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  • Articles by Sonali


    Bawa Cafe is situated on 248 Burwood Rd in the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn; and I noticed something rather familiar about its lush green interior. There’s a calming (Buddhist) simplicity in the design here that’s found in many buildings in Sri-Lanka. It transpires that the interior is inspired by work of Sri-Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa (1919-2003), who pioneered 'Tropical Modernism', a style which combines building and landscape.

    Bawa’s interior has stark white walls, complemented by stylish wood skirting boards and offset by a wonderful ceiling centrepiece: a hanging garden, draped and dripping with foliage such as anthurium plants. On the right-hand-side is a series of raised booths with leather seats; positioned against a big glass front window that fills the space with natural light, and opens onto the Burwood Rd (and its hardware shops).  

    The cafe is open from 7am to 4pm with a menu that focuses on brunch - soaked grains with seeds and berries, black quinoa porridge and eggs on toast. There are several more substantial lunch dishes on the menu including meat and fish options. Overall, the menu highlights wholesome ingredients (kale, quinoa, cauliflower and gojis), with a few hipster-ish touches - cold drinks are served in glass beakers and jam jars. Every plate is prettily presented and this chimes with the delicate, leafy aesthetics of the surroundings.

    I had hoped to find some Ceylon Tea on the drinks list but the emphasis is firmly on coffee, sourced from Dukes, 247 Flinders Lane. Bawa has opted to innovate here - offering the choice of an ice filter (coffee brewed in cold water) or a refreshing black coffee tonic with lime.

    All in all Bawa Cafe, referencing the abundant tropics of Southeast Asia in it’s decor, has brightened up a rather dreary end of the Burwood Rd. It has the friendly atmosphere of a (busy and reasonably priced) suburban cafe but it also makes a point of difference, drawing in customers from all over Melbourne.

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