Thursday, November 21, 2013

revolver espresso, seminyak, bali

The buzz : An ex competitive surfer from Narrabeen, Katie turned her experience working in cafes worldwide to create a relaxed space with an urban, grungy edge that has become the coolest coffee hangout in town. Stepping through the laneway entrance behind the fashion/lifestyle boutiques “This is a Love Song” and “Home” is a like finding an exclusive den. You feel as if you should whisper a secret password or execute a clandestine handshake, but you can waltz right in without any magic words and be imbibed in the hip scene. There are no windows to the outside, and after a while you forget you are in Bali and start to envisage stepping out onto the streets of Melbourne. 

Mac screens of choice accompany vision sessions for the latest magazine spread, Indi surf label or secret spot. Short shorts, loose singlets, glorious manes of blond hair, tight jeans and dark sunglasses befit the creative hipster crowd. Staff are trendy and buoyant, flitting lightly through the space with a smile and flick of their fringe. 

Revolver have quickly gained a reputation around the world for their perfect espresso shot and silky smooth milk, heated to perfection and poured into a beautiful rosetta. You can hear the audible sighs of love when one is placed in front of an itching coffee lover.  

An original mix of art, paintings and movie memorabilia from the days of Elvis and Marilyn are tacked around, and vintage wares sit beside the metal chairs that have become ubiquitous in the Seminyak café scene this year. Records are stored into Coca Cola crates and spun on an old player that looks like it was dusted off from dad’s shed. The high ceilings have exposed foil insulation and wiring, with bare incandescent bulbs casting a warm glow. 

Its simple breakfasts and light lunches are legendary, with chewy toast, wraps, salads and sandwiches under $5. Vegetarians are well catered for with offerings like The Boss (tempe wrap, lettuce, bean shoots, carrot, cherry tom, coriander & sweet chilli) and The Business (couscous, feta, roast veggies and rocket salad). Once I’ve secured my ristretto soy latte, I can’t go past the Smith & Wesson - mashed avocado on open sourdough toast with sweet roast tomatoes, basil and olive oil. Bang on.

*since taking these photos there have been a few small changes to the interior, and a new menu was launched yesterday; I'll be sure to let you know what's on offer.
beans : Caswells Indonesian house blend or a single origin special of the day
leaf : variety of loose leaf
soy : Australia’s Own organic (extra Rp5000)
caffeine free : fresh juice selection (Rp25,000)
latte price : Rp25,000

fork : caramel pop - dark chocolate and caramel with a biscuit base
spoon : Bang Bang - fresh fruit, crunchy granola, yoghurt and honey (Rp35,000)
knife : Le Pistol - thick brioche French toast
plate : Smith & Wesson, smashed avacado on open sourdough slices with deliciously sweet roast tomatoes, basil and olive oil (Rp35,000).
bowl : The Business - couscous, feta, roast veggies, pumpkin and rocket salad (Rp40,000)

footprint : bejeweled Havianas and well worn Sanuks
service : fast, energetic, eager to please
open : 7 days, 8am to 5pm

Jalan Kayu Aya (Jalan Oberoi) #3, Gang 51
behind This is a Love Song Concept Store and Home Store, or enter from the lane 
T: (0361) 788 4968

Sunday, August 18, 2013

balique, jimbaran, bali

Jalan Uluwatu 39
Jimbaran, Bali

The first time I saw an image of Balique in the Yak Magazine I was smitten by the vintage styling.  Anyone that has the guts to use rusty tin on their façade has my applause. It has taken me a while to get out to Jimbaran, but on my recent Bingin trip I made it down the hill to see for myself.

The meld of Moroccan born Zohra Boukhari and Blaise Samoy from Belgium has already made an influence on the Seminyak restaurant scene, with the striking renovation at Khaima and the recently opened Bistrot on Jalan Oberoi, sister café to Balique.

The main street of Jimbaran is yet to be consumed by cafes and design stalls, and Balique sits inconspicuously near motorbike mechanics and helmet stores.  The structure is a vast open sided joglo, revealed as you enter through the shuttered front doors and modest tin panels. White washed timbers and a checkered cement tile floor are grounds for hand-selected vintage treasures, European style furniture, art deco ornaments and a stunning array of light fittings. There are multiple seating options to suit your dining style, and I chose to sink down in a plump cushioned armchair beside a coffee table complete with magazines. 

The extensive menu, like the team behind the venture, is a blend of French, Moroccan and Asian flavours. The food has gathered high reviews, however I bypassed the tenderloin steak and couscous and went straight for the coffee frappacino; presented in a balloon glass and topped with thick cream. If you like dairy this would no doubt thrill you to the aorta, but I sucked the cold goodness from below and left a whipped puddle in the bottom of my glass. A vegan establishment this is not. 

