There is nothing like being in the company of people who are genuinely passionate about their craft and I was delighted to have the chance to interview Mariella Traina and Natalie Mandel. Their espresso bar, True Religion, is located on bustling Darling Street, Balmain. It is a pocket of a place and thanks to an edgy Melbourne meets Sydney fit out, looks brilliant. Mariella, a trained chef, owned Froth cafe in Leichhardt for 5 years before embarking on True Religion with Natalie.
The first thing that I noticed when they opened was their funky logo – it’s a coffee bean with devil’s horns and tail. As Natalie explained, coffee was originally considered the Devil’s drink so this is a cheeky twist on that. As for the name of their venture, they are both devoted to coffee and it’s a type of daily worship that we all partake in.
The main vibe definitely has an organic emphasis and of being true to the clean, simple flavours that great produce lends itself to. Both girls love eating out at Billy Kwong for the same reason. Their coffee is independently roasted and custom blended to meet their high standards. Their single origin is used for short blacks/macchiato and changes every 2 weeks. Even their decaf is Fair-trade, rainforest alliance and mountain water filtered from Mexico – and for decaf it tastes like the real thing. Luckily you can buy their coffee as well!
True Religion has gorgeous food – the things they do best are made on site while they outsource tasty treats from Adriano Zumbo. Staying true to traditional recipes and allowing ingredients to shine is evident in all their dishes. For example, Bircher muesli is left unadulterated and made according to the original recipe.
I must say, I have changed my daily routine to swing by True Religion and get my coffee – I am so fussy with my coffee and very few places actually get it right. These girls have won me over with their consistency and incredible skill in making my daily caffeine hit. They are a tribute to the Holy Grail of Caffeine and I congratulate them on their passion.
True Religion are open from 6 –4 Tuesday to Saturday and then 7-3 Sundays. Mondays are spent dreaming of coffee and refuelling for another week!