Kurtosh House No 5 - Wollongong NSW

An amazing world of well crafted culinary gems for morning or afternoon gatherings.

With an Eastern Euro feel, founded by Israeli and French entrepreneurs, staffed by friendly Aussies and with a branch found in a regional city. What more could I ask for, but wait there is more...the Kurtosh No.5 (in the context of the greater Sydney area anyway) is located in a  literally, figuratively and trendy cool place, beside Globe Lane in the CBD, an offshoot from the pedestrian Crown Street Mall.

 This cafe has  a long shape inside, so deep far in that a couple could while away long hours without being interrupted.  Its entrance is not so obvious but provides two choices, one to the amazing display of its produce and creations, with another allowing customers to push baby prams in.    A clue -it is opposite the San Churro and adjacent to His Boy Elroy.   Inside there are dim lights, darkened brick in the raw walls and cosy tables.

The barista's den.

What does the word Kurtosh signify?  I can think of the KurtosKalacs, once a festive treat and a favourite of Hungarian nobility, now more accessible in a rich and modern world - the stacked chimney pastries.  These are barrel shaped dough snacks with a truncated cone made from hard and dry yeast dough, eggs, salt, flour, sugar, milk and butter - a signature dish of the Szeklerland region.    There is  caramelised sugar glaze over this Transylvanian creation, which is also available in the other Kurtosh cafes in Surry Hills, Balmain, Randwick, Darlinghurst and Crows Nest.   The KurtosKalacs also was a commonly shared and strong symbol of Szekler culture when Szeklerians were being driven away by the Tartars in one period of European history.

When asked what type of cakes do they make, on my very first visit a month ago,  the clever staff member said,  "these are cakes like what Grandma used to make".   Hey, that set the standards, the expectations, the mystery and the fun.    The very first things that caught my eye were the brandy choc balls, round and perfect basking under the display lights.   Croissants and the Babka loaves  look crisp and fresh  - an idea for an early drop by and fast take away?    Provide Kurtosh four days notice and they can help in decorating your festive occasion cakes.  There are fudges, cheesecakes, biscotti  -  things sprinkled with nuts, seeds and most important of all, love.

Colours are bold, the atmosphere is mellow and the coffee is uplifting.

So even if I felt I was in Budapest inside the cafe, the variety of biscuits, cakes, pastry another delights extend beyond Eastern Europe.  It also brings back to the days when dainty cakes were sold by the weight, a good idea to return to, with the customers having fun deciding the amount to partake with coffee on site and /or to take home.  And the coffee.....it is the Mecca blend.    What also captivated  my group of three was the spanking modern multi-tiered oven.  Teacraft teas can be selected by those who abstain from coffee.

The barista has a separate counter from the cake display, another idea that makes sense.   There is  a unicycle from England hidden behind a wall inside.  We are cocooned from the world outside, we can concentrate on the cake slices in front of us and we relish every bite, every savour, especially of the quality chocolate.  I especially am a  kid in a proverbial candy shop, the varying texture  and sensations in my mouth most appreciated, most important.

Spinach filling, sesame seed coated - a snack that is warm, fulfilling and easy on the palate.

The blonde-brown haired guy at the cakes counter was enthusiastic in explaining to us what we could have.
The barista made the coffee fast, there was no delay, even if the place was filling up on an early Sunday afternoon. Could we take part of a cake home?   I feel particularly blessed, here was a stand out bakery only ten minutes by car from home and here I was, digging into cake samples with great company.

There were no vehicle parking issues, in fact I could have taken the free Gong shuttle to this heaven.  The Kurtosh here is open every day.  Katie and Scott shared my passion for the cakes chosen.  There are also gluten free fruity sponge cakes.  So much variety and even if one drops by every week for just one selection, it may take a year to complete trying the display.  The Kurtosh offers generous samplings at the entrance and this is a great idea to get our appetites going.

Clockwise a sampling - carrot cake, dark choice, raspberry and a layered one with white chocolate.
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