If you’re craving a little sweet treat and a proper cup of joe, Mia Lacy has done the hard yards and investigated where to find the best cuppa and cake in the Margaret River region.
I’m a firm believer that your mind eats before your mouth. If it reads yummy, chances are I’ll order it. After conducting considerable field research around the Margaret River region for this story, I’ve added a codicil: “If it looks good….”
The standard of presentation was at the high end of the bar throughout, with some cafes nudging ahead into the superlative space. In no particular order, these were the ones which elicited the most ‘oohs and aahs’. Invariably, the coffee order arrived smartly and while the taste varied with the types of beans and methods of preparation, it was universally 4.5 stars and more.
High fives to the hard-working baristas of the Margaret River region.
CAFE BORANUP, CAVES ROAD
‘Decadent chocolate brownie served with icecream, ganache, berries and cream’. Seriously, how good would you expect this to look and taste? It’s the star dish that brings people in from miles around. Cradled in the gorgeous marri trees, Boranup Café serves up coffee to match: how about a double shot coffee with ice cream, Nutella hazelnut and a biscuit? Guests also have to choose between gluten free (GF) carrot and almond cake, the quirkily named Lumberjack cake and a generous raspberry sherbet coconut slice. Best tip here: indulge and then walk it off at what must be one of Western Australia’s best art galleries next door at the Boranup Gallery.
Regular coffee $4.80
BUNKERS BEACH CAFE
As well as the divine beachfront view, Bunkers Beach Café was full of very handsome men! Eventually, I did tear my eyes away and look at the menu. Specialties include an awesome range of muffins: there are different ones each day but the blueberry-dark–chocolate-pear and white chocolate-raspberry were tempting. So was the great-looking chocolate tart and the caramel slice, but I happily chose carrot cake which when it arrived looked simply awesome. Its icing was topped with coconut threads and tasted better than my tastebuds dared hope for. The café also presents the Rawlicious Delights range of all raw ingredients balled up into winning confections (think mint, coconut, chocolate poppy seed).
Regular coffee $4
AUGUSTA CAFE BAKERY
You can’t get closer to the source of a great treat then the bakery it’s made in, and the experienced operators at this café offer guests an $8 special on coffee and cake all day long. On one side of the premises there’s the café with terrific views of the Blackwood River, and on the other the actual bakery that has a separate entrance for retail and takeaway customers and was very busy the day we visited. The bakery makes its own famous biscotti, which were a generous deal at $7, and we took some to go before sitting down to a raspberry and white chocolate slice and a caramel almond tart. There was also vanilla slice, carrot cake, and a wicked mud cake – all super fresh and beautifully presented.
Regular coffee $4.50
YAHAVA KOFFEEWORKS, MARGARET RIVER
This is a witty, whimsical place as evidenced by the bumper sticker ‘My blood type is koffee’. When we visited, it was early and the drive-thru, which sensibly opens at 6.30am weekdays and 8am on weekends, was doing a roaring trade. The good looking muffins – cherry ripe, apple crumble – were going well and the offering included GF almond brownies and a generous carrot cake. There’s a selection of pastries (who doesn’t love snails) and the unique and very delicious cronut: a hybrid cross of a donut and a croissant that they will toast for you so the outside is caramelised and crispy – oh, oh, oh! Yahava KoffeeWorks is in a pleasant Margaret River precinct together the Vasse Virgin Margaret River store, Yoyos Retro Diner and Temper Temper Chocolate. They do regular coffee roastings (listen for the cow bell) and coffee tastings and, if you’re into tea, go for a Yahava Bitterboy: iced tea served over ice.
Regular coffee $4
THE GOOSE BEACH BAR + KITCHEN, BUSSELTON
It’s been around for yonks and is named in honour of ex-owner Rhys Passmore – his nickname at school was Goose. The menu at The Goose reflects the new owner’s eclectic palate, and diners are treated not only to a sumptuous collection of menu options but also to a proper waterfront location in Busso. Well known for properly grown up dishes like pork belly bathed in a stunning master stock broth and served with on-trend Korean condiment – kimichi – bean sprouts and jasmine rice, it’s also the perfect place to grab a coffee and a slice of something delicious, watching the sun go down on another amazing sunset.
SIDEKICK CAFE, MARGARET RIVER
We love Sidekick Cafe – especially because of its bagels. Packed full of delicious things like smoked salmon and rustic pickles, it also serves Dukes coffee. They bake all their wholesome treats in-house and thanks to the colourful decor, we can’t think of a better place to watch the world go by, whether we’ve got a sidekick in tow or not.
SENSATIONS CAFE, BUSSELTON
It felt like we’d saved the best for last when our order arrived at Sensations Cafe. Just a wee drive north of Busselton’s famous jetty in the canals overlooking the ocean is this gem of a café. Everything is made on the premises, and if time had permitted I probably would have tried it all. From GF mango pineapple cake and orange syrup cake to a massive Snickers chocolate layer cake (the most inventive cake I encountered) and chocolate nut brownies that looked ab fab, it was all I could do to choose the lemon meringue cake which came with cream served on the side. Like many of the region’s cafes, they cater for children nicely with a kids menu, colouring-in books and games. Seniors also are welcomed with a $13.50 menu specially for them with what looked like a really good array of choices.
Regular coffee $4.90