Situated as it is amidst Carlton North’s chimney-lined rooftops, overlooking one of the City’s busiest bike paths, it’s not hard to appreciate why Café Bü has become such an instant hit with locals and passing cyclists alike.
One of the countless endearing aspects of this hole-in-the-wall, former milk bar café is the simple fact that it has breathed life back into an abandoned cornerstone for the community. The original intention for mother-and-son team, Amanda and Nick Busst, was to create a residence. It soon became apparent, however, that the idea of a charming little café was an opportunity too good to pass up! There was no shortage of clever and shrewd thinking in developing this cosy building into a space that is at ease with being many things at once.
Nick, who juggles his time between serving the city as both a dedicated barista and an all-action fire fighter, has enjoyed many years in the hospitality industry and had been on the prowl for a prime location for a café for some time. Once 585A Canning Street became available, Nick and Amanda knew they had found their location!
An oversized window caters to both casual passers-by and a loyal weekday following that grows day by day, with wooden benches providing a resting spot for those who wish to take the opportunity to have a bit of a breather. If you have a bit more time on your hands – and I urge you to find some – venturing inside will be rewarded with a charmingly sleek fit out. Ash tables and chairs provide a warm yet spacious feel, while various fixtures and fittings provide clues to the building’s past.
Take a wander out the back and up the plant-lined wooden stairs to find the real jewel in the crown. A serene roof terrace provides the perfect setting to catch up with friends, read the dailies or simply gaze at the swarms of passing cyclists. A choice of folding, hand crafted wooden tables or a bench top bar area provide perching options while a black and white stripped canopy will protect you from Melbourne’s ever rotating elements!
And on the topic of rotating, another undoubted draw to this little gem is the exceptional and ever evolving coffee programme by way of Five Senses. A tidy 2 group Synesso Sabre serves out the rich and complex Dark Horse in addition to a revolving single. At the time of writing, Bü’s customers were enjoying the juicy Tiga Raja Silimakuta from Five Senses’ very own mill in Sumatra. We’ve been excited about this harvest for some time now and it’s testament to the many months of planning and hard work from our green bean buyers (you know who you are!) that Café Bü’s customers have the opportunity to enjoy this complex and dynamic coffee. The filter option, coming to you via Clever Coffee Dripper or V60, also comes as part of a rotation programme. Currently Nick is serving out the bright and citrusy Yirgzero which is my personal favourite of the current range of singles on offer at Five Senses. Bü offers a range of open toasties, croissants and granola which change on a regular basis. The local Dench Bakers provide the sourdough and pastries, while little Bertha’s Born to Bake supplies the all-important sweets!
My visit to Café Bü occurred on a tantalisingly fresh Spring Saturday afternoon while the area was teeming with the kind of eclectic mix of people that makes this city such a fascinating place to inhabit; a lone sketch artist was to be seen in the midst of friends and family catching up over a coffee, a taxi driver rested on his bonnet clutching his coveted caffeine hit, while a family grabbed a well-earned breather after a morning’s outing in Edinburgh Gardens.
As we emerge from winter hibernation, these spring and summer months will provide the perfect opportunity to make acquaintance of Nick and his team. If you’re struggling to locate Café Bü, just look for the gathering of satisfied coffee drinkers on the corner of Pigdon and Canning.
585A Canning St,
Carlton North, Victoria, 3054
Monday — Friday 7:00am — 4:00pm
Saturday & Sunday 8:00am — 4:00pm
© Photos provided with permission by Emily Bartlett. All rights reserved by photographer