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