Beaches, that’s probably what Australia is best known for. But there’s another thing Australia does best. The Australian café.
Australian cafés are the hipster, minimalist, plant-covered coffee stops of every millennial’s dream. And they don’t originate from London’s trending Shoreditch or from the boulevards of Paris. Instead, it is the converted structures and mid-20th century buildings of urban Australia that create and house these hyper-trendy destinations for foodies.
Melbourne and Perth compete to be Australia’s foodie capital, with each city insisting on its dominance. However, the title belongs to Perth this year, as it has become the only Australian city to be featured on the New York Time’s list of 52 Places to Go in 2019. Hardly surprising, as the city is a collection of pristine beaches, wild park spaces – and has coffee available on every corner.
The coffee culture in Perth is prominent. It is not one of venti sized Starbucks and caramel lattes, nor is it the fast espresso culture of the Italians. No, Perth coffee culture is one of average-sized cups filled with warm, creamy coffee from expensive, freshly ground beans. Cappuccinos, lattes, and the flat white itself are all in high demand and must be nothing but perfect.
The coffee snobbery in Perth is almost unbelievable. You might disagree, until you sit opposite a friend who complains that there are two half shots of espresso in his small glass of coffee, rather than four quarter shots. The difference is palpable and obvious, apparently. Then of course there is the incredible world of the flat white. A staple in Australian coffee culture. What is it? It’s a latte without the foam. Basically, a milky coffee. However, it is the pride and joy of Australian coffee drinkers!
The flat white was only properly introduced to the UK in 2018. A movement spearheaded by McDonalds, much to the joy of Australian expats. To the rest of London, it was a new intriguing coffee, but on Australian expat forums, such as Aussies in London, it was the answer to prayers.
But it’s not just the coffee that sets the Australian café scene apart from the rest of the world. It’s the food too. Creative original menus, buddha bowls and smoothie bowls are a far cry from the Pret-A-Mangers and Café Nero’s that line the streets of London.
Perth is all about innovative brunch foods. An unusual concept yes, but a creative and delicious one, I assure you. Eggs benedict in a tagine, or a vegan apple crumble topped with flowers are all freshly made for consumption. Avocado toast? Why of course, Perth is obsessed!
So obsessed, that avo toast (as it is known in Australia) has become a political symbol of rebellion. When Australian columnist Bernard Salt, and Australian property developer Tim Gurner, both linked millennials’ inability to buy a house with the amount the generation were spending on smashed avocado toast, the country was in uproar. If a vegetable on toast was the height of decadence and irresponsible spending, well something was obviously wrong with society – the young adults of Australia argued back. Avo toast sales went up and café patrons took a new glee in frequenting their favourite food spots.
Offering free Wifi and comfy mismatched seats and sofas, these are places to stay for a while. A favourite of the University student. Bring your laptop and do some work, read a book, or sit with friends and chat for hour upon hours. If Australia is anything, it is relaxed, and so are its cafes.
Don’t expect to spend the entire day in one, though. This isn’t Friends and the cafés are not Central Perk. The kitchen closes at 3pm and the restaurant area is completely emptied by 4pm. There is no chance of a late-night coffee in Perth unless you fancy fine dining.
If you are looking for an Aussie café experience but aren’t making a trip to Australia anytime soon, there is no need to despair. So prolific is Aussie café culture that there are eateries in London styled specifically after the Aussie design. Most are owned and staffed by Aussies too. Granger & Co in London’s Westbourne Grove will provide you with a healthy dose of smashed avo toast, while Beany Green, near Liverpool Street, caters for your every eggy brunch need.
But for those making the trip to Perth, here are the cafes not to miss. Flora & Fauna located in Northbridge provides the most surprisingly delicious, flower-covered vegan meals. The Little Bird Café, located just up the road on Lake Street, has every kind of cake on offer – covered in flowers too. For all your smashed avocado needs and coffee requirements, La Veen Coffee & Kitchen is definitely the place to go.