Hidden away in a leafy corner of Bourke Street is Viola, the newest café to take up residence in Darlinghurst. Walk in and you’re met with bursts of pink and orange flower arrangements by owner, Reaka Zhong, and her friend’s flower business.
Locally sourced coffees and teas line the display shelves and paintings by manager Matt’s mum are hung for sale on the walls. Your eyes then fall to the glass cabinet in the centre of the café, where rows of meticulous pastries and desserts sit, made freshly this morning.
I sit down with Matt, who two months ago walked in after the barista position and walked out with a management role. It’s easy to see why: his energy and unwavering smile match perfectly with the vibrant space.
Five owners have passed through this lot in the past decade. Matt and Reaka are hoping that their unique blend of Asian boba tea and intricate high tea style pastries, as well as full brunch menu, will continue to grow their already solid local fan base.
“Our head chef is from a fine dining background and our pastry chefs come in three times a week and will spend 4-5 hours just making our pastries,” says Matt.
“We encourage creativity in our kitchen and if the chefs have an idea, we let them run with it and put out tasters. We really want customers to get on board and try something new.”
It’s not hard to see that creativity is rife: you won’t see the high-end brunch menu, range of ‘can cakes’ perfect for catered events, and unique selection of teas anywhere else in Darlinghurst.
With lots of menu additions on the cards, keep an ear out for Viola happenings in the coming months.
266-268 Bourke Street