A big broken chair hanging from the ceiling is one way of making children think that a monster lives at this Stanmore café.
But for those who prefer a more logical explanation, Head Barista Alfie Fuller has a more believable tale.
“The story goes that [Co-Owner] Ralph Monserrat’s aunt was teased at school because the kids couldn’t say her surname Monserrat, so instead they would say: ‘Where the monster sat.’ It’s ended up being a great café name.”
The family-operated venue is situated in the West of Sydney, in a booming area right next to the café hub of Newtown.
“Stanmore is growing at a really fast pace. When we started there were fewer cafés compared to what’s popped up now,” Alfie says. “We’re different to the others because we’re quite quirky, we serve great coffee and food, and have fun along the way.”
The café’s refurbishment has seen the shop transformed into a “home away from home”, with the use of wooden crates and old recycled timber turned into functional tables and seats.
“We don’t have a particular style, but our regular customers tell us it reminds them of going to the family home. It’s a very relaxed space that has plenty of comfy couches to recline in,” Alfie says.
Customers can also sit in the summer sun and relax in one of the 30 outdoor seats – a perfect way to enjoy one of the Monster’s favourite iced coffees.
Where the Monster Sat was one of the first cafés in Sydney to use Zest Specialty Coffee. Zest now roasts nearby in Marrickville, but Alfie says it was quite exciting to launch the brand to its customers. It serves Zest Specialty Coffee’s Forte Blend on its shiny red La Marzocco machine.
“This blend is really smooth but still quite strong. It’s delicious as an espresso but also great in milk-based coffees or in our iced coffee,” Alfie says.
As espresso, this blend from three continents exudes dark cocoa and orange marmalade, with hints of peanut brittle.
After working his whole career as a chef, Ralph has put a slight twist on the all-day breakfast and lunch menu. “Right from 8am on a Saturday we have people lining up to enjoy our Monsters’ breakfast nachos, which are really popular, as are our potato kale balls,” Alfie says.
The café makes its own pies on site. Alfie recommends the pulled pork and apple pie, and for something indulgent, the Monster cheeseburger.
“When you’re surrounded by all the things you love, this job doesn’t feel like work at all,” Alfie says. “I love talking to people, working hard, but also having fun. I hope this place continues to thrive.”
Judging by the ‘monster’ crowds this café attracts on the weekends, it already is.