CAFE IDENTITIES: THE BEACH SIDE BAKERY/CAFE
You’re going camping. Not hard core, hike three days in and out mountain bring your own everything or you will surely die type camping, but a ‘pack the surfboards, bikes and an esky we’re heading to the beach’ type camping. And let’s just say you’re not going to be making your own coffee (though you should look into this. Sub parentheses (but also can be a wise move if you don’t feel like hand grinding for three hours as the groups’ appointed head barista)), but instead go to the local cafe after your surf every morning. Do you want to go to the slickest espresso bar pumping DJ Cafe Electro Beats with all the suits ordering the usual double ris mac while telling Simmo the meeting’s moved forward two hours so can he flick over the renewed future gains estimation report from last quarter? Heck no!
Conversely, do you want to go to that great new place that everyone’s been gramming about? It’s light, white and airy, big windows and possibly an ocean view. They have all day breakfasts with pumpernickel bread with dukkah crusted heirloom tomatoes, house made pickles, house made granola and chicken laid eggs. They possibly even have good coffee. As amazing as that would be for a Saturday brunch, it’s not what’s needed at this moment in time. To dine here would mean a change of clothes and a shower. This is not in the spirit of camping.
At this precise moment in time, you want the small town coastal bakery/cafe. It’s a very specific, but very important cafe in the spectrum of coffee shops. It serves a specific purpose, to fulfill our holiday mornings with simplicity, nostalgia, and custard tarts.
Think about it. You’ve had maybe your second swim/surf/splash and your hair’s still dripping, you’ve got two great big wet patches on your shirt or shorts or both, no matter how well you tried to dry yourself. You’ve got your towel around your waist and your calves are still sandy, and your bare feet are burning from walk-hopping across the carpark cos you’ve already lost one of your thongs, and you’ve just realised you are starving. The small town coastal bakery/cafe is everything you need – your Room of Requirement. You part the coloured plastic streamers, the motion sensor abruptly heralds your arrival. You step onto the wonderfully cool, 70’s brown herringbone tiles into the path of the oscillating stand fan, still dripping wet and your hair a salty abstract sculpture. It’s a beach camper’s sanctuary. Pick up your cappuccino (yes you ordered a flat white, that’s not the point) from Janet in the white sleeveless blouse and stern face, and your vanilla slice, apple pie and custard tart from Tayla (Janet’s friend’s daughter, sooo happy to be here), then head outside to tuck into your pastries and slowly melt into the plastic chairs.
By the time you peel yourself from the seat, you’re ready to hit the next beach over, maybe this time for a snorkel and a nap, before coming right back to the same place for your chicken salad wrap. Sure, you might have needed to add a couple of sugars to your coffee, but at this point in time, this is surely the best cafe ever.