Footscray almost missed out on Bad Love Club. Sarah Ryan and Damien Shaw originally planned for their bakery-slash-bar to be in Sassafras – a sleepy village in the Dandenongs they loved to visit. They settled instead for Shaw’s hometown.
“With what we wanted to do, we weren’t sure Sassafras was ready,” Ryan laughs. “It’s simple food, and what we’re doing is designed to be complementary rather than take away from other great cafes in the area.”
Their plan is two-pronged. Bad Love Club is currently open early for Sensory Lab coffee, breakfast jaffles and 5 & Dime bagels to take away, and will soon become a “boozy bakery” at night where Ryan’s baked goods will feature alongside dessert cocktails. An end-of-the-meal location, if you will.
The site needed a lot of work. BOarch did the fit-out, using the store’s branding from Studio Cahoots to come up with the popping pink walls and perforated steel “trees”.
“Imagine you’re going on a trip through southern California, then mix that with 1970s Australiana,” Ryan says of the look they aimed to create.
Trailing pearl succulents, cacti and eucalyptus extend from the steel branches. Ryan’s home-style treats also use native ingredients such as wattleseed and lemon myrtle.
“My nanna had a home-style store with ready-made meals and my cousins have bakeries, so I’ve grown up around baking,” Ryan says. “Some of the desserts are family recipes.”
She also plans to perfect a “heavily guarded recipe” from Shaw’s family for a caramel flan (he’s half-Spanish), while a toasted pecan and marshmallow pie, decadent brownies and cakes are some of the other options.
Fresh produce comes from the nearby Footscray Market, the all-important jaffle bread is jumbo-sized Zeally Bay sourdough, and Pepe Saya butter and St David Dairy are on hand.
The name stems from the Eric Clapton song, Bad Love, a tune the pair first bonded over. To keep with the theme, most of the menu items are given a musical name.
There’s the Fab Four, for instance: ham, cheese, tomato and pink peppercorns in a classic jaffle arrangement. Or The Coaster: a Mexican-style jaffle where the crusts are dipped in crushed-up corn chips named after Down in Mexico by The Coasters.
Bad Love Club
Shop 5, 68–82 Hopkins Street, Footscray
(03) 8580 6484
Wednesday – Sunday: 6am–2pm and 5pm–1am.