The site where Applecross cafe Cioccolato Espresso sits was once a garden centre, a fact that customers frequently point out to co-owner Anita Corr. In a nod to the site’s history, Corr – who also owns Hylin and its Back Bar with husband Russell - has transformed this laneway into a lush plant store. Enter Botanical Lane.
“We’ve used the space for the cafe over a number of years but decided it really lends itself to indoor plants,” says Corr. “They’re going to be everywhere. A lot of people don’t know we have an alley, it’s quite surprising.”
Corr says Botanical Lane will stock common, low maintenance as well as rarer varieties.
“We’re always going to try and get unusual plants,” she says. “But we also want plants that are easy for people who might have a ‘brown thumb’. We want to hook them up with a plant that’s going to give them some confidence. There’s a lot of people who struggle.”
Some of the plants stocked will include Swiss cheese, peperomias, hoyas, chain of hearts and devil’s ivy. Garden wares from suppliers including Angus and Celeste, Milk and Sugar and Grumpy Unicorn will also be sold.
Cioccolato employee and self-confessed “plant nerd” Tayla Van has been instrumental in getting Botanical Lane up and running and brings a love of plants to the new store.
“I have about 56 house plants,” she says. “They just impact your life for the better.”
Cioccolato Espresso customers will still be able to make use of the laneway and enjoy the extra greenery.
“We’re going to allow people to sit within the plants,” says Corr. “I think they will be the seats that people want, they have a really tropical feel about them. We’re very proud of the food here, and it will be nice to sit in our urban jungle, have a meal and enjoy a coffee.”
Botanical Lane at Cioccolato Espresso
31 Ardross Street, Applecross
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on June 16, 2018. Some items may have changed since publication.