When I think about the word babooshka, it conjures up memories of sitting on the floor of my grandma’s house playing with those wooden dolls that fit inside each other, which is probably what most people associate with that word. I looked up the actual meaning of the word babooshka, and wikipedia informs me that is it means ‘grandma or elderly woman’ which is interesting given babooshka dolls are inherently tied to my grandmas house in my mind. But more recently babooskha is tied to a new memory, and that is a cute little cafe off William Street (in the same arcade as Superstar Waffles – tough competition!), and I have to say visiting here is a damn sight better than stacking and unstacking a bunch of wooden dolls.
Babooshka Bar is a fairly recent addition to Northbridge, and the first thing I noticed about it was that their coffee beans hail from Blacklist Coffee Roasters, a micro-roastery located within South Perth hotspot Sprolo. I was so impressed with the coffee when I last ventured over to Sprolo that I left with a kilo bag of beans, so when Babooshka opened I was keen to check out what they were doing with it on this side of the river. My first visit there didn’t disappoint, and on Thursday I wandered back with a friend to see if the hype has lasted.
When we got there at about 7.30, it was pretty quiet, with a few people waiting around for take away coffee but plenty of space to spread out and enjoy breakfast. The furnishing is really lovely here, and I love the outdoor tables that are undercover in the arcade – I feel like this will be a really popular choice in winter when the currently sun-drenched courtyards spotted around the city become no-go zones in the wet weather. There is also a lovely big table inside to spread out on if you have have a big posse. A petite bouquet of flowers adorns each table, along with salt and pepper shakers that pay homage to their name.
As with last time I was here, I ordered a flat white and I was extremely impressed with what was put in front of me. Smoother than a baby’s bum with just the right amount of foam for a flat white, this was a coffee that I could seriously get on board with. If I wasn’t trying to contain the amount of money I spend on coffee (and just spend in general really), I definitely would have ordered two. Or three maybe – who knows?
After all that excitement, the food that came out held up its end of the bargain. Jen had made a fantastic choice in ordering the coconut and lime pannacotta with granola, mango salsa and toasted coconut ($13). A delightfully fresh breakfast for a steamy summer morning, the pannacotta was wobbling about all over the place as any good pannacotta should, but held pretty firm on slicing through it with a spoon. There was a decent amount of fresh fruit sprinkled on top of the granola – I am a sucker for strawberries and have to admit I had a little bit of food envy looking at them. The mango salsa looked good but there wasn’t a whole lot of it, and Jen did comment that the one thing that could have improved the dish would have been a bit more yoghurt or a berry sauce to tie everything together. Nonetheless, a pretty stand-out dish.
I had umm-ed and ahh-ed over a few options, including the challah french toast with caramelised banana and macadamia crumble (and the option to add icecream!), which is one that I think I will have to go back for at lunch time, but eventually settled on the dukkah eggs with spicy toasted chickpeas, avocado, haloumi, spinach and mushrooms on toast ($19) – quite the mouthful!
It was a really yummy breakfast – the haloumi was particuarly squeaky which filled me with a lot of joy, and the dukkah, an ingredient which is admittedly pretty hard to mess up, holds a special place in my heart. The spinach was appropriately wilted without disappearing into oblivion, and I couldn’t fault the mushrooms. The bread suffered from the pitfall that lets down many a crusty loaf, in that the crust was almost impossible to cut through, but the inside was much more pleasant and it didn’t affect the dish too much.
And just for funsies, here is a picture of the muesli from last time at Babooshka – clearly not just a one time wonder, and I think they have improved a lot on the original by including different types of fruit and the mango salsa.
Babooshka, self described brunch specialist and lunch ninja, is definitely one to have on your radar if you find yourself on the north side of Perth train station anytime soon. The coffee is divine, and there are plenty of options for breakfast and lunch ranging from snack-size to full blown meals – so what are you waiting for?