It’s hard enough to find consistently decent coffee around the city these days, let alone deep in suburbia – or in popular destinations such as Mandurah – so I was surprised to hear about the opening of The Roastery in Southern River (near the Brooklands Tavern, if you’re familiar with the area). I was encouraged to find that it is the physical presence of Essence of Coffee, a local artisan roaster that offers a variety of coffee blends.
My parents live about two minutes away from The Roastery, so I decided to take my mother there for breakfast this morning. Arriving just after 7:30am, the first thing we noticed was the seven rather chirpy staff! But what really stands out is the feeling that this is the realisation of someone’s dream and vision. The passion for coffee is evident – even on the floor – and the fit-out is spacious, simple and comfortable.
As you would expect, the coffee menu is extensive, including a “tasting menu” ($8), where you can either try one blend of coffee served three different ways, or three different coffees served the same way. There’s also a selection of teas and cold coffee options, including the interesting-sounding “cold drip” ($5), served over ice with sparkling water or cold milk. Not feeling quite that experimental so early in the morning I ordered a cappuccino, and my mother a flat white ($3.80 each). The coffees arrived quickly, accompanied by two complimentary pieces of quite thick but tasty biscotti.
My cappuccino certainly looked the part, and was just a tad watery under the nice layer of foam. But hallelujah! – it wasn’t bitter (burnt), which is my pet hate and so often the stumbling block with “good” coffee. My mother enjoyed her flat white, which again was a little watery but nice nonetheless. I suspect things will get better – The Roastery has only been open for a week, so I may be being a bit harsh.
I ordered the “Rustic Breakfast” ($15), with bacon, eggs (poached today), hash brown, mushroom and toast (choice of white or multigrain), and my mother chose the fruit toast ($4.50). Other breakfast items include waffles ($12 – and I saw the waffle iron, so expect these to be fresh), granola ($8) and eggs florentine ($12). Lunch is served from 11am (including a rather tasty sounding steak sandwich), and you can see the food and drink menus here.
The plate might look a little spartan, but this was a breakfast I didn’t want to mess with (not even with baked beans). The quantities were spot on, and everything was of high quality and very well cooked. At $15, this represents excellent value and I’d be happy to eat this breakfast any day of the week. My mother enjoyed her fruit toast, and we took home a warm ham & cheese croissant ($7) for my father, which also went down well.
My only real concern is that it’s been built in the wrong suburb – yes, Canning Vale and its surrounds is a growing area, but surely this concept would be much better suited to Claremont, Leederville or Subiaco? Whilst they will no doubt educate some customers away from the horrible Dome directly opposite, I wonder how many locals are going to pop in and try the tasting menu. It’s also situated in a spot that isn’t particularly easy to access, and once you’ve driven past it turning around isn’t easy. Having so many staff means having to sell a lot of coffee to pay the wages, and as a customer it was a bit unnerving being so outnumbered.
There’s great potential at The Roastery, and I wish them luck – I just hope that it isn’t let down by its location. I for one will be back for breakfast, and will be sure to drop in for a coffee whenever I visit my parents.
Shop 2, 1 Holmes St (cnr Warton Rd)
Southern River WA 6110
Open 7 days a week, 7am – 5pm