18 August 2023

Five minutes with David Menzies, Syvier's Coffee House

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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David Menzies

The owner of Syvier’s Coffee House, David Menzies, reopened his grandfather’s business in his name. Photo: Chris Roe.

Who is David Menzies: I’m a small business owner in the small country town of The Rock. For the past 10 years, I’ve been the owner of Syvier’s Coffee House. My family has been in The Rock for a hundred years, and my grandfather had this shop 80 years before me. He started the place in 1926 and retired at 97 years old. I was born in Victoria and moved here when I was four years old. I moved out when I was 17, and I swore I would never come back here, and 30 years later, here I am. My grandfather had sold the place to another gentleman before I got here, and it was shut when I came into town. I opened it up and named it after his first name, ‘Syvier’, in his honour.

Best recent dining experience: Best dining experience was over 10 years ago. I haven’t had a break since I took over the place. I can’t remember the last time I had the best dining experience.

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Favourite cuisine: Italian. It would have to be Moreton Bay bugs.

What ingredient can I not live without: I have to say pepper.

How many Weet-Bix do I do: I don’t normally have them, but I have a minimum of two bars when I do.

Best coffee spot in The Rock: Syvier’s Coffee House.

Syvier's Coffee House was established in 1926 by Syvier Taber

Syvier’s Coffee House was established in 1926 by Syvier Taber who managed the business until his retirement in 2005 aged 97. Photo: Chris Roe.

Favourite coffee: That would be a vanilla latte with chocolate on the bottom.

What’s your coffee blend: We use Coffex.

Next big thing in The Rock food scene: There isn’t a food scene here other than the bowling club. I think people at The Rock would like a steak house because it is a big farming centre. I do steak sandwiches but I don’t do steaks as such. The club has Chinese and they do steak in their dishes but you can’t go buy a ribeye there. We need a traditional restaurant or eating houses.

Syvier's Coffe House has an array of delicious desserts to try.

Syvier’s Coffe House has an array of delicious desserts to try. Photo: Riverina Pickers.

Favourite place to lunch: If I were going to Wagga to have lunch, I would probably say the Sportsman Club Hotel.

A must-try on our menu: The one must-try on the menu, I would have to say, is the pepperoni focaccia.

Most used ingredient at Syvier’s Coffee House: That would have to be potatoes.

Our top pick from our desserts: The most popular dessert is the homemade apple slice with passionfruit icing.

Syvier's Coffee House has an extensive menu

Syvier’s Coffee House has an extensive menu. Head down to the cafe next time you’re nearby. Photo: David Johnson.

My biggest culinary influence: My biggest culinary influence would have to be my mother. She was a traditional mum who loved cooking and I picked up a lot from her. I picked up from her that if you’re cooking silverside, add orange to the water, which isn’t widely known. It makes a difference to the meat. Also, use pepper and salt for everything and ‘keep it simple, stupid’ and real.

What are this week’s specials at Syvier’s Coffee House: We don’t do weekly specials. We have an extensive set menu.

Death row meal: Death row meal would have to be Moreton bay bugs with a Chivas Regal.

Where am I travelling to next: It’s probably Wagga.

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Dream destination: If I had a choice to travel anywhere in the world without the world crisis, it would have to be Egypt. I would like to see the pyramids.

My biggest fear: My biggest fear is failing at guitar. I might be on stage and fail. I’ve been playing the guitar for about 10 years.

My least favourite food: My least favourite would have to be avocado.

My top three cooking tips: Keep it simple. Keep it clean and use fresh ingredients.

Syvier’s Coffee House is located at 115 Urana Street, The Rock. It’s open Monday from 8 am to 2 pm, Tuesday from 8 am to 5 pm, Wednesday to Friday from 8 am to 7 pm, Saturday 9 am to 7 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm.

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