Moana Coffee is easy to miss. Scope out the blackboard A-frame on Hay Street Mall and slip in the narrow entry, then follow the vintage stairway up to the first-floor cafe.
The beautiful building, known as Moana Chambers, was boarded up for years until a group of creatives and a whole lot of elbow grease brought it back to life, reborn more than a century after it was constructed.
Now, jarrah floorboards, ornate plaster detailing, towering arches and ceilings grant respite from the foot traffic below. Moana Coffee feeds into a wide balcony, strung with fairy lights and hanging plants. Like the gallery and the co-working space it neighbours, the cafe is a collaboration between Jacob Edwards and Andy Maher – outdoor-sign writers who spray the grass for AFL matches – and Megan Palandri.
She manages the cafe and whips up many of its inexpensive delights from scratch. The menu ranges from homemade baked-bean breakfasts to chickpea salads, cream-cheese bagels and avocado-jammed chicken quesadillas.
Palandri’s baked peppermint slice is a winner, and the cafe’s cold-brew flavoured coffee pushes palate limits, injected with blends such as sparkling orange; almond milk and maple; and lime and ginger. Espresso is also on offer for those who like to keep it simple.