The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry | A Sydney Food Blog

Satellite, Newtown

July 6th, 2009  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  9 Comments

Over the years, I’ve kept circling back to Satellite in Newtown.

It was Tabitha who introduced me to this cafe, many menus ago. During my uni days, many sleepy weekends were jumpstarted by the mega pile-up that was Satellite’s vego breakfast option. (The mountain of toast and sides was impossible to scale, let alone finish – although a patch of cleared-plate would always appear where the mashed potato was placed; it seemed criminal not to eat all of that airy-soft potato, no matter how full I was.)

Despite the occasional visit though, I’ve been a bit of a Satellite no-show in the last while – new cafe discoveries had diverted my attention (and appetite) elsewhere.

So in one of those funny life-going-full-circle coincidences, it was Tabitha who convinced me to add Satellite back to my breakfast patrol.

Everytime we were at Vargabar, we would see Tabitha and Nathan pass by, on their way to Satellite. She even left a message on this blog which said:

LTL, you have to veer away from Vargabar one morning to try Satellite, which has changed hands and is better than ever! It has this potato, olive and red onion breakfast, and an incredible omelette with caramelised onion, and delicious baked beans, and soda pops with fresh fruit, and is as cheap as always!

I’m glad she singled out Satellite for re-trying because everything she said is true. The menu includes Lemon and Ginger and Lychee, Raspberry and Boysenberry fruit sodas ($5 each) and Orange Pash Ginger and Apple Lemon Mint fruit whips (also $5 each). Sipping on them make you feel like high school students from a Betty & Veronica comic.

The Pan-fried Potatoes, Olives, Peas, Roast Red Onion, Parsley and Toast ($13.50) are awesome and a welcome breakfast alternative to the overfamiliar eggs-and-toast line-up. Other fresh twists on the usual suspects include Omelette with Semi-Dried Tomato, Marjoram, Confit Garlic, Haloumi, Shallots and Toast ($13.50), Marinated Mushrooms, Braised Leek, with Toast, Spinach and Sage ($14) and Avocado, Tomato and Coriander Salsa, Lemon on Toast ($12.50).

But if you love the comfort of ordering eggs and toast, and getting to bury the plate in sides, then Satellite still caters to that too. Will has had repeat servings of Scrambled Eggs, Smoked Ham, Tomato Relish and Toast ($13), which he likes (despite finding the relish a bit intense and being overwhelmed by the garden-bed of rocket that accompanies the plate) while I’ve enjoyed bulking out the Avocado, Tomato and Coriander Salsa, Lemon on Toast with the red-wine-stewed House Beans ($3) and the excellent offering of Mushrooms ($4). The latter isn’t the typical butter-fried stack of buttons, but a well-braised mix that includes yummy enoki (which rarely makes cameos on breakfast menus – so good on Satellite for jazzing up a conventional side option with this inventive ingredient).

And even though we’ve ramped up our Satellite visits, there are still quite a few choices I want to try, such as the Spinach, Fetta, Tomato Omelette with Basil Mayonnaise Roll ($7.50). Bonus points to the cafe also for a menu that has good vego options aplenty.

Although sometimes there is a wait for food, the staff are always really onto it and apologetic and reassuring – so you don’t feel like you’ve been forgotten (or victim of some order-shunned conspiracy).

Oh and the space has had a bit of an edgy makeover too – with a street art feel on some of the walls.

And while it’s natural to disown some of the things you discovered earlier in your life – because it’s now dated or embarrassing or an awkward fit (like outgrown clothing) – it’s nice to know that some places actually increase in awesomeness and justify becoming a long-running fixture in your life.

Satellite remixes an old cliche by proving that you can like the new stuff better than the old stuff.

Satellite, Shop 8, 80 Wilson St, Newtown NSW (02) 9557 8698

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  1. Betty says:

    This place looks really good! I find it hard to go back to places, especially when I have such a long list of places to try!

  2. I haven’t been to Satellite in ages too.. You have inspired me to go back to my old stomping ground! I hope they still have those little english muffin with eggs and spinach..

  3. Anonymous says:

    I live really close to satellite, and stopped going soon after it changed hands. The music was to loud for our Sunday morning group to chat, and the staff just erked me little.

    but DAM some of those dishes sound awesome. I shall give them another go

    ps. try the coffee at the tiny place just behind 7/11, yes all the suspect characters sitting outside can be off putting so get a take away. They use bon soy and are a buck cheaper on a large soy then satellite

    yes being a wuss and posting anon on this one.

  4. Sophie Munns says:

    I just love all the colour…plates of wonderful nourishing and delicious morsels…take me there!

  5. Debbie Ann says:

    we went to Satellite since I love Clipper. I loved the food and the color and the art. I thought the staff was a little annoyed at me, not sure why. I’ll go back though, because of the food. thanks for your review!!

  6. leetranlam says:

    Thanks for all the comments everyone.
    Anon, yes you should schedule a return visit … The new dishes are worth trying. I had the potatoes with a side of mushrooms and spinach twice this weekend!
    Funny, I never noticed the loudness until I sat at the back… (And yes, you’re right, it means conversation sometimes needs to elevate to raise-your-voice levels). Maybe the front area is better for chatting …
    Thanks for the tip – I have been curious about that tiny little cafe.
    Sorry that the muffin isn’t on the menu anymore ABH, but there are good replacements for it!
    And Debbie Ann, glad you checked it out. Hope the staff aren’t too funny next time ’round? I know it can get super-busy in there.

  7. suzysiu says:

    Thanks, after reading this we arranged to visit with friends, good menu, good food, and it was quiet. Will go again. And as advertised, Tabitha was there 🙂

  8. leetranlam says:

    This is an edited version of a comment a reader called Tom left today:

    I’ve been going here on and off for 3 or 4 years, and even recommended it to people. The old owners were awesome, new owner less so.

    I will never go to Satellite again after this morning. We waited for an hour, listening to bad house music, finally my girlfriend said something, I’m not exactly sure what.

    When the food came, we mustn’t have looked grateful enough, because the lady told us to … [I can not print the next part because of the extreme language used, but you can imagine how aggressive and upsetting it was in the context of what happened next].

    After we left, with everyone in the cafe staring at us, my girlfriend was teary with shock. I went home, made a sandwich, and reflected on this horrible experience. I’d sat there quietly for an hour, and was then verbally abused and ejected.

    I wasn’t there but what happened sounds indefensible and unacceptable and I’m so sorry that it would happen at any cafe anywhere, let alone one I’ve recommended. I’ve been to Satellite many times and always have had pleasant experiences (although that house music can be a little too loud) and I can only stand by my own personal experiences but, of course, this is also a forum for other people’s accounts, too, and I’m really sorry that happened to you, Tom, especially after going there, so loyally, for years.

  9. Anonymous says:

    hey I had a similar experience.. I used to go there all the time, then i had a really rude awakening to how rude they are there.. So much so i would never go there again. Not worth the mention of whats and why!

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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.

You can read more about my co-conspirators here.

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.


This is a blog about eating and drinking in Sydney, Australia (with the odd cross-border or off-topic detour). BYO appetite.

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