Saturday, September 22, 2012

anomali, seminyak, bali

Jalan Drupadi/Oberoi, Seminyak, Bali

beans : Indonesian house blend or single origin
leaf : variety of loose leaf
soy : Australia’s Own, extra Rp5k
caffeine free : fresh juice selection Rp28k
spoon : Bircher muesli Rp35k
knife : french toast with caramelized banana, butterscotch cream & roast almond Rp 35k

footprint : black thongs
latte price : Rp30,000 ($3)
service : keen to please
open : 7 days, 7am to 11pm, midnight on Saturday

buzz : If Bali is the island of temples, this is where you come to worship the bean. For all those serious about coffee, make your way directly, do not pass go or stop to buy a Bintang singlet.  If you aren’t a coffee enthusiast, this may change your mind, or at least convince you to shun Nescafe from this day forward. Trust me, your life will be forever enhanced. 

Beans from the length of the archipelago are roasted on site, ground to order and prepared according to their dominant characteristic. A clear blackboard flow chart explains the key traits of each variety, and the knowledgeable staff are happy to elaborate for both beginners and connoisseurs.  The espresso blend varies according to availability – my soy latte was a smooth Toraja/Mandailing shot with pleasant earthiness, but served in a cup rather than glass. Thank the holy Shiva they have unsweetened soya milk.  If you like your coffee cold, they do a range of thick, frappe fusions with blends like "dark choco rum latte" and "orange honey kiss". 

For purists that don’t sully their caffeine with milk, there is the option of heart stopping, black, single origin brews prepared with a syphon, plunger, drip filter or wooden neck. The syphon or vacuum pot technique was invented in Berlin in the 1830's, and it is prized for creating a clean, pristine brew using hydrostatic pressure. It requires a deft hand on the gas burner and one on the thermometer, while watching the stopwatch for a precise five minute extraction. It is the most advanced barista technique on display and recommended for the light body Toraja bean. 

The action revolves around an open central service island, with one side devoted to milk based goodness and the other the caffeine laboratory. A small army of staff (curiously all from Java) fuss about inside the stainless steel quarter, with the underlings watching and learning the craft of a perfectly timed dripper or espresso crema from the senior baristas.  A cleverly placed sky light beams sunshine over the work station, and watching the action from the sidelines is fine entertainment. With the number of staff, a uniform would visually unite the team and give the operation a slicker vibe. 

The fit out is warehouse industrial with not a frill or flower in sight. Rough sawn timber, concrete and steel throughout, with ingenious use of 44-gallon drums for tables, sinks and display. Graphic potraits and stencilled font decorate the concrete walls, and green beans are on display in open sacks, awaiting their turn in the Toper roaster that takes pride of place in the window. If your vision of Bali is bamboo blinds, nasi goreng and rice padi views, don't come here (in fact get out of Seminyak all together); Anomali is a contemporary cafe that wouldn't look out of place in a hip corner of Melbourne.   

There are a variety of seating options inside including a high bench with stools, communal tables, and the grandstand, where, for two or more people, a demonstration and free cupping can be arranged to taste the full range. The undercover deck area at the front is subject to street noise, smokers and heat, making it a less attractive option.  

With the focus on coffee, I personally wouldn’t come for the food, however my table neighbour claimed it was the best steak sandwich he’d ever had.  Plastic wrapped banana bread and a single piece of cake looked very lonely and unappetising in the fridge display, and with it standing front and centre, it requires more attention. The menu is heavily swayed to the demise of animals with a side serving of chips; safe bistro food for the masses that doesn’t push any creative boundaries. The idea of foie gras on toast disgusts me, but hooray for self- service water in a jug (yes, you can drink it).

Anomali adds another dimension to the already impressive Seminyak coffee scene (and is next door to one of my favourite breakfast joints, The Tuckshop) and they are opening a cafe in Ubud in early October that will raise the coffee bar in the hills. Count me in as a groupie. 

Beans available : 
Sumatra Mandailing : high body, tobacco
Aceh Gayo Organic : high bod,y earthy
Papua Wamena : medium body, fruity
Flores Bajawa : medium body, citrus
Toraja : light body, chocolate and caramel
Bali Kintamani : light body, nutty and orange
Java Estate : light body, chocolate and herbs
Luwak : cat body

Thursday, September 6, 2012

moore & moore, fremantle

beans : Fiori 
leaf : loose leaf & herbal brews, iced in summer
soy : yes
caffeine free : rooibos latte
fork : slivered almond & hazelnut slice
spoon : pear & chocolate macadamia tart $6.00
knife : sweet fruit toast with home made conserves, fresh fruit & honey mascarpone $16.50
plate & bowl : baked beans with avocado, Turkish toast & salad $14.50

footprint : vintage anything
latte price : $3.80
service : funky & gorgeous with variable attitude
open : 7 days, 7am to 4pm

Moore & Moore is a distillation of Freo essence; a homeopathic remedy for life’s little ills.  Since its dawning in the Moores Building Contemporary Art Gallery, its reputation has spread far beyond the side street locale, and queues are standard practice for a weekend breakfast outing. This popularity can result in long waits and confused orders, so my advice is to go outside of peak times if possible. A cold coffee after 20 minutes does not a happy camper make.  

