When Henley Beach residents Elisa Mercurio and Juan Londono watched their neighbourhood transform into a thriving precinct, they saw the opportunity for a new contemporary dining experience.
Over the festive season the pair opened Acacia, a specialty coffee joint near the recently redeveloped Henley Square. It sits between the brand new Bowlsome and Melt Henley. “We wanted to create something sophisticated, modern and minimalistic, with a touch of the Mediterranean,” says Mercurio, who alongside Londono, previously ran cafe and co-working space D.E.W.
Coffee is at the heart of Acacia: the store was literally built around its La Marzocco ModBar espresso machine, the first in South Australia. “The very first thing we brought in was the coffee machine,” says Londono.
The entire fit-out was designed to match its ultra-sleek aesthetic. Its tap-like system is reminiscent of a bar and creates an easy flow between customer and barista, while the modular system allows complete control over each extraction.
Beans come from Kangarilla roaster Dawn Patrol Coffee; there’s single-origin or blended espresso and filter options, including carbonated cold filter and espresso tonic. Non-caffeinated options include freshly squeezed juices and smoothies made in-house, tea by The Tea Catcher, and hot chocolate from Melbourne’s Mörk Chocolate. Pastries are delivered daily from The Flinders Street Project.
Colombian-born Londono creates flavour profiles centered on coastal botanicals, citrus, coriander and paprika. The menu fuses South American influences with a Mediterranean feel echoed in the Tuscan-style arch windows peeping into the kitchen. The fit-out, by Sans-Arc Studio, is clean and textural; white tiles are offset by lush emerald seating and a flourish of glossy palms.
Time spent living in Bondi inspired the pair to bring seaside “brunch culture” to Henley Beach, says Londono. With the ocean just steps away, the cafe’s location is ideal for a slow breakfast or takeaway for a beachside picnic. Breakfast includes smoked kippers with egg, salsa and potato rosti; patas bravas; and guacamole toast with feta, mint and chilli. Beans and Greens is the “salad for breakfast” popular with the active Henley Beach community, says Mercurio.
The lunch menu includes fresh market fish with pickled cucumber and preserved lemon; pork belly; grilled baby octopus; and haloumi and grain salads. Linger longer on Fridays and Saturdays; a new dinner menu features Mulloway ceviche with lime pickled cucumbers and caviar; saganaki with pickled red onion, honey, lime and pistachio; and squid ink paella with chargrilled octopus, Coorong pipis, chorizo and chicken as well as cocktails and wines.