Geoffrey Bawa was a Sri Lankan architect who popularised “tropical modernism”, a design style that blends buildings with the natural landscape.
The owners of BAWA, a cafe in Hawthorn, have adopted more than just his name, and have created a space in which nature rules. Leafy plants burst from light fittings. Jungle prints hang on the walls.
The windows along the street-side open completely bringing the outside in.
Co-owner Shri Bhagwandas (previously of Dukes Coffee Roasters) runs the new cafe with Sahely brothers, Kael and Matt, and their father Elias (collectively of Barry, Square and Compass, ex-Pillar of Salt) and co-owner-head chef, Chris Griffiths (ex-Three Bags Full).
The menu is as clever as you’d expect from such a group. The chia pudding with rosewater and passionfruit foam is summery and light. The potato roesti with braised pork, eggs and a florescent-green herby hollandaise is a hearty option.
The coffee is Dukes, naturally, and there are some creative options beyond the normal flat white. A shot of espresso is mixed with tonic water, a squeeze of lime and a dash of sugar syrup to create the Black Tonic. Iced coffees come with a specially made skim milk that has been whipped to foam, a little like a Greek frappe.