Lord of the (Burger) Rings

I’m calling a moratorium on the latter day breed of steampunk hipster serving me my weekend coffee with the furrowed brow of one preoccupied with his lifehacking pursuits.

If, like me, you’re sick of the type of barista who says ‘Hey, that’s funny!’ while deadpanning you in his leather shoes (no socks), then you’re ripe for the thoroughly authentic weirdness that is the Common Ground Cafe.Image

Tucked away in the Blue Mountains at the arse-end of Katoomba Street, Common Ground Cafe is like stepping onto the set of Lord of the Rings if the Amish were running the catering van.

The cafe is managed by members of the Twelve Tribes which, depending on your point of view are either a Fundamentalist Christian cult of dubious persuasion or, if you’ve had a chronic case of the munchies at any Australian music festival of note, the perpetrators of the most awesome Barramundi Burger in the history of the Universe.

While their fresh and tasty food is to be applauded, the real star of Common Ground Cafe is the decor. Lovingly handcrafted and installed by the brethren, every nook and cranny transports you to Narnia nirvana. That they’ve also bothered to create tables for one with the same level of TLC and whimsy is indeed singular in every sense.


The cafe is somewhat of a tourist clusterfuck but because the staff display a gentle quietude that suggests they are tilling the field rather than fielding the till, Common Ground still feels like an oasis in a desert of rampant consumerism.

The fact is they’re raking in the dough, but I’m good with that for three reasons; the food is fresh and organic, they keep their religious predilections to themselves and most importantly, they serve up my coffee with authenticity rather than the contrived individualism of a fashion fractal spat out by Wallpaper or Nylon magazine.

Common Ground puts the uncommon into common and that is to be celebrated … and the burgers are better too.