212 Blu, Newtown’s cosy cafe and occasional late-night art-and-wine stop, has a baby sister. The King Street cafe, affectionately called Lil 212, is barely bigger than a shipping container.
For many operators that would just mean a counter, an espresso machine and maybe a few pastries. Lil 212 has all those plus somewhere to sit, a decent sized menu and a retail offering.
Most of the menu is similar to what you’ll find at 212 on Australia Street: granola with a dusting of evaporated milk powder, well-stuffed sambos, Five Senses espresso coffee, Penny Fours’s cakes, colourful sodas and smoothies.
The two notable additions are Ventham’s coffee brand, Loggerhead Coffee Co, used in tapped cold brews, and piadinas, north-eastern-Italian flat breads made with lard that are generally stuffed with meat and cheese. The Lil 212 versions come with jamon stracchino and rocket, another with buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and basil.
The cafe also sells jewellery from local brand Henson, and a rotating duo of purchasable wall art by emerging artists. It’s incredible how it all fits in a small space that still feels spacious and open. That’s thanks to a clever design and build; both side walls are fitted with a thin, chest-high bench and a few stools, leaving the white-tiled hallway and back area clear and open.