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Monday, April 22, 2013

Something for Jess, Chippendale

twice cooked pork belly sandwich at Something for Jess cafe in Chippendale

Some people buy their loved one a box of chocolates. Others name a cafe after them. If that's not enough to make you smile, then the seasonal menu and eclectic decor at this charming little cafe is sure to win you over.

Owner and chef Philip Ocampo named Something for Jess after his partner. He opened this quaint cafe after making the rounds of Sydney food markets with his organic Mexican food stall. Something for Jess, he says, is about seasonal organic produce and working with other local businesses.

window into Something for Jess cafe in Chippendale
Something for Jess

ladder menu at Something for Jess cafe in Chippendale
Ladder menu by the front door

An old wooden ladder is the only noticeable feature from the street. Inside is a hodge podge collection of furniture that would make any hipster weep with envy. "We didn't buy any of the furniture," says Ocampo. "We found it all on the street. Even the crockery has all been donated by friends."

furniture at Something for Jess cafe in Chippendale
Mismatched furniture with fresh flowers on every table

chairs and stools at Something for Jess cafe in Chippendale
Chairs and stools

Vintage may be all well and good, but there's a humble beauty in the reuse of castoffs here. The water glasses are a merry mix of the 1970s, and there are more ladders in here than a hardware shop. Fresh flowers on every table are a rare and thoughtful touch.

drinks menu at Something for Jess cafe in Chippendale
Drinks menu

cakes and sandwich display at Something for Jess cafe in Chippendale
Cakes and sandwiches to go

There are three kinds of sandwiches ready to go from the display at the front. The sandwiches are huge, packed with delicious sounding combinations like smoked chicken with hummus and avocado, or shaved baby fennel with fresh ricotta. The sandwiches are priced at $10 or less.

sandwiches muffins and friands at Something for Jess cafe in Chippendale
Ready-made sandwiches $8.50-$10 
and homemade muffins and friands $4-$4.50

blackboard menu at Something for Jess cafe in Chippendale
Weekly blackboard menu and produce of the week 

The menu changes weekly according to what's in season. There's a smaller blackboard that highlights the "produce of the week". About 90 per cent of the vegetables used comes from his mother-in-law's garden in Kurrajong in the Blue Mountains, Ocampo explains. He also works closely with local producers, using Pepe Saya butter from Tempe, Serendipity Ice Cream from Marrickville and sourcing his bread from Luxe in Newtown.

roast pork belly at Something for Jess cafe in Chippendale
Roast pork belly

The kitchen is small, with Ocampo working with just one oven and a grill press.

smoked trout at Something for Jess cafe in Chippendale
Smoked trout $14
with beetroot puree, French radish, red roasted capsicum and creme fraiche on toast

The smoked trout yields a bountiful pile of accompaniments, curls of smoky roasted capsicum spilling down a mountain of rocket leaves, tomatoes, creme fraiche and impossibly thin slices of tiny French radishes. The fish itself is soft and smoky, and almost buttery in its richness.

And yes, how awesome is their vintage patterned crockery?

twice cooked pork belly sandwich at Something for Jess cafe in Chippendale
Twice-cooked pork belly $14.50 
on open sandwich with chilli jam, pickled red cabbage and roasted apple puree

The twice-cooked pork belly is all mine. It's a hefty-sized sandwich, laden down with two slabs of roast pork, zingy red cabbage and a puddle of chilli jam that has plenty of kick. The pork is juicy, fatty and succulent, made even sweeter with silky dollops of roasted apple puree.

piccolo five senses coffee at Something for Jess cafe in Chippendale
Piccolo Five Senses coffee $3.50

They use Five Senses coffee here. Today's single origin coffee is the La Traversia, Guatemala, noted for its caramel and dark cocoa notes.

mixed berry friand at Something for Jess cafe in Chippendale
Mixed berry friand $4.50

The mixed berry friand is unlike the countless others you've encountered. The inside is, yes, moist, but it's the crusty outer edges that win me over, all caramelised and slightly chewy. It's worth hunting down.

coconut macaroon serendipity ice cream affogato at Something for Jess cafe in Chippendale
Macaroon affogato with Serendipity ice cream $5

And if you can't decide between coffee or dessert, get both and order the affogato. This week it comes with macaroon ice cream from Serendipity - the coconut dessert, not the misspelt French meringue. Rich espresso and quality ice cream make this a treat worth savouring, and scraping to the very last drop.

