Darren Ho started his cooking career young. After getting his start in the kitchens of his family’s Chinese restaurants, he cooked around town and worked his way to head chef at North Perth cocktail bar The Classroom. He then moved into coffee roasting. After launching Artem Coffee as a pop-up cart, Ho and partner Tracey Koh moved Artem into a permanent home in Mount Pleasant in 2019.
The house beans are from Asprounion – a Colombian-based cooperative of direct-trade farmers and coffee producers, established by Mauricio Velasquez of Fremantle’s Micro Lote Coffee – and roasted at Lathlain cafe and roastery Laika to Ho’s own recipe. Single origins from different roasters are rotated each week on batch.
Ho is also well-known around the Perth cafe scene for his smoked meats, and his dedication to the craft is very much part of Artem’s offering. The best example is his Reuben sandwich, which is served on weekends only.
Food is made in-house wherever possible. Chilli scrambled eggs are made with a house chilli sauce that’s fermented for three weeks. The ham served in the croissants is also made in-house by brining pork forequarter in aromatics, then dry-rubbing and smoking the meat. The pillowy doughnuts are good enough to compete for the title of Best in Perth and are made each morning at 4:30am.