Balique offers a dining experience unmatched in Jimbaran and with its location close to the five star resorts I don’t doubt it is a favourite alternate to in-house restaurants.  It doesn’t open until 11am, so it isn't a destination for early morning eggs benedict and coffee (you can find these down the road at Grocer & Grind).  Go later for lunch, dinner or a cocktail, and let the eclectic soul of Balique welcome you with a touch of tousled glamor. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

food photography & styling workshops

I am very excited to announce that I will be teaching two workshops in Brisbane next month, hosted by the team at Locale Italian Cafe.

Are you a writer, blogger, traveller, foodie or culinary professional with an itchy shutter finger and a desire to capture café culture, critical caffeine moments and delicious Italian food? Then join me for two intensive one-day food photography and styling workshops on location, fuelled by coffee, Sicilian pastries and lashings of enthusiasm.  No previous experience needed, and all types of camera devices including iPhones are welcome. 

If you aren't in the Brisbane area but know someone who is, please forward them the information about my workshops. Contact me for bookings and information, and let me know where you would like to see the next one.  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

little stove, bicton

103 Harris Street, Bicton, WA

beans : house blend 100% Arabica dark roast, or Turkish stovetop with saffron & cardamon
leaf : loose or herbal $4.00 pot
soy : yes, extra charge
caffeine free : fresh juice
dunk : melting moments
fork : gluten free chocolate & orange cake
spoon : breakfast trifle of granola, berry compote & yoghurt $9
knife : homemade crumpet with stewed rhubarb, ricotta & honey $15
plate & bowl : roast pumpkin salad with red capsicum, sundried tomatoes, feta, pinenuts, “boozy” dates, spinach & rocket $20

footprint : volleys or sandals
latte price : $5.50
service : casual, friendly, acknowledge regulars
open : 7 days, 7.00am to 5.00pm

buzz : Deep in the southern suburbs, Little Stove is an outlier on my usual Freo area radar, and it was through a friend living in the area that I was introduced to this suburban gem. It is handy to the Sunday Melville markets, not far from the river, and well within the leafy boundary west of the freeway.  It boasts easy parking, quiet streets, and the feeling that you would get a friendly hello from your neighbour when you strolled by with the paper.

The clientele has a local flavour and the community has embraced the transformation of this former corner store into a meeting place for mums with bubs, retirees, and friends that want to catch up without having to head into town. The cafe is dog and kid friendly, with room to swing a pram, and water provided for Fido. 

Little Stove have done an admirable job transforming the basic interior into a homely and bright space, decorated with mismatched op-shop finds, memorabilia and giftware. A fireplace provides a warm glow in winter, the air-con is on for summer, and all year round natural light floods in through expansive windows. It was a giggle seeing Scrabble and World Book Encyclopaedias embraced as worthy display items, and the LP record placemats are up-cycling at its best.

The coffee is consistently good - as it should be for $5.50 (with soy). They offer a “text and take away service” that I believe is handy for time-poor individuals. A wide range of teas and herbal tisanes are displayed on the hand written blackboard, and the standard fat cakes call from the fridge. The plump melting moments with fresh cream looked divine, sitting demure as a bride under their fly veil.  

Meals are presented with a casual hand, filling the plate diner style with little attention to detail. There are vegetarian options that could possibly be veganized, but it makes for an expensive salad sans feta. I didn’t order food, and while my girlfriend had a vegetable fritter, I was too busy bouncing a baby to take notes. 

Little Stove is a dependable friend if you are in the area, or looking for an outing south of the river.

Little Stove on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 15, 2012

espress coffee house, kuta, bali

Jalan Dewi Sri, 101, Kuta, Bali

You wouldn't happen upon Espress as a casual visitor to Bali. It is away from the cafe hubs of Seminyak and Legian, on a wide artery road joining Sunset to Kuta Galleria and Ace Hardware. In other words, the ugly ass end of Legian. Its customer base is expats who are grateful for the location as they can avoid the mayhem of Jalan Oberoi, or the hell that is Kuta, and be sure of a carpark right out front.  It is convenient and quiet, and the wall mounted iPads are a genius move for entertaining the kids while mum and dad focus on more important matters, like coffee. I was introduced to Espress by expat friends with three kids, and they will no doubt agree with me. 

Starting with a Sumatran Arabica bean, a good espresso is extracted from their small machine. An espresso is only 10,000 Rp ($1), while a latte is more than double the price (22,000 Rp - $2.20). They didn't have soya milk when I visited, so I opted for a green leaf tea served in a heavy cast iron Japanese tea pot (22,000 Rp).  The food menu covers the basics - muesli, bruschetta, panini, toast, crepes and ice-cream - with vegemite on toast getting the rosy smile from one satisfied three year old. 

The small space is restrained and industrial, with a few well chosen fittings and an informal "mood board" of magazine pages and newspaper clippings. A glass of vanilla beans on each table is an interesting centrepiece and only possible where they are grown - this would be a ludicrously expensive stunt in Australia.

Espress is open daily until late, and a worthy stop for coffee if you find yourself away from the Seminyak vortex and fanging for caffeine. 

Thanks to the little models, offspring of the children's wear designer Fliss Dodd, who's adorable collection can be found online at Udder


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