After a tumultuous 2018, it’s good to see Perth’s coffee and cafe scene settle down. We’ve still had plenty of openings – and the inevitable closures – but this year it’s been a safer bet that your favourite barista will still be making your usual coffee tomorrow and the next day. While the coffee we’re roasting is easily as good as Melbourne’s and Sydney’s, my Christmas wish is that, come 2020, cafes and customers both get a little more creative in their cooking and ordering. Here are the new additions go that extra mile.
Artem Coffee, Mount Pleasant
Best opening of the year goes to Artem, which wowed not only with its coffee but also its in-house smoked meats and class-leading doughnuts. Punching well above its weight for a small cafe next to a Woolworths, its Reuben sandwich quickly established itself as one of Perth’s most in-demand bites. Get in early.
Lupolab, Mount Hawthorn
As much Italian restaurant as cafe, Lupolab deserves a place on this list owing to its in-house roasted direct-trade coffee and outstanding Roman-style breakfast (think beans and creamy polenta) and lunch (fresh pasta with beef ragu or guanciale and pecorino). The high-end fit-out shows great attention to detail and the glass-walled kitchen puts it all on show.
Blacklist Coffee Roasters, Subiaco
The third incarnation of Blacklist at its Subiaco location is best described as a cellar door for coffee. There’s a strong focus on filter, with a $7 all you can drink “tasting bar” and rare single-origins served in wine glasses. Its retail offering of coffee and equipment will help solve the Christmas gift dilemma for the barista in your life.
Micro Lote Coffee, Fremantle
Mauricio Velasquez built Fremantle’s Micro Lote to showcase the coffee of Asprounion, a cooperative of farmers and coffee producers from southern Colombia. Local roasters featured include Leftfield, Pound, Antz Inya Pantz, Co Lab and Precision. The small but well-considered food menu champions local producers such as Poach Pear and Bread in Common.
Arlo, Perth CBD
The fifth venue in the Mo Espresso dynasty, cafe-restaurant hybrid Arlo brought with it a stark fit-out and champion barista Ziggy Varamulia. The menu makes clever use of native ingredients and the latest tech brings out the best from its custom Five Senses blend and rotating single origins. A liquor license, kitchen expansion and dinner service are expected by the new year.
Pixel Coffee Brewers, Claremont
Pixel’s new Claremont cafe impressed with a striking fit-out, see-through coffee machine and Darkstar coffee. The new cafe remained true to the original’s ethos of being vegan-, vegetarian- and gluten-free friendly while also expanding the menu with plenty of bowls, eggs, and brioche French toast. It no longer does a dinner service, but the breakfast and lunch offering continue to be top notch.
May Street Larder, Mount Hawthorn
The second incarnation of the Freo institution finally brought the famous chicken-and-waffle “soul sandwich” and other examples of Scott Bridger’s cooking north of the river. Almost twice the capacity of the original, the new cafe features an impressive family area separate from the main dining room. Sharing-plate style dinner is offered on weekends.
The Deli on Clifton & Central, Mount Lawley
It’s only just opened its doors, but it’s a safe bet that the successful Willing Coffee formula will be repeated in The Deli on Clifton & Central. Expect to find quality coffee from local and international roasters, in-house baked croissants and cakes, and a future as a night-time wine bar.