53 Pittwater Road, Manly, NSW
02 9977 7740
Though he's too modest to admit it, Robbie Fazey's ventures in the north shore areas of Manly and Cremorne have raised the bar for coffee in the area. Foundry 53 is becoming the venue in Manly for specialist coffee and a bit more besides.
And it is Robbie’s adventures around the world that have provided his insight into international influences. While growing up, Robbie enthusiastically worked the kitchens and, as a teenager, was sometimes pulled onto the floor for a few shifts. That’s when he caught the hospitality bug and, since then, he has worked for some of the most progressive and interesting venues around the world.
Originally he studied for a design degree at university, always with a view to applying it to the bar or café scene in some capacity. Taking a look around Foundry 53, with its graffiti sprayed brick tables, soft couches and wide bi-fold windows that effectively turn the inside into outside, this enthusiasm for design is abundantly clear. “I knew from a young age I wanted to create interesting and unique venues,” he recalled.
Robbie has been involved in most aspects of hospitality, from those early kitchen and waiting days to stints in floor management, fine dining, and bar management, where he has built up extensive cocktail, spirit and wine knowledge.
He branched out on his own a few years ago with a popular little bar in Manly but found that it was more rewarding to focus on specialty coffee and high quality café food. This he wanted to do in a unique and creative environment in an area of Sydney that can be a little hard to crack.
Foundry Fiftythree opened in 2012, and is managed by Michael Tyson and Alisdair Walter, who also run the eclectic café Bread & Butter in Cremorne. Both venues use direct trade specialty beans from Barrel One Coffee Roasters. Alisdair mans the machines as head barista, using seasonally-changing blends and single origins, and tapping into the increasingly sophisticated coffee scene to create a locals hangout.
“We believe in supporting local brands and creatives, the world of coffee farmers, and creating a space and atmosphere for the locals,” explained Robbie.
Healthy and hearty breakfasts and lunches are superbly prepared by chef Kshitij Yogi. All produce is freshly sourced from local boutique suppliers and is mostly organic. Positioned as the café is, between a few of the biggest gyms in the area and alongside surf shops and bike stores, and directly behind Manly beach, Yogi creates food that matches the local lifestyle around them. Healthy, delicious and fresh dishes use meat from local butchers, fruits and vegetables fresh from the markets, and everything but the bread is freshly made in-house.
Breakfasts range from a variety of different mueslis to a BLT with herbed aioli, and the chorizo ‘Dog’ with sofrito, green eggs and houllumi, one of the signature dishes here.
Robbie said, “Excuse the pun, but things are going swimmingly. Plans are already afoot for an extension, featuring a larger brew bar and a place to showcase local creativity and new trends in coffee.”