When Broadsheet paid a visit to Ibrahim Yu earlier this week, he was itching to get back to service. “Since Covid ... I haven’t been serving customers,” he tells us. “I miss the faces in the morning. That’s the most exciting part – early mornings. I make your coffee, call your name out. I’m really, really looking forward to that.”
That time finally came this morning, when Leisurely Coffee opened its doors to the public in the former Paddys Lantern site on Gilbert Street.
Paddys was a bare-bones coffee shop, always filled with warmth and character (and damn good coffee). Leisurely Coffee has a more contemporary feel; with a brand new kitchen and clean lines. The front has been remodelled to accommodate more patrons, and the sweeping counter is illuminated by light from the sawtooth windows. Finished with greenery, a retail section and a communal outdoor table, the space retains the vibe of a neighbourhood local.
In the tradition of “if it ain’t broke…”, the trusty Synesso espresso machine that served Paddy’s so well for over a decade remains the centrepiece. It’s had a chic respray, and is now paired with three Anfim grinders serving two different blends and rotating single origins. Filter and batch brew are also available, all courtesy of ACT roaster Ona Coffee.
Sample the full spectrum with the “barista’s breakfast” – a single-origin espresso, a flat white and a hit of batch brew, served with sparkling water to wake up the palate.
Stand too close to the bench and you might just find a milk jug in your hand. Yu’s happy to hand over the reins (or at least the tools) to patrons wanting to up their latte-art skills and pour their own coffee.
Yu admits it’s been a steep, sometimes stressful learning curve from pulling shots and pouring ‘ccinos to filling in council applications and pricing a full menu. He’s welcomed mentorship from ex-boss Quang Nguyen (Devour, Shibui, Noi Vietnamese Eatery); help on menu development from Devour chef Michael Stonehouse; and advice from Ona Coffee’s Sasa Sestic.
The tiny, tightly packed kitchen is like a Tardis – it feels much larger once you’re inside. From it the team's churning out creative brunches that up the cafe-menu game, such as a croissant filled with softshell crab and chilli scramble (with a green apple and papaya salad on the side); buckwheat and zucchini noodle salad with lotus root, pickled carrot, avocado, edamame and a poached egg (you can add teriyaki chicken or go vegan); and a halal take on the classic bacon and egg roll (custom-smoked beef bacon, sweetcorn scramble and Swiss cheese on brioche); and bao buns with poached eggs and beef bacon. Fresh pastries arrive daily courtesy of Market Street, and bread is from Skala Bakery.
Yu will also be making a small number of chicken and mushroom dumplings by hand, which will be served with mixed vegetables, black vinegar and chilli oil. “These will be on the specials menu,” he says. “Available until sold out.”
219 Gilbert Street, Adelaide
Mon to Sat 7am–2pm