Herald Rating: 3/5
Address: 20 New North Rd, Kingsland
We came here because it's something of a classic. This is where we get our weekly bean bag (the price for 250g recently went up from $10 to $11, but I'm tight-fisted enough for the free flat white to be a deal-maker).
Parking was fine on the weekend. But Kingsland can sometimes be problematic, though we've never had to walk too far.
We walked in and immediately thought their recent revamp has paid off. Atomic has spread into the building next door, making more room for the production and guzzling of java. They still roast beans on site and their own kitchen produces the counter food. This is a big, slick coffee emporium, with a range of extraction machines for sale on site - which, unless you've actually come to buy an espresso machine rather than a mere espresso, seems a waste of space.
The most unusual thing on the menu is the siphon coffee. Along with the revamp, they've set up a new coffee bar for drip filters and bunsen-fired siphons.
We ordered the oatmeal pancakes with caramelised apple and orange mascarpone ($10) and pork belly with chickpeas ($10) and rhubarb cake ($4.50). The food has improved a lot, although Atomic is still firmly more on the side of a coffee bar than a sit-down grub house.
The service was good, as always. There's a core of senior staff who know their coffee and do a good line in mingle-and-chat. They happily talk you through the beans.
The coffee was flawless. Atomic does the flat-whitey basics well. I'm not sold on the siphon (served on a little wooden tray) and drip-filter carry-on - it seems similar to something I can make at home.
We recommend if you come here you try the siphon. Judge for yourself. Get on the next wave.
Overall we thought a happy rejig of an institution.By Winston Aldworth @WinstonAldworth Email Winston