At 11pm on a Friday night, where would you expect to be? I know I’m not generally sipping hot chocolate in a tiny 24 hour cafe just a short walk away from Sydney’s King’s Cross. Yet this is where I do in fact find myself situated on this particular Friday night, squashed inside one of the smallest cafe’s I’ve experienced, crammed in with a large group of friends and a few strangers, all with the same objective, to be warmed on this cold night by what Cafe Hernandez has to offer.
First recommended by a friend, for the cafe’s rich Spanish hot chocolate,
I ventured out, on such a night, to find this cafe with one aim and one aim only. At first glance from the top of the hill on which the cafe sits upon, all that can be seen is the iconic red coloured awning marking Hernandez’s place. As I ease my way down the slope the warm light spilling out from underneath the awning beckons me and promises the warmth I am so desperately seeking. The large group with whom I am visiting with all manage to squeeze through the cafe’s small, yet characteristic wooden door, into the heat of what I sense to be a thriving business.
Immediately we sit down, in the cafe’s similarly small seating arrangements. Our sudden entrance is greeted with a quick glimmer of shock, overwhelm, and stress on the sole waitress’s face at the sight of so many cramming into her tiny workplace. This however, is gone in flash, as she proceeds to announce to everyone she would come around to take orders, and menus are passed around.
The venue is filled with a unique charm, enforced by the odd collection of artwork hung on almost every inch of the walls, and the eclectic mix of furniture within. As I look around to see an elderly couple, a few businessmen and our group of uni students, it is clear to see that the mix of customers match the charismatic interior. Patrons sit on a varied collection of stools and chairs, amidst classic items such as an old piano and the machinery used to roast the coffee beans every day. The loud sounds of the coffee machine whirs under the strain of such an influx in demand though it’s the echoes of chatter and our stomachs grumbling that engulf the cafe tonight.
I have heard that the Spanish hot chocolate ($4.50) is the way to go in terms of beverages, and so we all plan to order just that. As I proceed with my order, a disappointing retort quickly follows as the waitress informs me that they have run out. There is a moment of silence as this information sinks in for those who has travelled so far and wide, battling the blistering cold winds to test the beverage but we all manage bounced back, and kick on with different orders. I chose the ordinary hot chocolate ($3.50) and it proves to vanish all my previous upset. My first sip of the intoxicating liquid instantly warms my insides and perks me up right away. I accompany this sweet and rich drink with well, more sweet and rich desserts. The dark chocolate brownie ($3.60) is nice and moist and certainly delivers on the sweet and rich note. Though, it is the freshly made-on-the-spot churros, described on the menu as a Spanish donut ($2.00) that makes the trek was most definitely worth it. It does all the right things. It’s crisp, slightly doughy and perfectly sweeten with cinnamon.
While the range of cuisine within the cafe may not be extremely large or impressive,
the popularity, charm and quality of Cafe Hernandez as a whole ensures that customers return, as I will. Though next time I will be set out to try the now mythical and possibly the most ‘hyped up’ hot chocolate around and I have a feeling it will be worth it!
60 Kings Cross Road
Potts Point NSW 2011
(02) 9331 2343
Open 24 hours, seven days
including all public holidays.