beans : roasted by Ristretto
leaf : T2 selection, served in a vintage teapot
soy : yes, extra 50c
caffeine free : chocolate Turkish delight milkshake with two scoops of ice-cream
dunk : bite size biscotti
fork : buttermilk pancakes served with fresh fruit, maple syrup & yoghurt or ice-cream
spoon : cabin muesli laden with nuts & fruit, served with yoghurt & honey
knife : toasted homemade banana bread with cinnamon & walnuts
plate & bowl : traditional New York style bagel topped with grilled pumpkin, eggplant, cream cheese, relish & rocket (can be vegan)
footprint : vintage pumps or peep-toe flats
latte price : $3.50
service : warm & sociable
open : 7.00am to 5.00pm Mon to Fri, 10.00am to 5.00pm Sat
buzz : Cabin Fever first came to my attention last year as the runner-up in the Eat, Drink, Perth coffee awards. I rarely make it into the city centre, but on my annual trip to the Indonesian embassy I made a point to detour to the depths of Bon Marche Arcade. This narrow mall has been around since my days of visiting nana in the big smoke, and the collection of vintage and retro furnishings, crockery and silverware evokes nostalgic memories of youth. The styling is so reminiscent of her lounge room that I wondered if she might be hiding behind the counter baking gingernuts. The teacup collection made me weak at the knees, and I strayed from my usual soy latte in order to caress traditional tea paraphernalia.
Since its conception in 2010, founder Ruth Leigh has established a community from behind the counter. All day relaxation, stimulating conversation, board games and magazines are supported by excellent Ristretto coffee and friendly prices. Their bagels receive rave reviews, with nine combinations of sweet and savoury toppings. Intimate music gigs and monthly craft gatherings extend the love, and the café hosts exhibitions and installations by emerging artists. When was the last time you saw a pom-pom in public? Plus you are within gawking distance of the design goodies next door at Pigeonhole.
There is often a rush for pre-work coffee and lunches, so go outside of peak periods to settle into a deep lounge or concentrate on your next chess move. The space is snug and the atmosphere so personal, that I felt like a voyeur in a hipster’s living room; I even entered into a conversation with a stranger. I may find the coziness a bit stifling on a sunny day, when the lack of windows could induce an eponymous state.
Cabin Fever is proof that you don't have to be big, brash and lit up in neon on the corner to make an impact. A simple menu, and a consistently good brew served with a smile is what cheers one up in the CBD. That, and a kitsch souvenir teaspoon.