Business partners Lachlan Bisset and Craig Stewart had a clear neighbourhood-corner-store vision for the old Cottesloe restaurant they were renovating, they just didn’t know what to call it. When they stripped back the paintwork it revealed the building’s original name, circa 1945: North Street Store. Problem solved.
The pair first met working in the Fremantle Arts Centre kitchen and later teamed up to form Cowboy Catering. Two months in, and the locals are embracing their latest project.
“The reception has been huge, people seem to love it,” says Bisset. “One lady said that she had never met so many neighbours until we opened the shop. Often at lunchtime there’s a line out the door but the car parks are empty because people walk down.”
The fit-out couldn’t be much simpler, but suits the store’s atmosphere and function.
“It’s like a time warp but ideal for what we wanted,” says Bisset. “We set ourselves a task. If we were going to build this shop in the 1950s, how would we do it? We don’t have a till, there are no iPads. If we want to know how much bread we’ve sold, we count how much we bake and how much we chuck out.”
The store sells hundreds of loaves of Bisset’s sourdough every day. Apple pies, chocolate and caramel tarts, and cinnamon buns are among the other items baked in the store's double-capacity oven. Coffee is from Bibra Lake-based roaster Karvan.
The breakfast and lunch menu is simple but comforting. Exhibit A: porchetta in a fresh baked baguette ($14).
Dinner is served on weeknights, with a daily changing menu of Mediterranean-style dishes.
“I can’t be off my game because I have to put up three dinners every night. It puts pressure on but keeps things original and interesting,” says Stewart.
The evening meals are served to take away, but customers are welcome to dine in. (Bisset: “Bring a plate; bring a bowl; bring a bottle of wine. I’ll lend you a glass if you’re lucky.”)
Bisset starts baking at 2am while Stewart handles dinner service. The pair hasn’t had a day off since renovations began last November.
“I like it early in the morning. It’s beautiful in here because the bread’s alive,” says Bisset. “Bread is not cake, it’s ‘Mum can I have a sandwich, I’m hungry’. It’s an honour to be making not just food that people go to a cafe for, but a family’s primary sustenance.”
16 North Street, Cottesloe
Mon to Fri 8am–8pm
Sat & Sun 8am–5pm
This article was updated on August 11 2018. This article first appeared on Broadsheet on April 10 2018. Menu items may have changed since publication.