kind of place). They also have a couple of impressive juices available that will make you feel so healthy and some alcoholic options that will make you feel a little bit naughty.

Check out some of these fantastic menu options - I want to go back and try them all.
Beyond it’s “streets-ahead” menu, Barry oozes confidence the moment you step inside, with it’s smart fit-out. Modern and clean interiors, tall ceilings, sleek wood, distressed white bricks, and contrasting bold chairs, and big windows that brings in a lot of bright light. There’s a mix of communal tables, tables for 2, 3, or 4, and outside seating available, but despite this abundance, you’ll probably have a bit of trouble getting a seat. The big hall is always noisy and bustling, and this explains its homely and relaxed atmosphere. The staff don’t have a slight feeling of hipster pretentious-ness and the service was quick despite the packed room.

Just like your slightly strange next-door neighbour, visiting Barry will be an unforgettable experience that will probably change your perspective of certain things - in this case you'll now be looking for interesting and delicious menu items at whatever cafe you visit next.

85 High Street, Northcote
9481 7623

Mon - Fri: 7:30am to 4pm
Sat - Sun: 8am to 4:30pm


Barry on Urbanspoon

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