Youeni Food Store – 2 / 250 Old Northern Road, Castle Hill. http://youenifoodstore.com/
As a regular to The Baron, I was delighted when I found out that a similar cafe had opened down the road by the name of Youeni Food Store. While The Baron is attached to Castle Hill Shopping Centre, Yoeni is in a fairly odd location, albeit adjacent to the Dan Murphy’s store and atop plenty of parking which both get a tick in my books :)
Arriving at Youeni, I was not surprised by the crowd that had gathered there. Seating is sparse – I was lucky enough to get a table outside (Old Northern Rd), but had to request to move inside when another one table became available as (i) it was too windy outside and (ii) the main road was really noisy. The seating inside was a lot more pleasant – the interior has the feel of an open, cosy cafe. The wait staff are incredibly helpful and friendly, accommodating my request to move with a smile and being very patient with me as I held a large table for 4 for myself as I waited for my friends to arrive. Really refreshing to see hospitality with a smile!
There’s a selection of food items available for sale in the small ‘store’ at the side, ranging from fresh veggies to house made muesli. I noticed that the freshly baked bread section was completely empty, so made a note to self to arrive earlier next time to pick up some fresh bread. This is particularly the case given Youeni seemed to become popular from their products:
Everything we can make in-house is made in-house – we bake bread and pastries daily, make our own conserves, and serve
freshly squeezed juices.
The menu is short and sweet, with the last order for breakfast at 11.30am (a bit early for the weekend, dont you say?) and lunch service starting at 12 noon. I was glad we got our breakfast orders in just in the nick of time.
What we ate and drank:
- French Toast, poached fruits, house-made ricotta, honey, cinnamon ($16): this was absolutely delicious and not too sweet. Loved the combination of the quite sweet poached fruits with the ricotta. Wouldn’t have minded if the french toast was a bit more moist, but that’s being really picky.
- Roast capsicum, sopresso salami, haloumi & basil on toast ($16): the haloumi is really the drawcard here – who can say no to haloumi on toast for brekky? The serving size did look on the smaller side for the price, however.
- Coffee & tea: a mocha, cappuccino, latte and tea. The coffee was excellent – I really enjoyed my mocha.
I was really satisfied with my meal and experience (service was a delight!), however, would love to see the menu being expanded to include more variety.
the verdict: 7/10 – a nice addition to the Hills cafe scene
don’t forget to order: french toast – be prepared to have food coma afterwards though!