Ad­vance Aus­tralian Fare

The smashed avo is re­defin­ing break­fast around the world

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Stand up and be proud, Aus­tralia. Paris has its bistros, Lon­don its pubs and New York its steak­houses. But we have our cafés and the gospel of smashed av­o­cado and the flat white (or as The New York Times de­scribes it, “an Aus­tralian espresso-and-steamed-milk drink that is nei­ther a cap­puc­cino nor a latte”) is con­vert­ing din­ers across the globe. That’s right, a band of Aus­tralian en­trepreneurs is show­ing the rest of the world how break­fast should be done.

Look no fur­ther than the Blue­stone Lane group (blue­stonelane. com), headed by for­mer Aus­tralian banker Nick Stone, which has opened 30 out­lets in five short years, ce­ment­ing it­self as a se­ri­ous bi-coastal United States propo­si­tion. Or Port­land, Ore­gon, where Nolan Hirte has opened a sib­ling to Mel­bourne’s ac­claimed Proud Mary (proud­marycof­ Or Ber­lin, where Fa­ther Car­pen­ter (fa­ther­car­pen­ slings poached eggs with av­o­cado and third­wave cof­fee with the elan of a tat­tooed barista in Syd­ney’s Surry Hills. Yes, it’s safe to as­sert that from New York to Sin­ga­pore and all ports in-be­tween, the as­cent of the Aus­tralian-style café has been our gift to the world.

So where did the rev­o­lu­tion be­gin? Most fingers point to Bill Granger, who in 1993 un­veiled his epony­mous café in Syd­ney’s Dar­linghurst, which has since grown into an em­pire span­ning four con­ti­nents. You could call him the Es­coffier of brunch, the man whose fluffy ri­cotta hot cakes rev­o­lu­tionised the culi­nary grey zone pre­ced­ing lunch.

“The New York Times and Wash­ing­ton Post have cred­ited me as the in­ven­tor of av­o­cado toast and I’m happy to take it even though it’s not strictly true,” says the af­fa­ble Granger. “I think what re­ally hap­pened is that Aus­tralian cafés back then tended to be very Ital­ian in fo­cus, very bready and heavy, and what we did was in­tro­duce an Aus­tralian flavour that’s healthy and vi­brant and warm.”

The bot­tom line of the new-wave of Aus­tralian cafés is that they’re not sim­ply ex­port­ing smashed av­o­cado and ri­cotta hot cakes; they’re ex­port­ing café cul­ture. For Granger, that’s why his busi­nesses and oth­ers that fol­lowed in his foot­steps have en­joyed suc­cess with an in­ter­na­tional clien­tele. They pro­vide an es­cape from the ev­ery­day through well-de­signed spa­ces, ex­cel­lent cof­fee, at­trac­tively plated dishes and cus­tomer ser­vice that’s laid-back while also be­ing at­ten­tive and friendly.

“Peo­ple don’t go to church so much any­more but the idea of the café as a friendly neigh­bour­hood meet­ing place – that’s what’s re­ally taken off,” says Granger. “And the cof­fee’s much bet­ter, too.”

Here’s our pick of the best Aus­tralian cafés in seven cities around the world.

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