In a city that feels increasingly over-run with food and drink franchises, Project 8 is a breath of fresh [caffeinated] air. It's a hip but slouchy kind of cafe - a mix of good coffee, cool music and an affordable snacks menu making it a popular hangout for local university students.
Free range eggs with avocado and tomato on toasted sourdough, for example, will only set you back $7.50. It includes two fried free range eggs draped over thick slices of avocado and tomato on toast.
Cooking on the sandwich press
Eating during rush hour can result in a wait for your food. It all makes sense when you peer into the open kitchen - all the cooking appears to take place on two sandwich presses, a feat that is both impressive and quirky enough to charm.
Crack go the eggs, sizzle goes the bacon, as staff tend to the makeshift hotplates with casual aplomb. It's just like a uni student's bachelor pad - no wonder the kids here feel right at home.
The coffee is taken seriously, brewed from a house-roasted blend that is rich and smooth.
Vegetarian sandwich $8.50
The menu is divided into sections, each using a play on words with the number eight. Breakfast items come under Initi8, a selection that includes a bacon and egg roll ($6), the tempting offer of Weet Bix or cornflakes with milk or hot chocolate ($4.50), and their popular hot pot of baby spinach, feta cheese and chorizo in napoli sauce with toast ($12).
Drinks come under Invigor8, salads under Regener8 and Lunch promises to Elev8. I'm disappointed that they've run out of their famous Project 8 Tuna Spread on the day we dine, a mix of tuna with sweet corn and chilli on two slices of toast for only $6.
There are plenty of other options to keep us satisfied. The vegetarian sandwich arrives on a wooden board, stacked with roasted capsicum, grilled eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese and balsamic dressing.
The free range smoked ham sandwich is another perky number, spread generously with horseradish Dijon and slapped together with slices of Swiss cheese and green lettuce leaves.
Project 8 chicken burger $10
We can smell the chicken on the hot plate as it caramelises to a satisfying char. The Project 8 chicken burger is simple but tasty, the juicy chicken fillet pepped up with aioli, cheese, grilled vegetable relish, slivers of Spanish onion and salad leaves.
It's not all coffee. There's a good selection of organic teas (Earl Grey blueflower, green silver jasmine, Ceylon orange pekoe and chai), and they also make milkshakes ($4), fresh juices, smoothies and frappes (all $4.50).
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11/24/2011 12:37:00 a.m.