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Thread: Making an impression - The Age

  1. #1
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Making an impression - The Age

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Making an impression
    By Leanne Tolra
    The Age - December 6, 2005

    Flavours of Lakhoums delightful decor extends to the lattes.

    Where: 175 Swan Street, Richmond, 9425 9805
    When: Tues-Wed 9.30am-4pm; Thurs-Fri 9am-4pm; Sat 8.30am-4pm; Sun 9.30am-4pm.
    How much: Latte $2.90
    Check out: The art in a glass.

    I WANT to sit at Flavours of Lakhoum for hours - every day.

    This cafe shimmers with personality. Its good-looking, efficient staff make a dynamic team.

    They are relaxed, charming and considerate, instantly making me feel like family. T

    he decor is flea market, Moroccan bazaar and arthouse and its fascinating. I dont know where to look first. Its eclectic but quite orderly.

    Filled with eye-catching items but not cluttered. From the charred-capsicum red ceiling, to the yin-and-yang-style paintings lining parallel walls, the international lantern collection suspended from the ceiling, baroque wallpaper and Turkish smoking pipes (variously called argile or hookah) on narrow overhead shelves, its endlessly mesmerising.

    But Im here for the coffee. Its been touted as the best in Richmond and apparently theres a treat in store when you order a latte.

    Despite forewarning, I still catch my breath as my coffee arrives with a womans soulful face etched into the crema.

    Her waxy, wavy, 70s-style hair frames a slender nose, fine, wide brows and delicately shaded eyes that look out intently.

    Finally, she is gone in the last sip of my excellent Coffex coffee, extracted without loss of the beans natural sugars and with respect for its earthy potency.

    Its milk is a finely woven canvas for the baristas art.

    Richmonds finest? Perhaps.

    Before I ordered, the waiter inquired had I been here before. When I admitted newness, he gave me a knowing smile. He genuinely enjoyed my delight when my drink arrived.

    So different from that too-familiar disdain that often accompanies a coffee.

    The staff here work with easy enjoyment; the banter is lively, the attitude relaxed.

    Daniel, the waiter, remained breezy and amiable. Bernadette worked efficiently behind the counter, loaded with salads, pastries, falafels and more.

    Her easy familiarity with customers made them all seem like regulars.

    Many obviously were - she prepared some peoples lunches as they walked in the door.

    Chris, the barista, was intent at his espresso machine. He tries to create at least one picture per table when things are busy.

    Chris Phillips and his partner Bernadette Farrugia began Flavours of Lakhoum in Swan Street six-and-a-half years ago.

    In a previous life, it was a delicatessen. Lakhoum means Turkish Delight.

    They liked the word and felt it reflected their Moroccan-inspired food and decor. All the food is made in-house, much of it by Farrugia.

    The decor was created from treasures the pair collected while travelling. Phillips is a self-taught barista.

    "I always wanted to make perfect coffee," he says.

    "When I got bored with just making great coffee, I started to see things in the milk - playing around with the end of a spoon."

    He says he lets his mind wander and creates what he "sees" in the milk.

    Often his creations, still done with the spoon, are womens faces - "the women love them" - but sometimes they are men, animals or cosmic dreams.

    "When I see a new customer, I always try to create a picture for them. I dont bypass the old customers but I make a special effort when I see someone new."

    Phillips says his simple designs take about 15-30 seconds but intricate ones may take up to a minute.

    "Sometimes, if I have time, I will do up to four faces in a cup, or even two faces - a mans and a womans," he says.

    "If you stir with a spoon the design is gone but if you dont want to spoil the face and you are careful you can drink through it."

    He dabbles in photography, taking shots of his best works, and is planning an exhibition at the cafe.

    Phillips draws his inspiration from the things around him - customers faces, pictures, his family and friends, even clouds.

    On another visit, he sketched a woman wearing a gossamer head dress. Her veil was pale and fine, her eyes large and serene.

    When I looked up, behind my coffee, next to the Turkish pipes but above Phillips and out of his direct vision, was a large statue of the Madonna.

    Divine talent? Undoubtedly.

  2. #2
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: Making an impression - The Age excellent Coffex coffee, extracted without loss of the beans natural sugars and with respect for its earthy potency.
    Which CoffeeSnob in Melbourne would like to take a coffee into Leanne so she has a better baseline for "excellent"?


    Nice art though and looks worth a visit.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Dec 2004

    Re: Making an impression - The Age

    Not sure about the quality, but the art sure is impressive. :)

    Java "Theres a ghost in my latte!" phile

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Re: Making an impression - The Age

    I think I see the Virgin Mary ::)

  5. #5
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Feb 2005

    Re: Making an impression - The Age

    Not sure if I want to drink it, or kiss it.


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