Local Mbassy, Ultimo

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Almost a year since our first vis­it one week after open­ing, H and I returned to Local Mbassy in Ultimo. We’d seen it appear con­stantly on social media feeds since early autumn and were curi­ous as to how the cafe had grown since. They’re busy dur­ing lunch, although tables become avail­able often.

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They’re known for their red vel­vet latte, but being even less of a fan of red vel­vet after see­ing they used bat­ter to make it, I opt for the Hot Taro ($4.00) described as hav­ing a ‘nutty vanilla like taste, topped with creamy hot milk’. It’s has the arti­fi­cial taste of taro that you get from syr­up, that is, akin to vanilla fla­voured sweet potato. It’s not pleas­ant, but it does have a beau­ti­ful purple col­our and smooth tex­ture with no grit.

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This is the Matcha and Raspberry Cruffin ($5.50), a crois­sant in the shape of a muffin filled with matcha cream and rasp­berry com­pote and topped with a rasp­berry jelly.

Ordering this matcha cruffin was far more dif­fi­cult than I expec­ted. Here’s the conversation:

Me: …and I’ll have the matcha cruffin.
Her: Sorry, the what?
Me: The matcha cruffin.
Her: (con­fused) You mean the cronut?
Me: No, the cruffin.
Her: (con­fused) We only sell cronuts.
Me: (accept­ing she has no idea what the cafe sells) Sure, I’ll have the matcha cronut.
Her: Okay, so was that the car­a­mel cronut.
Me: No, the matcha cronut.
Her: (con­fused) Sorry, the what…?
Me: The green tea cronut. The one with green filling.
Her: Okay, the green one.

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A matcha cruffin arrived at our table (before the mains, rather than after, so lack of plan­ning), so I can only ima­gine she had an epi­phany about cruffins. While the matcha cream to rasp­berry com­pote ratio favours the matcha cream, the punchy sweet­ness of rasp­berry over­powers the mel­low­er matcha fla­vour. A stronger matcha fla­vour would have helped.

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Setting dessert aside, this is the Falafel Burger ($18.00), described as an ‘in house Egyptian falafel, alfalfa, babagan­oush, smoky tahini served with battered potato chips’.

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The chips were crispy and fluffy, although prob­ably too much for me in addi­tion to the burger.

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The bur­ger, though, was the star with fant­ast­ic fla­vour and tex­ture. The falafel was moist with a crispy crust, and the tahini and banagan­oush added a deli­cious nutty and egg­plant-y fla­vour, and the tomato and alfalfa adding a hint of fresh­ness. The bun itself was nicely toasted on the out­side but not too dry as to crumble when squashed for consumption.

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While the food is decent, even if not always to my taste, the ser­vice at Local Mbassy one year on, leaves a lot to be desired. Placing our order was a feat in itself, even cruffin issues aside. After attract­ing the atten­tion of a wait­ress to take our order on their iPad, anoth­er wait­ress attemp­ted to ‘assist’ her by tak­ing her iPad, but not to serve us but those sit­ting out­side. A couple of minutes later, we re-attract the atten­tion of the unhelp­fully help­ful wait­ress who attemp­ted to take our order, only for to dart behind the counter at least 3 times due to ‘tech­nic­al issues’. Technical issues I can under­stand, but she attemp­ted to make up for her for­get­ful­ness of what we had ordered by return­ing each time with, ‘So, was that a red vel­vet latte’, hop­ing to hit the jack­pot with their sig­na­ture item. No, it was not a red vel­vet latte!

Come here for the food, but don’t expect the ser­vice you’d usu­ally receive with the prices.

Local Mbassy is loc­ated at 310 Wattle St, Ultimo NSW 2007.