Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Boucla

Boucla Kafenion 
349 Rokeby Road, Subiaco 6008
(08) 9381 2841

For months, I've been driving straight past Boucla, usually at about 90kmph because I'm late to work with no time to stop for caffeine. It doesn't help that it's situated in a bit of a funny location, in amongst some commercial buildings, away from the lively section of Rokeby Road. The first time I sped past the discreet shopfront and saw the darkened windows flash past, I said to myself that I'd check it out, but never got round to it until a couple of weeks ago. Now that I've been, my only regret is that I didn't get off my ass and go sooner. I love this place. 


Figure 1: Perfect place for coffee encounters

Kafenions are traditional little Greek cafés, usually found in the village square, that serve several functions. Not only can you get your morning coffee at a kafenion, but also mezze (small dishes such as olives or feta cheese), ouzo (a Greek anise-flavoured aperitif), brandy, beer, soft drinks, gas cylinders (as you do) and even the mail. Apparently, on one of the Greek Islands called Corfu, the postman delivers all of the village's mail to the kafenion for the locals to pick up. Traditionally, it's mostly men that go to kafenions, to talk, discuss and argue, as Greeks do best. It's something I definitely want to see when I go backpacking in Greece next year. 


Figure 2: Assortment of European-themed cards - I bought two for my travel mural

The inside of Boucla is a wonder. I got there about 20 minutes earlier than Dav, and spent the entire time just letting my eyes slowly wander around the room, taking in all of the details (the staff probably thought I was a bit special or something). There were old, dusty oil lamps and mismatched vases everywhere, curious black and white photos that tell stories, darkly-coloured wrapping paper hanging from the counter blended with shades of gold, and peculiar little red glass lanterns hanging everywhere. What I love about the interior design is that nothing actually matches, yet everything still looks so beautiful and seamless, like every ornament, every candle has a place where it belongs. 


Figure 3: Cute, cosy, quiet 


Figure 4: Chickpea salad and vege tarts 


Figure 5: Kotopita, a Greek chicken pie


Figure 6: "I command you to eat me!" 

Just before the midday rush, freshly cooked fritatas, quiches, tarts, and little baked pastries still in their baking trays materialise out of nowhere, and they disappear just as quickly - this place is obviously a very popular lunch spot which pulls a lot of regulars. There are also some wraps and amazing looking salads on offer (on this day there was a a couscous salad, traditional Greek and a spiced chickpea one too). 

I took one look at the fritata that had just been taken out of the oven and laid on the counter, and ordered it dine-in ($12). I don't even like fritatas, I always find them to be a mushy, overly-eggy and generally unpleasant experience. But this one was nice and light, packed full of lightly cooked vegetables and just tasted like a good, home-cooked meal. 


Figure 7: Potato fritata with salad and balsamic vinegar


Figure 8: Life is full of difficult choices 

The sweets on display at Boucla are a thing of beauty. They're displayed in the open, at room temperature, instead of trapped behind a pane of glass. And something about them being within arm's reach, sitting right under your nose while you're lining up to order makes them seem so much more irresistible. There are huge cakes topped with berries that glisten with glaze and icing sugar, an assortment of nutty slices, and a couple of unusual looking ones which I didn't recognise. It's delightful to come across a café that offers something other than boring-looking lemon cheesecake and blueberry muffins. 


Figure 9: Dying to try the little custard tarts! 


Figure 10: What do you mean, diet?


Figure 11: White chocolate cake 

Dav ordered a slice of the white chocolate cake (although I'm fairly sure I ate most of it), which was a moist, fluffy vanilla sponge under a thick layer of pure white chocolate. It was a bit of a challenge to eat, but a delicious combination of flavours, and went well with my soy latte, which was perfectly steamed, may I add. We had a discussion and came to the conclusion that male, indie-looking baristas always make the best coffee. The more tattoos, the better.


Figure 12: Hot soy latte on a winter's day


Figure 13: The Boucla cubby-house

I love Boucla's little alleyway, separate from the main dining room. A sanctuary filled with beaded cushions, gorgeous coffee tables and little lanterns hanging from the ceiling. It's the kind of place where I could sit for hours on a Sunday afternoon, reading a book under the dappled sunlight. It's one of the two reasons why I'll be coming back to Boucla. The other reason is French, exceptionally cute and provides excellent customer service. 


Figure 14: A world away

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