When Robert Williams looked down at a recipe book while holding a tablespoon, he knew he had the name for his friends’ cafe, which he now manages. Owners Han Ji and Han Li Khor (ex-Smuggled Seeds Espresso) injected life into the King William Street precinct when they opened in 2015.
Opening in uncharted Bayswater was deliberate. There was a good feel about the neighbourhood and the space meant they could go bigger and better, building on the lessons learnt running Smuggled Seeds. They started with great decor – it’s timber heavy, minimalistic and warm.
The brunch menu is savoury with an Asian tilt. Scrambled eggs are served with chilli and coriander; and there’s congee with egg, chicken crackling and pulled chicken.
Regulars are loyal to dishes such the brioche French toast with whipped strawberry butter and cereal crunch; and the kimcheeseburger – a brioche bun stacked with beef, cheese and kimchi. Chef Brian Kong introduces new dishes slowly via the specials board. Nothing is sacrificed from the menu without serious consideration.
Coffee is a big part of the offering, too. Brewing equipment decorates the counter and two roasters are showcased. Melbourne’s Small Batch is recommended for black, cold-drip and pour-over coffees. Local outfit Blacklist Coffee is best suited for the milk coffees.
Weekends see Han Li giving the oven a workout, baking cakes and doughnuts.