Auvers Café is a sleek, well-designed café tucked at the base of a residential tower in Rhodes.
Interior designer Matt Woods, who you might know from his work at Bloodwood, Devon Café and Allegra Dining, has brought his trademark functional minimalism to bear on the difficult space.
An eye-catching light – another of his trademarks – peeks out from both sides of a concrete pillar that is itself warmed up with vertical tiles.
Shelves of boutique pottery line the interior, with black metal pegboards holding a cleverly curated collection of well-priced art.
Owner Ron Chen has a keen eye for finely detailed work.
His focus upon the minutiae extends all the way down to tiny two-tone glazed ceramic vases filled with fragile magenta pom-pom blooms decorating our table.
The beverage list captures all the current trends, from golden lattes to organic Rabbit Hole teas, plus a few drinks you might not have seen elsewhere. The Matcha Mule ($12) cocktail stands out, though as I'm here for a weekday brunch, I settle upon the equally exciting Hojicha Latte ($3.80). Made using a premium Japanese green tea, this drink has a nutty roasted flavour and a reddish-brown tint.
It’s light on bitterness compared with other green teas, and a pleasure to sip against the signature Auvers’ Pancakes ($18).
Decorated with flowers, fruit, fluffy sponge and a quenelle of raspberry sorbet, the thick hotcakes are generously drenched in a viscous, oozing green matcha glaze. Red bean paste helps to maintain the structural integrity of this tasty stack, which surprised me with quite restrained sweetness. You will have to be a matcha-lover to enjoy this one, though.
The equally well-presented Egg Nest Corn Fritters ($20) is next-level vegetarian. Juicy sweet corn fritters form the base of the nest, layered with smashed avocado, garlic and herb mushrooms, caramelised pineapple and nori accentuated sour cream.
The nest itself is made of alfalfa sprouts, and supported inside it is a perfectly cooked onsen egg that with a little nudge from your knife will sauce the whole dish with dripping yellow yolk. The whole dish is balanced and flavoursome, suiting a summery, freshly squeezed Great Barrier Reef ($7) juice that combines watermelon, lemon, orange, pineapple and Granny Smith apple together in a glass flask.
For something slightly less substantial, the Auvers Po’ Boy ($18) sandwiches a crisp soft shell crab with iceberg lettuce, spring onions, fresh tomato and tasty kimchi mayo. inside a golden brioche bun.
While the nod to the birthplace of Vincent Van Gough in the name Auvers may be somewhat ambitious, this is certainly a creative little café with an artistic bent, who are unafraid of drawing upon a world palate of flavours and ideas.
42 Walker Street, Rhodes
Ph: (02) 8040 2403