The latest in the line of sexy new cafes run by people who know their stuff has hit the CBD. Velvet Espresso on King St is now open for business and pouring a fine brew indeed. I dropped by for lunch with Ben (W.A Barista Academy honcho and pin up boy for the Perth coffee scene) this week to check out the place and see how it all stacked up.
Justin Kenny, owner and barista of Velvet has a good track record in the Perth cafe scene. He owned Fix Espresso back in the days when it was actually making good coffee, and gained a reputation as a man who knows his stuff, quiety going about his work and impressing with the results.
Velvet Espresso is an excellent addition to the King St set. It’s relaxed but stylish, with lush dark wood tones on the tables and a Florence Broadhurst print on the walls. It looks the part, but what is more important… it tastes the part.
The King St area is currently dominated by cafes that earnt their reputations a long time ago (King St Cafe), and who now have fallen away into what I term espresso mediocrity (Cino to Go, Etro). They might look fancy, but the quality in the cup is a long way from ideal. Velvet changes all that.
Justin is using a great locally roasted ‘5 Senses’ blend. It’s full bodied and robust, with a bit of edge to it, and a slightly spicey aftertaste. It’s what I’d call a great drinking coffee, and it works well in a short cup as well as in milk. The shots are pulled quite short to get the best elements of the flavour, without the lingering bitterness that so often destroys a shot of espresso. What’s more important though, is that it’s all a work in progress for Justin. He’s still refining his blend to get the exact flavour and style of espresso that he wants. A concept that I’m sure is completely alien to the majority of cafe owners in this city, who are happy with whatever Vittoria or Segafredo or “Insert Generic Italian Sounding Crap Coffee Brand Here” gives them.
They’re also serving some very tasty sandwiches and rolls, and Justin’s mum’s friands (that she bakes fresh each morning) are bordering on levels of tastiness to rival some of *my* mum’s baking (well, close anyway :) ).
If you work in the CBD, go and check out Velvet Espresso. It won’t disappoint.
5/172 St George’s Tce (Enter on King St)