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.