The locals of West Ryde are now in their element!

Element 6 Feature WallWith an extensive menu that includes organic produce and gluten free options, and a cosy creative space to enjoy time to yourself, a casual meeting, or a friendly ‘catch-up’, Element 6 provides an inviting place for you to be in your element. That is the aim of owners Susan Chan and Hae-jin Song, who chose the name based on the scientific element number for carbon – 6, which is what everything originates from. It is both in recognition of the organic produce, food and coffee that are formed from the earth, and the desire to create a space where locals can be in their element. It is also a clue into the backgrounds of these two coffee loving foodies.

Before opening the cafe in September 2012, Susan was working as a dentist, and Hae-jin, a trained food scientist,
was employed as an environmental co-ordinator for a large soft drink company. Both were lacking ‘spark’ in their careers and felt the need for a challenge.  Susan’s love for design helped to create the interior fit-out which has kept some of the original doors and walls, and added a new plywood feature for the main counter and servery.

Element 6 Feature WallOriginal artworks by Susan enliven the plywood and make this a unique focal point, however my favourite look is the cafe brick wall which has been exposed by carefully chipping the gyprock away, then finishing off to give a stunning effect. With help from Hae-jin’s brother-in-law chef, they were able to make a start on the menu, which focuses on seasonal whole food, using organic produce where possible. The ladies then had to teach themselves about coffee, but enjoyed the experience immensely and ended up settling on ‘5 senses’ coffee which is a great choice. There is also a great range of teas which are all loose leaf, and I’m always a fan of anywhere that uses Belgian
chocolate for the mochas and hot chocolates!

Salmon Benedict with orange hollandaise, gremolata hash and poached eggsIn the last couple of years, the menu has become more collaborative, with input from both the owners and various chefs, providing a huge choice and a real fusion of flavours. The all day menu includes toasts – with a world of bread varieties, and they offer a range of Hank’s jam to pop on top; house made granola, yoghurt and seasonal fruit; bacon and eggs various ways; French toast with mascarpone, seasonal poached fruit and pistachio praline; sandwiches; salads; and the renowned South-West Ryder of crispy bacon, 2 poached eggs, roasted tomato, boston beans, onion jam and corn cake.

Being a little less ambitious on my first visit I decided to try the blackboard special of Avocado smashed with feta, coriander, eshallots, and heirloom tomatoes on sourdough. The freshness of creamy avocado and salty feta always works well on a crunchy sourdough, but the standout was the pickled eshallot which added a unique sweet and sour flavour to the overall dish. A popular special for cheese lovers is the ‘Ode to Borough’s’ Ultimate cheese Toastie – with Mersey Valley Cheddar, Fontina and Leek, a UK delight that has made its way to the western suburbs.

Element 6 Spiced Apple Soda The cold drinks menu is equally extensive including the heavy ingredient filled ‘Green with envy Smoothie’ with kale, celery, spinach, mint, cucumber, apple and agave. From fresh juices to malted shakes and root beer floats, you can be sure to find something interesting to drink at Element 6.  From the specials board I was intrigued to try the Spiced Apple Cinnamon Soda. Served in an original Mason Jar your first impression is that it tastes like cold fizzy apple pie. Made from juiced apple that is then reduced with spices, the syrup is mixed with soda water and sprinkled with cinnamon to create this uniquely refreshing and comforting beverage.

5 senses coffee gluten free treatWhile the coffee is good enough to enjoy on its own, I highly recommend pairing it with one of the gluten free treats that will tempt you from the dessert window. They are made by a local school girl who bakes gluten free cakes, biscuits and slices who just supplies these to a couple of local cafes.  The Passionfruit Melting Moment was crumbly with a decadent creamy centre, and just a hint of passionfruit. You’ll get no complaints from me about eating gluten free – these taste fantastic! The biggest warning about this place is that it’s hugely popular with the locals, which means seating can be limited. I was unable to get a table when turning up 11am on a weekday, but was still able to
enjoy my meal along the front window bar seating. Takeaway is still a pleasant option with a large park less than a block away, and on warmer days, there is plenty of outside dining space to enjoy as well.

Element 6
65 Ryedale Road
West Ryde NSW 2114
Ph: (02) 8021 2838
Open: Mon-Fri 6:30am to 3pm, Sat 7am to 3pm, Sun – 8am to 3pm