Le Petit Cafe Coogee ** Has Permanently Closed!!

Categories:Food & culture
Judy

**  Dear readers this cafe has now permanently closed !!!


Hidden in a quiet and leafy thoroughfare off Arden Street Coogee, there is a tiny and tres adorable eaterie by the name of Le Petite Cafe.  You could drive past Dudley Street Coogee countless number of times like I had and not notice the cafe as the street itself is quite hilly and rests on the slightly sloping part of the strip.  This lovely cafe has been satisfying coffee cravings and serving up le petit dejeuner and wholesome lunches to local patrons for a few years and to anyone who notices it passing through Dudley Street by car or foot.  Originally opened and owned by Rafaele Yon (AKA Raf) of Cafe De France on Havelock Avenue a short distance away, the cafe changed hands a couple years ago and now the very charasmatic and friendly Con Michaels is at your service together with his French assistant and maitre-crepier (master of crepes) Yannick who together continue the French concept introduced by Raf with a little Aussie twist.

THE AMBIENCE

A moss green store front with a historic, European appeal and gold French tendril font Le Petit Cafe signage and a corrugated metal awning is humbly and warmly inviting.  You can’t help but smile at the crooked little mismatched wooden tables, bench seats and stools that rest on the pavement at the front of the cafe and delight in the sight of happy patrons enjoying their meals over bubbly conversation.  It’s a bright and sunny Sunday morning when we arrive and outside there is a young family enjoying their breakfast and a threesome of vibrant young French people speaking melodically in their native tongue waiting for their order to arrive while their furry, sleepy canine friends rest under the shady cool provided by the lovely trees that stand gracefully on the uneven curb.  Locals walk in and out with their dogs carrying their take away coffee and croissant carefully in one hand while holding on to the leash in the other and a few diners are sitting inside the cafe enjoying their eggs and delicious sides while reading the newspaper not bothered by the mechanical sounds of the coffee machine or the shuffling to and fro of feet.

The cafe, appropriately named Le Petit Cafe, is indeed tiny with a narrow little kitchen zone only a touch wider than the coffee machine that rests by the window on a bench and where Con and Yannick must maneuver themselves carefully so as not to stumble or spill fluids on one another.  The slightly larger dining area on the other side of the counter is roughly twenty small human feet from the doorway to the back wall and yes I have counted and I wear a size seven and a half shoe.  Sweet little bench tables stand beside floating plank-like seats attached alongside the main wall and adorable child-like wooden stools for additional seating rest under the tables.  There’s not much room for elaborate decorations, however, the clever use of two large mirrors provides charm and the illusion of more space while floating wooden storage shelves, a little menu chalk board, glass cake stands filled with cakes and pastries and small pieces of art inject warmth and character to the interior.

It is a bustlingly busy morning and Con is managing the coffee machine while assembling plates of food and Yannick is preparing delicious and aromatic crepes on his electric crepe griddle or Billig as they call it in France.  I observe the dynamic duos challenging performance from the corner of my eye as I attempt to take photos squeezing myself into a corner by the window seating nook in order to capture the character of the space to my best ability. What this tiny cafe lacks in floor space it certainly makes up for with ambience as it is a happy place with a pleasant and extremely amiable vibe and is suffused with the soothing and enticing aromas of pancake batter, melted chocolate and espresso that permeates the soul.

THE FOOD

The menu at Le Petit Cafe is short but sweet and oh a little savoury of course!  The cafe is open between 6am to 3pm daily and offers breakfast, brunch and lunch and anything in between.  To begin there’s Con’s big breakfast with eggs made your way and a delicious selection of sides such as Con’s amazing homemade pesto, avocado, grilled tomato, spinach, mushrooms and toast of your choice and for a few extra dollars you can enjoy bacon or smoked salmon to go with.   Then there are the few but very tasty and tempting savoury crepes on offer such as ham and cheese, double cheese, egg with ham and cheese, spinach and feta and salmon and ricotta.   If it’s something sweet you’re in the mood for why not try a fresh croissant with butter and jam or their sweet selection of crepes like lemon and sugar, nutella, banana or strawberry or a combination of all three.

The cafe offers irresistible bacon and egg rolls on brioche or Turkish bread or if you’re in the mood for something a little healthier you’ll be amazed by their simple and tasty sandwiches or toasties with wholesome toppings, muesli with yogurt and berries or an exotic Moroccon chicken salad.  There are creamy and delicious smoothies available in all our favourite flavours such as banana, chocolate, choc banana and weiss bar (mango and banana).  Something that caught my attention, being the sweet junkie that I am, are the lovely selection of  chocolatey, nutty, buttery and sugary items peeking out from their glass jars or stands like the funky fudge brownie, lemon or cherry ripe slices, plush muffins and almond or chocolate croissants not to forget something for the diet conscious like vegan organic treats such a the choca goji rocks my world or mint and coconut chocolate truffles.  Con whips up a fantastic and truly superb coffee and makes a killer almond or soy milk latte that is a lactose intolerant coffee lovers dream.

On the day we popped in we tried the big breakfast, a double cheese crepe, chocolate crepe, lemon crepe and some amazingly made coffees and a hot chocolate.  The eggs and sides were fresh and perfectly made while the crepes were beautifully presented and tasted the way you’d expect – very French and tres magnifique!  As I glanced over to the table beside ours I had to curb my greed and urge to sample our neighbours order of glorious toast layered with colourful and tasty egg and veg and the brioche bursting at the seems with sublime egg and bacon.  Something tells me I’ll be returning here again very soon together with my very accommodating stomach.

THE SERVICE

Con aims to please and his passion for food and keeping customers happy is apparent by the popularity of his cafe with people constantly breezing in and out for a coffee to go or just a quick hello.  The service is charismatic, relaxed yet attentive and for a small cafe that is far removed from the busy main beach strip you can sit back and sip on Con’s perfect latte knowing that the attention is all yours when you need it.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Le Petit Cafe will have you dreaming of a quiet little Provincial town in France where the people and their well behaved dogs are pleasant and know vendors, restaurant proprietors and one another by name.  While sitting on a crooked little bench seat table outside under the shade of a corrugated metal awning and leafy tree you breath a sigh of delight as you sip on a coffee made with love and break into a flaky croissant served in a basket with a red and white chequered napkin and all the right condiments.  As you absorb the warm and friendly local vibe you can’t help but feel grateful for this cafe bringing the community together dishing up plates of crepes, smiles and sunshine to locals or to those wanting to escape the crowded Coogee beach restaurant strip. Good things really do come in small packages and Le Petit Cafe is definitely a little French cadeau to Coogee complete with a blue, white and red bow on top.  Dear readers are you entranced by Le Petit Cafe inspired by Provincial France?



Le Petit Cafe 

63A Dudley Street, Coogee    Ph: 0415 600 000

This Blog Post is dedicated to my dear maman on her birthday today, 1st May…

Bon anniversaire avec amour et beaucoup de bisous! xxx

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