I had a day in the city yesterday - a late start for work - too far to travel home to the mountains, so the time was mine. I went to The Glebe, an old stomping ground of mine from years ago. As a suburb it has a reputation for being a student hang out, slightly feral and grungy in some places, beautifully picturesque and historic in others; a place were all those leftie, intellectual, inner city types hang out.
Badde Manors Cafe was my hang-out.
"A local institution, Badde Manors is grungy and funky and very, very Glebe. Tables, booths and nooks are fitted into its eccentric shape and the decor is eclectic with a St Vinnies-meets-garage sale appeal. It is frequented by a warm and friendly crowd and boasts speedy service and delicious vegetarian cuisine."
It was half the size it is now, with cosy booths, great food and the only place in NSW (outside of that other feral hang-out - Byron Bay) that served real Chai, not the ersatz Nestle rip off that is now on supermarket shelves.
The secret ingredients were a healthy dose of grated ginger and a touch of Rose syrup, all served on a tray with teapot and sieve. It used to be a challenge to see how many glasses of Chai could be squeezed from one pot.
Despite its recent change of ownership it was so good to see that the cafe still had the same laid back attitude, cosy eclectic decor, great food and Chai of old.
Badde Manors was also the birthplace of the Cafe of the Gate of Salvation, Sydney’s popular non-denominational gospel choir. Several of the singers also worked there and on good days the customers would be treated with an impromptu performance. My music tastes were honed at this cafe, they always played the best background music - it was one of the first places I heard musicians such as Salif Keita and Astor Piazzola.
So yesterday afternoon for several hours I sat in the Winter sunshine reading and knitting, drinking Chai and eating the best Hungarian baked Cheesecake in the city.
Life is good.