“You’re in the middle of your own coffee journey, mate.”
When you overhear a line like that in a cafe, you know you’re in a place that’s serious about their coffee.
This is clearly evident in everything about Elixir – for one thing, their name alone wears that “coffee connoisseur” badge loud and proud, and they definitely have the skills to back that up . Owners Justin Kenny and Jonny Nease have years of experience in the business (Grind, Velvet Espresso) and based on the conversation Justin was having with one of his regular customers, they are clearly passionate about inspiring the same sense of fervor in their patrons.
I’ve been hearing great things about Elixir from my coffee-obsessed friend T for many many months now, but rarely have the time to venture into the leafy Western suburbs. Since I had to be in Claremont that arvo, I met up with T for a quick catch up lunch at his beloved spot.
There was a steady stream of customers when we visited at lunch hour on Friday – a mix of young moms with their kids, businessmen dining alone, and students from UWA nearby. The cafe is quite tiny, but you can opt to sit either in the busier front room (and watch the baristas do their thing), or in the back room, which had a much more peaceful and almost exclusive feel to it.
Elixir’s fitout is rather modern and sparse, with whitewashed walls, contrasting black furniture, and large monochrome photos. I wouldn’t go so far to say that it felt alienating, but it was certainly different from the more homely, nana-style cafes that I tend to gravitate to. It definitely added to that sense of cachet and exclusivity that the cafe seems to have. I did enjoy sitting in that back room though, which felt very much like a library, with people quietly streaming in and out to grab a magazine or paper from their bookshelf, and suits clicking away at their shiny laptops.
Given that coffee is their mainstay attraction, their menu sticks to the typical cafe fare of toasted sandwiches, quick breakfasts, and small sweets at the side. I had the Clear Chicken & Sweet Corn soup with sourdough on the side ($11), which was light and tasty, but not particularly inspired. Same goes for T’s Banana bread.
The Skinny Latte I had, however, was superb. I hesitate at writing about coffees as it’s still something I’m discovering, but this one was obviously in a class of its own – one of those cups that are distinguishable from all the other coffees you have elsewhere. The house blend that day tasted like blueberry chocolate – yum! – and the milk texturing was smooth as silk. If I could handle my caffeine better, I’d have given their other coffee options a try, but I didn’t want to spend another night awake in bed till 3am. Bonus points for their gorgeous blue cups.
Excellent coffee from a team that clearly know and love what they’re doing, but Elixir can come across as somewhat aloof and intimidating, especially to non-regulars. The staff are efficient and professional, but a little too reserved and unanimated, while the chic ambience can make you feel like you can’t get too rowdy or comfortable there. Quite like a reserved buttoned-up businessman, rather than a guy you can bring home for a dinner with the family.
Food/Drinks – 6.5/10, Service/Ambience – 6/10
145 Stirling Highway, Nedlands.
Open for Breakfast and Lunch Mondays to Saturdays.