15 Riseley Street
Fit for a Roman Emperor
Nestled amongst the jacarandas of Applecross hides a buzzing little cafe named C15 Espresso. At first glance one could be forgiven for mistaking C15 as an Ikea-stamped, flat-packed, Subiaco-styled clone of a café, a copy of a graphic designer's conceptualisation rather than a restaurateur's rigour. But hold the phone: at first-and-a-half glance something interesting appeared. Every socialite south of the Swan seemed to have found a corner in which to nestle- and they were mostly women. Something was clearly afoot.
C15 is not a funky plastic office with food. The little things had obviously been considered: above - a renaissance frise; right - a centrepiece vase; left - the trickle of a water feature; forward - a gleaming bar of metal and wood; front and centre - our host for the night, Mark Correia.
We ordered a few mains to share: a Chicken Caesar Salad, the Minute-Steak Open Sandwich and the Fish of the Day - the holy trinity of yardsticks for reviewing a café. The Caesar salad was fit for a Roman emperor, with the requisite balance between cream and salt. The minute-steak open sandwich filled with sirloin, egg, onion jam and salad greens on sour dough bread faired equally well, evoking envy in each fellow patron whose table it wafted past. Clearly a graphic designer was not in charge of the kitchen.
Mark selected a bottle of Blue Cutting Road Clare Valley Cab Merlot to give the steak a little company. A good cab merlot is the medium-rare of wines, without the vengeance of cab savs or the vapidness of paint-by-numbers merlots and this sir, was a good one. Apparently the café's wine list has been strengthened in the last months to match the flair of the new menu. Your usual suspects of WA classics have been replaced with left-field gems, which bodes well for the hearty winter wine-sipping season.
Whilst C15 is already tailored for stretched out Sunday breakfasts, I imagined what it would become in the months to come. The abolition of the draconian drinking laws will fall in the favour of this little spot. It is perfectly placed to become a lovely little niche to while away an afternoon in the summer sun.
The fish of the day was fresh snapper with a side of salad. The Correias are a tight-knit family of fishermen that have scoured the West Australian coastal waters for years, keeping their best catch in the family. I must admit that to me fish is just fish, unless it's really fishy; however, to my company this was the goods.
C15 Espresso is just down the road from Garden City and is well located for impromptu coffees after the movies. It represents the vanguard of the burgeoning Kearns Crescent area, which is already home to at least ten worth-while restaurants. Applecross will inevitably be the Claremont of the South and C15 will be one of its shining lights. I am looking forward to a lengthy breakfast there soon.