Not surprising given the address, the artistic coterie blends with uni students, earth mothers and a small posse of young hipsters that use product. The back courtyard is popular with nuclear families, as there is plenty of space to park mini all-terrain baby vehicles, and the extension onto the footpath has introduced al fresco out front, with a sign welcoming canine friends. 

Inside, the heritage space is decorated with mismatched, preloved furniture, salvaged treasures, gig posters, and installations. Cluttered and dust collecting, but absorbing.  It encourages lounging & lingering, like hanging out in an art student’s share-house, albeit with better food.

The informal council of locals placates the wait to order, and a blur of wait staff and foot traffic cutting through the queue keeps you alert. Then there is the art to ponder and indie tunes to get your groove on.  You get to the counter and realize you haven’t even glanced at the blackboard menu. 

Alchemy occurs in the tiny cluttered kitchen, where Simon and his band of short order chefs create honest comfort food.  Our house made baked beans were leagues ahead of Heinz, and served with chewy Turkish bread, a generous half avocado and fat field mushrooms.  Behind the coffee machine, milk is expertly textured and poured over a robust shot of Fiori espresso. In a lush red cup and saucer it is an art piece unto itself (however, could have been hotter). I’m intrigued by the idea of a honeycomb espresso or a rooibos latte, and have them on my wish list for future visits. 

Moore & Moore on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 3, 2012

more cafe, busselton

beans : Yahava Kintamani
leaf :  Tease silk bags
soy : yes, Vitasoy
caffeine free : green smoothie with banana & spirulina $8.50
dunk : cranberry & white chocolate shortbread $3
fork : double chocolate pecan brownie with double cream $4.50
spoon : baked raspberry & white chocolate cheesecake $6.50
knife : banana & pistachio bread with honey butter $8.50 or French toast with maple syrup & strawberries $13.50
plate & bowl : roast pumpkin & tahini salad

footprint :  office flats, thongs
latte price : $4.30
service :  familiar and obliging
open :  Monday to Saturday from 7.30am to mid afternoon

More Café filled a gaping, dowdy hole in the Busselton scene for a funky café with great coffee and affordable, fresh food.

Created by the former (and now reinstated) head chef at The Goose, Gary brought his years of experience and travel abroad to the plate, along with a hip design sense from his partner, Chelsea. Graphic monochromatic wallpaper, exposed brick and concrete get a kick of colour with whimsical light shades, band posters and plastic orange stools.  Generous use of glass makes the most of the corner laneway location and you will usually find me in the window bench seat catching a few morning rays.  The café is very popular with the town lunch crowd, so it is best to visit outside the midday hours if you want to linger.

The fridge display is stocked daily with salads, panini, quiche, fritters and tarts (with gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options available). For a fast, healthy plateful at a friendly price, the salad selection is hard to beat. The blackboard menu has faithful all-day breakfast fare and comfort food choices, including nasi goreng - a nod to Gary’s Indonesian surf trips.  Caffeine is extracted from locally roasted Yahava beans and is consistently rich and smooth. There is no hesitation to serve milk extra hot and there is very little delay from the barista to the table.

A stack of regular customer cards are stored on the counter, next to the tempting friands and muffins, and horoscopes from the West Australian are stuck to the back of the coffee machine, so you can check out what kind of day you should be having.  The magazine selection was once the best design fodder in town, but sadly, the new owners haven’t been renewing the stash.

More Cafe has been in new ownership for over a year and so far they are upholding the excellent standards that Gary and Chelsea established. Long may it continue, I'll be back soon. 

More Cafe on Urbanspoon

it is time to get serious

Four coffee free days - what was I thinking? That is no fuel for a comeback. 

Sorry for my absence, it has been an exciting few months out in the world, with over 100 coffees consumed since my last post, many of them during a six week trip to Italy. It was here I matured from a soy latte sipper to a short mac quaffer, and broke my all time record by having three espressos in one day (bad idea). Some of you will have been following my jaunt to Sicily and Venice via Treacle, or you may have been keeping one eye on the barefoot tropical season through Remote and Raw.  In the spirit of research, I have sniffed out some fab joints that I can't wait to share with you.  I invite you to comment if you have visited the same cafe and had a different experience, if something has changed since I was there, or if you simply want to agree with my opinion.  All welcome.

I have given Crema a spring birthday, with a new look and a new header, so swing on over for a look (if you are an email subscriber) and tell me what you think. I've got the kettle on. 


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