I have a new cafe crush in the Eastern Suburbs. It's the delightfully quirky Lion & Buffalo down in South Coogee. This cafe not only serves up excellent coffee and food, but is run by some of the friendliest people I've met working in a cafe, in a long time. And to top it all off, they create one of Sydney's best babycinos!
The Lion & Buffalo is named after the star signs of the owners and you will find this star of a cafe on a corner block on busy Malabar Rd. There is a reasonable amount of street parking around the cafe (well there was on a Sunday morning when we visited), and there's also a bus stop right at the front door. We dined at the Lion & Buffalo on the weekend of their 1st birthday, and the place was decked out in balloons and other decorations which impressed our little lads immensely. The cafe has indoor and outdoor seating and there is a nice patch of green grass in front of the cafe as well - so bring your fur babies along too.
The interior walls of the Lion & Buffalo are painted with fabulous big murals and it is furnished with recycled timber tables and chairs, which makes for a very eclectic atmosphere. The inside of the cafe is not really that pram friendly, so my advice to you is to leave the pram at home or in the car, and wear your bambino - high chairs are also available. Otherwise pull up a pew at one of the outside tables (blankets and heaters are available for cooler days). The morning we dined, two different sets of bleary eyed parents attempted to park their tractor sized prams inside (and the place was full). This resulted in a bit of mayhem, as no one could move (staff or fellow diners) as the mini tractors had blocked all of the routes to the front door. However the obliging staff did everything possible to accommodate them, which deserves a big tick.
The Lion & Buffalo has a sweet looking courtyard garden out the back, and they are currently waiting on council approval for diners to be able to use this space. When this comes through it will be the perfect spot for fambams to sit on a sunny day that's for sure. There are his and hers toilets at the back of the cafe near the kitchen, but they don't contain a baby change table as they are on the smallish side.
The baristas at the Lion & Buffalo create some of the most gorgeous babycinos we have seen in a long time. Each day the designs change according to the whim of the brilliant barista. Our boys received a cute little mushroom on top of theirs, and it was accompanied by a marshmallow and sprinkes. I've also seen the Loch Ness Monster, Dragons and all sorts of other creations on top. And the baristas are also well trained in the art of brewing coffee, as the flat whites we had were most definitely on the superior side! They use Single Origin Roasters beans and the cute little cookie on the side of the coffee is always a welcome gesture.
The All Day Menu at the Lion & Buffalo is full of many delicious items as well as one item specifically for kids - a poached egg on toast ($6). There is also toast with spreads on the main menu as well as some tasty looking baked goodies on the front counter for your babes to munch on. And if your kidlets have outgrown the babycino stage, there is a milo milk ($4.50) on the drinks menu as well as shakes and hot chocolates to keep them hydrated.
There is a bit of a Polish influence on the menu (so I'm presuming the owners hail from that part of the world). All of the meals are reasonably priced considering the size of the serves that came out of the kitchen. The good old bacon & eggs come with perfect crispy bacon and 3 slices of Iggy Sourdough toast. There's also avo smash, porridge, the big breakfast, granola and a BAE roll to kick start your day.
I'm normally a savoury kind of gal first thing in the morning, but for some reason I went with a sweet option for breakfast and gosh I'm glad I did! It was a combination of orange and cinnamon french toast served with caramelised bananas, coconut mascarpone and candied oranges and it was pure deliciousness - the boys even helped me out to eat it, so you could definitely order one to share between kids.
If you dine at lunch time there's a Wagyu steak sandwich and 15 hour braised lamb on offer for the carnivores, a roasted cauliflower salad for the vegetarians and a smoked salmon plate for the pescatarians. And for dessert I would definitely try the Baffagato - ice cream, coffee & a caramel biscuit!
The Lion & Buffalo is definitely a community cafe. All of the locals are known by name as are their orders. But even us "out of towners" were made to feel so very welcome - so much so we received a cute little birthday present from the owner for visiting the Lion & Buffalo on its birthday! So "Twoje zdrowie" Lion & Buffalo (which I hope means "cheers" in Polish, but I could be wrong), and may you have many more birthdays x
203 Malabar Rd, Coogee NSW
0447 685 466
Open 7 days: 7am - 3pm