Something for Jess cafe in Chippendale

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Something For Jess on Urbanspoon

Something for Jess
27-39 Abercrombie Street, Chippendale, Sydney
(corner of Abercrombie and O'Connor Streets)
Tel: +61 (0)404 753 530

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 7am-3pm
Saturday 8am-3pm

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Chippendale - Cafe Giulia
Redfern - Town Bike Pitstop
25 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 4/22/2013 01:29:00 am


  • At 4/22/2013 8:23 am, Blogger Tina @ bitemeshowme said…

    Now that's love, to name your cafe after your partner. Quite sweet actually. Please, I need me some of that pork belly, even at 8.22am on a monday morning. I've got my fork ready... especially because that opened sandwiched is served with roasted apple puree! *gasps

  • At 4/22/2013 8:48 am, Anonymous john | heneedsfood said…

    I've walked past this cute little place a couple of times, even stuck my nose in the door, but always forgot to return. Had I smelled pork I would have been in with a flash!

  • At 4/22/2013 9:51 am, Anonymous Amanda @ Gourmanda said…

    It looks so quaint and adorable! I love the decor that they've chosen to use.

  • At 4/22/2013 10:03 am, Anonymous MrsPigflyin said…

    Such a cute little place and everything looks so lovely. Now I have another lunch spot!

  • At 4/22/2013 10:30 am, Blogger Simon Leong said…

    awesome find. i must try the Macaroon affogato with Serendipity ice cream :-)

  • At 4/22/2013 1:29 pm, Anonymous billy @ a table for two said…

    I was waiting for you to mention the crackles on the sambo... :(

  • At 4/22/2013 2:16 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    A lovely review. The food looks great and the decor is really nice and quirky.

  • At 4/22/2013 2:17 pm, Anonymous James @ Mountbatten PR said…

    Love the review! Food looks delicious!

  • At 4/22/2013 2:31 pm, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    hehe cute i totally want a cafe named after me or that twice cooked pork belly sandwich mmm

  • At 4/22/2013 2:43 pm, Blogger Mel said…

    The owners must live in a great area if people are turfing out such cute vintage pieces...not fair! This is probably doable for me during a lunch break...another great find, thanks!

  • At 4/22/2013 5:54 pm, Blogger Sherrie @ Crystal Noir said…

    Weeeee roasted pork belly yes please! Quite dangerous being so close to uni...

  • At 4/23/2013 10:31 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    My heart just started thumping. One of my favourite things is an affogato made with fancy ice cream. Mmmm....

  • At 4/23/2013 10:32 am, Blogger Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy said…

    What a gorgeous place and I just love the story behind the name. That macaroon affogato has my name all over it.

  • At 4/23/2013 2:35 pm, Anonymous missklicious said…

    Such a sweet story behind the name! I love the look of that affogato as well.

  • At 4/25/2013 6:43 pm, Anonymous Gareth said…

    One oven and one grill? Impressive turnout for limited resources. The pork looks sensational! Love the random chairs, especially the mini step stool. Never been to Chippendale, perhaps that needs to change.

    PS what sort of lens are you using for the shots Helen?

  • At 4/27/2013 10:32 pm, Blogger Milktea Eats said…

    i love the story behind the cafe name! and this place sounds quaint and cute, must check it out soon!

  • At 4/28/2013 7:00 pm, Anonymous talkandspoon said…

    Went to this place last week as well! Loved the whole vibe of the cafe and the food where you can really taste the freshness.

  • At 4/28/2013 7:46 pm, Anonymous Cara @ Gourmet Chick said…

    How romantic to have a cafe named after you! Love the look of this place and the food looks great as well.

  • At 4/28/2013 10:02 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    omgwadddd give me all that roast pork and the crackling.. actually just give me the whole thing on that plate.

  • At 4/28/2013 10:08 pm, Anonymous gastronomous anonymous said…

    i love the look of this cafe! and that pork belly!!!! yum!

  • At 4/29/2013 2:59 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi John - The menu changes weekly - I'm so glad that pork belly was on offer when I walked in!

    Hi Billy - The crackling was very thin so not that noticeable :(

    Hi Gareth - I use a 35m f/2 and you need to get to Chippendale - so much is happening

  • At 5/02/2013 4:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The secondhand furniture, wilted flowers and cold room do not a nice cafe make.
    They put too mmuch effort into "looking cool" and there is a definite overload of it. Food was nothing to write home about and the prices were way to high for the qaulity. Will not go back there

  • At 5/14/2013 12:29 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    This cafe is divine! Just down the road from my house an whilst I want everyone to know about how great it is, you also want to keep these little gems all to yourself...that's never gonna happen because not one person I know who has been there hasn't gone and old their friends about it. Phil and Dave are tops!

  • At 5/14/2013 1:00 pm, Anonymous Ella Legg said…

    Funny how Anonymous is not being very friendly and...staying anonymous!

    Sorry to hear you're not a happy camper.

    Phil & family are lovely people and the most unpretentious people you could meet.

    Disappointed to see you interpreted their sense of style as trying to look cool. It's completely unselfconsciously done :)

  • At 7/02/2013 3:24 pm, Anonymous JJ - 84thand3rd said…

    What a cute place! Will have to keep this in mind when down on the Broadway end of town :)


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