Words By: Sophie Raynor
There’s a café near my house that has bunches of chairs roped together, hanging on thick patterned cord from its ceiling. I think it’s artistic; my housemate has a slightly different opinion. “Who likes that stuff?” he asked incredulously, after our trip for takeaways last weekend. I sheepishly raised my hand; he proceeded to lecture me about the trend for cafes to sacrifice coffee quality for slick aesthetics. I could see his point, but then, why couldn’t it have both? Are the two necessarily mutually exclusive?
It’s a good thing, then, that another café has just opened up, even closer to my house than the first one. As well as saving the rapidly fraying relationship between me and my housemate because it means we have a different coffee spot, it’s proving him wrong that an establishment that invests in its décor can’t make good coffee, too.
It’s The Cleaver Street Coffee Shop – a tidy little bookend out the front of our dowdy neighbourhood milk bar. It looks like a little donga built into the milk bar’s patio; just space enough for two staff members, a single cake on the counter, a coffee machine, and, of course, three trendy pendant lamps over the counter. I like it for its graphic branding, its friendly aproned hipster staffers, and the fact that they’re getting a vertical garden on the wall; my housemate likes it for the fact that they just make great coffee. I’d be embarrassed to admit that we’ve been three times since they opened on Monday, but for good-quality $3.60 coffees (plus a loyalty card stamp!) why wouldn’t you?
They also make juices, tea and have plans for soup (that creative menu comes from the fact that they can’t sell the same stuff as the milk bar). From experience so far, we’re predicting it’ll be tasty and good value, and look extremely adorable when you pop it on the gram.
Sure, there have been a couple of opening-week kinks, like temporarily weak coffee and erratic weekend trading hours, but remember – that other joint’s less than a hundred metres further down the road, and me and my housemate are in total agreement about where we’ll go, every time.
Check out The Cleaver Street Coffee Shop at 50 Cleaver Street in West Perth, and of course they’re on insta @cleaverstcoffee. You’ve got about a 90 per cent chance that I’ll be there when you stop by, so please say hi, and confirm for me what Cleaver Street’s proving – that a café can be quirky beautiful, and serve great joe, too.