The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry | A Sydney Food Blog

Baffi and Mo, Redfern

October 25th, 2009  |  Published in Cafes  |  11 Comments

A brilliant breakfast menu is like a knockout second album by a band you love: different and original enough to leave the critics a little dizzy, but familiar enough to ensure everything that drew you in the first place hasn’t been reprogrammed out of existence.

So, you want eggs, sides, toast and the comfort of ordering all day (to maintain the fantasy that you haven’t really slept in so extravagantly), but, like a fast-bored kid, you want the “surprise me” factor, too. This is an epic ask, but it is also what makes you single out a cafe for extra attention, endless return visits and much deserved “new favourite” status.

And so it is with Baffi & Mo in Redfern, which is now that place we try to brainwash people into visiting ‘cos we love it so. (It seems to be working as we keep bumping into familiar faces there.)

Like a lot of people, we first heard about this cafe through Time Out magazine endorsing its breakfast, especially the potato hash. And the publication’s ode to this starchy dish has to be seconded, because it is truly awesome. You can get the hash as a stand-alone meal (topped with tomato, asparagus, avocado, ham and egg) or as a side; either way, you’ll enjoy its spectrum of flavour – from the crisp, crusty cross-hatched ‘shell’ on the outer edges to the the soft-cooked potato in the middle. Amaze. It fast rocketed up our list of favourite things, ever.

If you like reliable tradition of ordering eggs and building up your meal, DIY-style, with sides, you can get Eggs (Poached or Scrambled) with Country White Sourdough ($9) and include cameos of Boston Beans, Mushrooms, Feta, Roasted Tomato, etc, for just $3 each. Or you can try Baffi & Mo’s various spins on breakfast standards, such as Roast Mushroom with Basil and Ricotta on Wholemeal Spelt ($8.50) or Homemade Bircher with Poached Pear ($11).

Will and I are fans of the French Toast with Passionfruit Curd, Lime, Ricotta, Strawberry ($12), and even though we were overstuffed by our savoury choices, we pressed on with having it as a ‘Bressert‘. Like everything else, it refocuses a recognisable dish in clever ways: the strawberries seem to be soaked in a kaffir lime leaf syrup, giving them a two-flavoured edge, while the passionfruit curd is sweet and punchy, cutting through the wallflowerish taste of ricotta. Really really good.

And similarly, Pea, Corn and Haloumi Fritters with Fresh Avocado and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes ($12), although technically part of the lunch menu, again gives an obvious meal a superhero phone-booth transformation. The vegetables lighten up the punchy haloumi chunks, a many-flavoured alternative to the usual one-note fritter.

Also, there are fun frappes on the menu, such as the Mixed Berry and Pineapple Mint.

As for the “Mo” in the cafe’s name, I’d expected more facial hair in the decor but the moustaches are sparing, with a few Mario-and-Luigi-style graphic touches here and there. (Although I noticed a very cool moustache necklace on one of the employees today, sourced via a lovely friend in London.) Will and I were actually more taken with the dramatic black-and-white wallpaper that spans across one side of the cafe. (I think Will would snap almost anything in front of that backdrop; judging from his camera-work, he has a bit of a crush on it.)

Another nice thing about Baffi & Mo, it is quite easy to get to, without being in such a high-traffic area that you have to wait forever for a table.

It’s our current favourite and we have a feeling that its sway over us will last quite a (moustache-growing) while.

Baffi and Mo, 94 Redfern Street, Redfern NSW (02) 8065 3294, http://twitter.com/baffiandmo.

P.S. You can see all these awesome pictures in their XL-sized glory on Will’s photo blog.

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11 Comments

  1. looks like a great place place for breakie, lunch and tea :-)

  2. Karma says:

    great pics and write up, thanks :)

  3. max says:

    hot dang i love baffi & mo.

  4. Middo says:

    I’m not sure which one she is (she must be either Baffi or Mo – she wouldn’t tell me) but growning up with Anne, one of the owners, I would have never imagined she’d end up in food, let alone owning a cafe.

    It was great to catch up with her after so long (and after the really bad coffee on the long drive down from Brisbane) but the Gourmet Burger is definitely worth the drive from anywhere, especially Brisane.

  5. kate says:

    I stumbled upon this post a while back and have been dying to visit Baffi and Mo ever since. It shouldn’t be that hard but it seems I am very busy :)

    But, finally, Saturday brunch will be the time.

    I cannot tell you how excited I am. You’ve made it sound like everything I want in a cafe.

  6. Alan @ Zetland says:

    went there for a drop in breakfast with my partner this morning – sooo glad we did! food and coffee was wonderful. certainly worth the visit, we’ll def be going back again soon!

  7. I’ve got a lunch date at Baffi and Mo today! Hurrah!
    Plus, loved your little zine…

    x Emma

  8. Laura says:

    oh nice, i might try this place

  9. Anonymous says:

    We have been going here nearly every weekend since we found it. The staff are so lovely, and the food is never disappointing. Just be prepared for a short wait to be seated, well worth it though.

  10. Paul says:

    I’m not sure if I have been to the place after reading the review. My experience there as a local over several times has been bad service, bitter/burnt coffee and nice food, but nothing worth this higher level of praise. If you wander a little further on to Waterloo visit ‘Strangers with Candy’ a much better place in atmosphere, coffee and cuisine.

  11. leetranlam says:

    Hey Paul, thanks for your feedback. Sorry that you haven’t had the best time there – Baffi & Mo is probably not as great as it was back in 2009, when it was run by the original owners & chef, who have since gone on to start the excellent Orto Trading Co. in Surry Hills. I would still stand by my praise of Baffi as it was back when I wrote this in Oct 2009 (and still for a while after that). Strangers With Candy is pretty good, agreed; interestingly enough, the owners have since moved on, will be interesting to see if this changes anything. Cheers, Lee Tran

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About

Hi, I'm Lee Tran Lam. When not blogging with my mouth full, I'm usually writing, presenting Local Fidelity on FBi radio, making zines, producing podcasts or continually breaking promises about how I really am gonna get through my book pile one day.

All the good pictures on this blog are by photography ace (and patient boyfriend), Will Reichelt, (all the dodgy ones can be credited to me)!

The lovely banner is by friend and ultra-talented illustrator Grace Lee.

This site redesign was made possible by the next-level generosity and expertise of Daniel Boud, whose code-tinkering ways are only outranked by his seriously inspired way with a camera.

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This is a blog I do for pure fun and zero influence – there's no sponsorship, sneaky advertorial or advertising. I pay for all the food mentioned, 'cos it seems the ethical thing to do.


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