Ampersand Cafe & Book Store
78 Oxford Street, Paddington NSW
02 9380 6617
Does anything pair better with a great cup of coffee than a book? They are two things so many of us are passionate about, and at Ampersand Cafe and Book Store, there’s the perfect balance. A unique combination of ambience, authentic food, Allpress coffee and diverse books lining the walls, Ampersand Cafe and Book Store has been the go-to spot for Paddington book lovers and coffee aficionados for more than 10 years.
The heritage-protected building is filled with antique décor, but there’s nothing stuffy and dusty about this bookshop cafe. There’s a modern vibe, great energy and a bustling atmosphere.
Irene Goldsworthy took over the business in 2014 and together with her ‘trusted lieutenants,’ manages the day-to-day operations of this literary destination. With a long family history in the hospitality industry, Irene is passionate about delivering a unique dining and coffee experience. “Coffee is the glue that binds every cafe,” Irene said, and of course she’s right. That glue binds tightly at Ampersand Cafe; it’s been using Allpress’ Carmelo Blend for years. It has a strong following among the Ampersand regulars – ask them, and they’ll tell you it’s the best bean in town.
The Allpress Carmelo Blend is a medium roast blend featuring coffees from Colombia, Sumatra, Brazil and Guatemala. It is lively and full bodied and offers distinct caramel flavours. You’ll most likely find it difficult to decide where you want to sit and settle in with your Carmelo Blend; will it be outside in the sun, watching the world go by, or on one of the three levels amongst the books? Head upstairs for Fiction, where you can find a cozy table nestled amongst the shelves, or outside under the striped awning, admiring the book-themed street art on the alleyway walls. If you prefer to be front and centre, grab a tall wooden stool at the front counter. The library in the basement doubles as a quirky and unique place to hold events.
In recent years Ampersand has won multiple coffee and food-related awards, and Head Barista, Renald Vettese hails from Paris and has been at Ampersand for nearly eight years – he is something of a local institution. Be sure to pop in and say ‘bonjour.’
Warm days call for a cold drip or a cold brew, and cooler days are made for snuggling up in a vintage armchair under the eclectic chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, groaning with tomes. There are over 30,000 second-hand books here to be perused, so settle in!