Slowpoke Café: Eco-friendly Innovation meets sustainable Food
By Uma Mahesh

Visitors to Melbourne are raving about the espresso café on Fitzroy Street with stellar ratings for food, décor, hospitality and more.

The consensus, it would seem, based on several reviews by visitors from across the world is that the food comes first followed by the café’s unique ambiance.

A lovely fireplace set against a white wall provides a cozy and comforting vibe that calms the senses and prepares one for the tasty treats that await. The same warmth is evident in the exemplary service of the attending staff when they serve their appetizing food with a cheery smile. Yes, the café serves food too! Its soups, salads and perfectly baked bread are definite repeat orders for a second visit.  With coffee and crumpets to finish, breakfast, brunch and tea seem to be the most popular meals among The Slowpoke’s vast fan following.

The creative child of Melbourne based French designer Sasufi, whose real name is Anne-Sophie Poirier, The Slowpoke Café is a case study in recycled timber.

Designing on a shoestring

The designer has stretched the limits of creativity and delivered the most delightful of décors on the most thrifty of budgets. After all, necessity, as we know, is the mother of invention and innovation.

Imagine this. The table tops that are now scrubbed clean and gleam invitingly were once someone’s floor boards. Recycling for functional use is more commonly known as upcycling, and this is exactly what The Slowpoke Café is doing. What stands out – and is also the piece de resistance of the entire ensemble, as it were – is the 12 m long timber wall; it is a signature feature created using random, recycled timber offcuts salvaged from local carpenters and furniture makers. The effect it has is astounding.

Earthy, strong and comforting, it lends a majestic feel to the tiny, well managed space.  The white wall offsets the feature wall, and the open fire and fireplace, tastefully placed flowers and bric-a-brac, along with clever lighting together create the illusion of a warm, open space. The ingenuity of the designer has created this showpiece on a tight budget, recycling, upcycling and foraging in local flea markets for tiles, lamps, accents and artifacts that lend character to the space. Even the visiting cards are made using recycled cardboard.

Green, clean and local

Having established their credentials with their responsible ‘green’ décor, designer Sasufi and café owner Curtis Riddington take sustainability to the next level. The kitchen sticks to a simple but wholesome menu that has become the staple for many a visitor. Curtis believes in organic and locally sourced produce, and the limited menu is limitless in flavor and goodness. Authentic soups and stews, rolls and bakes have together cultivated a faithful following that includes both locals and visitors to the city.

The proof of the pudding is certainly in the eating. The fact that one can sit back, relax and enjoy the food and ambiance on offer perhaps justifies the café’s lazy sounding name, Slowpoke!

View more photos of Slowpoke Expresso

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