Tucked within the outside wall of a semi-smelly carpark in Parramatta is a small café serving what is probably Western Sydney’s best coffee, and some very good toasties.
Staffing at this carpark café is quite minimal, with only two people working to serve the teeming masses from the local legal community. The wait for my two toasted sandwiches (which were premade, mind you – all that had to be done was put them in the sandwich press) took about twenty minutes.
This bolognaise jaffle ($10 I think) is probably the best jaffle I’ve ever had, though the only of reference that I have for comparison are those made by my father (he owns a jaffle maker, but has no other formal jaffle making qualifications). The bread was suitably crispy, and the warm gooey cheesy filling of mince, tomato and cheese was warming and full of flavour. Well executed.
The mushroom toastie ($15-ish) was also very good. It was stuffed full of pickles and cheese, which gave it a good tangy flavour not found in all mushroom toasties. The mushroom added quite a bit of bite and chew to the toastie, and I didn’t even miss the lack of meat in it. The one complaint, if I were to nit-pick, would be that the tangy, salty flavours of this toastie might have just been marginally too flavourful for me. Nonetheless, a good toastie.
This soy latte may actually be the best I’ve had in my life. I’m not familiar with all the fancy terms reviewers use to describe coffee, but I know quality when I taste it.
EARLY THOUGHTS (MAY 2021)
The food was good, and the coffee was amazing. There is an unfortunate dearth of free parking in the area, and the nearest easily accessible free parking is probably in Westfield Parramatta (a 9 minute walk). I also think that given how busy they were on the day they’re probably bringing in enough revenue to buy another sandwich press. This could potentially cut their service times for a toastie down from twenty minutes to something a bit more reasonable. Having said all this, I’d definitely still recommend Western Sydney dwellers pay Homage a visit.
5/5 (coffee bonus)
A NEW LOCATION (MAY 2022)
A year after my first visit to Homage I had the opportunity to take a number of my colleagues on our customary post-night shift breakfast to their new location on George St Parramatta, just around the corner from their old spot but now with ample room to cater for their loyal customer base.
I had some kind of Veggie Bowl (vaguely $22, the menu has since changed), a vegetarian offering of quinoa, broccolini, carrot, avocado, beetroot and other greenery which I ruined (ethos-wise, not taste-wise) through the addition of grilled chicken ($3) and a fried egg ($3). Though it’s been a little while since I’ve had it, I remember enjoying the variety of tastes and textures, and the complexity of such an offering for a Parramatta breakfast.
Even a year later, Homage’s coffee remains probably the best I’ve ever had. I don’t know how they do it.
My colleague ELT had such an enjoyable meal at Homage on our May 2022 visit that she insisted we go back after our run of night shifts in July 2022. Beating some kind of mid-morning rush, we entered the empty café at 10AM just before it was swamped by hordes from the surrounding office buildings on their daily coffee run.
I had the Mediterranean Baked Eggs ($20), again a vegetarian dish at its base that I ruined with the addition of chorizo ($3). Our wait for food was a little longer than expected owing to the single hardworking guy at the back, and while opinion around the table was varied, I thought it was worth the wait. Homage’s baked eggs was a surprisingly wet and runny dish, best eaten with a spoon rather than a fork. This held for both the tomato base as well as the very softly baked eggs, the yolks of which were unexpectedly creamy and pleasurable, though not something I’d go out of my way to eat ordinarily. The loading of dill, pine nuts, pomegranate, and vegetables including capsicum, chickpea, and eggplant was generous and added both textural and flavour interest above and beyond that of your regular garden variety baked egg dish. Brickfields sourdough bread was served with Pepe Saya butter, a high-end choice that surpasses budget alternatives and surely deserves a mention on the next printing of the menu. The chorizo was unnecessary and therefore not recommended, owing to the good balance of flavours within the base dish.
With its diverse all-day menu and coffee so good that it’s a bit suspicious, Homage Specialty Coffee enters the A tier of Parramatta’s cafes, nestling vaguely alongside Circa and Lil Miss Collins, and earning a spot within our regular post-nights brunch cycle. Seasonal variability in their food menu would take them to the next level.
Homage Specialty Coffee
Shop 1/71 – 73 George St, Parramatta NSW 2150
Formerly: Beneath City Centre Carpark, Shop 2/71 Horwood Pl, Parramatta NSW 2150