It never hurts to ask!
It's a little cafe on Goulburn Street in West Hobart that I first found in April last year, and since then, it's been a bit of a ritual that I go there... pretty much everyday. I make a slight detour to work most mornings to grab a tasty breakfast and much needed coffee. It makes getting out of bed just that little bit easier.
There's so much I love about the cafe. It's small and cosy just like its name and has a great vibe. A little blackboard is hung on the wall with the day's offerings. There's a breakfast menu of eggs and toasts of wood fired sourdoughs (also baked by Jay at a woodfire oven in Moonah.) Toast with raw honey or real jam is my favourite way to start the day.
Unlike most cafes, you can see right into the doorless kitchen and anyone could step in for a chat. The kitchen is about the size of a shoe box, halved, and cooking is done on a single stove, two ovens and a sandwich press. There's barely space for storage, which is a good thing, as everything must be made fresh. Working in a small kitchen is fun -- there's always stuff happening!
While the kitchen has no door, the entrance is framed by old door frames from the premises' former life as a butchery. There's many marks on this frame with names and heights of children who regularly vist the cafe, going back to 2009. It's the sort of place you'll keep coming back to year after year. My name was scribbled on the door too, see the picture below. Jay is not exactly... tall, but surely, I can't be that short!
It's a great place to work. Jay is so energetic, and always keen to teach. He's extraordinarily patient for a man who doesn't get much sleep. Even though the kitchen is busy, there's always time to explain how something is done and answer my questions. I've picked up so much by being there, from making aioli, to roasting mushrooms. Working somewhere that cares a great deal about food is wonderfully inspiring. I also got to taste some great food in the kitchen, like the woodfire roasted beef with onion emulsion, duck & chicken liver parfait, and truffle pasta. They certainly treat their staff well!
I got to do service on my second last day, for a little while. It was heaps of fun to see how the other side of the kitchen worked. There's a certain amount of satisfaction as I stable a docket on the spike. It's rather addictive... Oh, and I visited the bakery on a Friday night, and saw loaves and loaves of freshly baked bread pulled from the wood fire oven, but that's for another post!
Thank you again, Jay and Emma, for letting me into your kitchen, and get a glimpse into life in a cafe. I have enjoyed every minute of it :)