“Dr Livingstone, I presume?” These were the first words uttered by journalist Henry Morton Stanley when he finally found Dr Livingstone in the African jungle in 1871. So what does this have to do with a cafe in Perth’s Cultural Centre?

“It was very bland with lots of concrete around the cafe,” says co-owner Justin Blackford who owns the cafe with his aunt Jenny Della-Vedova and business partner Vicki Martin. “So we added plants, which made me think of a jungle, which made me think of Dr Livingstone.”

Livingstone’s aesthetic is a result of the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority’s mission to reenergise the area. Potted trees and vines, green turf and furniture and vertical gardens made out of wooden pallets come together to create the urban-jungle feel.

A desire to create comfort food with a difference informs Blackford’s toasted-sandwich creations, the main draw at Livingstone’s.

While combinations such as the Mac Daddy (triple-cheese macaroni and cheese) and the Bada-bing (a winning combination of Italian meatballs, garlic, rosemary, tomato sauce and Emmental cheese) have their admirers, it’s the ever-reliable ham and cheese that is the favourite. At Livingstone’s, though, it’s called Slam ‘n’ Cheese and features smoked ham, béchamel sauce, seeded mustard and gruyere cheese.

Look to the specials board for the more inventive creations. The Raging Bull (a sandwich with red-wine-braised beef short ribs with balsamic caramelised onions and cauliflower cheese) makes frequent cameos. Soon, Top Dup Donut brioche shells will also feature.

Many of the other items, including the nostaglia-inducing honey joys, are made according to recipes from Della-Vedova as well as Blackford’s mum. “I always wanted to do something different,” says Blackford. “So many places have a chicken-Caesar wrap and blueberry muffin. These days, people can tell if something is genuine and comes from love rather than just being produced.”

Crema Coffee Roasters supply the beans. Combined with Blackford’s barista experience, customers can count on a reliable cuppa.

Livingstone’s Urban Jungle
Pod 2, Perth Cultural Centre (opposite Art Gallery WA)
0478 527 855

Mon-Fri 6.30am–4pm
Sat 9am–4pm
Sun 10am–4pm