It’s not every day that we get to relive parts of our childhood, but that’s exactly what you get to do at the Left Bower café in Sutherland. As soon as you walk through their doors, you are immediately transported back to the 70s. The menu at Left Bower has recently been revised too, so there is even more to get excited about.
- Remnants of the retro revolution.
The café is styled like a retro holiday caravan, down to the entrance which is a rolling door. Outside, there are plenty of aluminium and woven plastic picnic settings reminiscent of those summer holidays enjoyed as kids. Inside, along one side of the caravan café runs bench seats and little aluminium tables with a flecked laminate top. In cabinets above, sit all sorts of retro items including blankets, metallic picnic cups and vintage children’s books that really complete the retro caravan vibe.
- Does anything look familiar?
The charming retro theme is continued in the menu. Although it is a relatively small menu, it is still quite popular with locals for breakfast and lunch. I have not been to the Left Bower for breakfast, though I have it on good authority that they make a very delicious ‘big breakfast’ and eggs Benedict. When I went there for morning tea, I had very fluffy scones with jam and cream. In fact, I would go back to the café for those scones any time. Left Bower also offers lots of retro cakes and biscuits with a modern twist like a Madeira cake with vanilla icing and fresh passionfruit.
- Scones straight from the kitsch kitchen.
One of the reasons why I wanted to try Left Bower for myself was that I had heard great things about the coffee there. While they don't make decaf coffee, they do allow the customer to choose the strength of the coffee, from mild to wildly strong.
- Coffee from meek and mild to strong and wild.
Left Bower also sells loaves of sourdough, which are incredibly tasty for a Sunday breakfast at home. I have tried a sweet potato and plain sourdough loaf, and although the sweet potato loaf sounds odd it provides an almost cheesy taste to the crunchy crust when toasted.
- That's some sweet sourdough.
I was surprised to find that all the eggs used in the Left Bower café, are produced by an 11 year old farmer. The local boy, Calvin, has his own chicken farm and seems to sell his eggs to different local businesses. Information about his enterprise and Calvin himself is given at the bottom of the café’s menu.
The main drawback of this café is that the food is also made in front of customers, which could be off putting for some. Many of the cakes from the previous menu contained almond meal or other nuts, so if you have allergies you'd be quite limited in what you could eat. I hope they also create a website or add more information to their current Facebook page, because it doesn't contain much information, such as open and closing times. It also fails to mention that they don't serve breakfast on a Monday.
Whether you go there for the scones, the coffee, Calvin’s eggs or to revisit summer holidays from your youth, Left Bower is a charming little place. Make sure you get in early though, because it is a novelty in the Sutherland area at the moment and the café closes around mid- afternoon.
Where: 3/45 East Parade, Sutherland
Cost: From $3.
When:Monday - Saturday from 7am- 4pm and Sunday from 7am-1pm.
Good for kids:Yes.