In Short: Not your regular café in a mall, unique floral décor and excellent coffee and food offerings.
When you think of a café in a shopping mall, you would imagine it to be a normal square shop with standard café fit-out, decent (good if you are lucky!) food and coffee. But guess what? Coco and Vine has found a hidden gem nested inside the Chatswood’s Westfield mall that defies the norm in shopping mall cafes both in décor and quality of its food and coffee.
Housed in a corner in Chatswood Westfield mall, Flower Child is a stunning café filled with plants, flowers and greenery, so much so, that the place looks and feels like being inside a greenhouse, not quite something you would expect from a mall cafe. The secret lies in the clever design of Flower Child, which uses a lot of exposed steel beams in the ceiling and wood structures around the cafe, which allows for an array of plants to hang from the ceiling of the space. In line with the name of the café, Flower Child, there are placement of flowers on every table and the use of arched window panes to mimic the look of a greenhouse. They work together to allow you to imagine that you have been suddenly transported to a secret garden of sorts. You can choose to sit at the counter facing the mall, watching the shoppers wrestle with their wallets and occasionally with their significant others while being nestled in an cocoon that Flower Child accords. You can also can take a seat within the café and fully immerse yourself in the relaxing atmosphere. Flower Child is a spacious café and the long queues that you generally see lingering outside are not from the lack of space but rather from the constant stream of people who know that they are on to something good.
While the deco of Flower Child is very unique and alluring, it’s the good food and coffee that keeps it patrons coming back for more as well.
Coco and Viner Sacha is usually not a cold drip coffee drinker. Imagine my surprise when I arrived and discovered that he had already pre-ordered a Cold Drip for himself while waiting for me! The cold drip is served in a short glass on a silver tray with a napkin bearing the logo of the café. The coffee is only slightly acidic with a fruity note, making it an easy and refreshing drink.
For me, it felt like a day for tea, and so I ordered the Lemongrass and Ginger Tea. The fragrant lemongrass aromas and flavours come through in the tea and the ginger adds an additional warming element. The aromas and flavours of the tea are both calming and impactful at the same time. It is definitely one of my favourite teas of all time.
Food-wise, one of the signature dishes at Flower Child is their Flower Child French Toast. At its core, is a thick slice of seasoned toast coated with egg and fried, just like a traditional French toast should be. The sprinkles of dark chocolate crumb and baked pecan on top of the warm toast, adds a crunch factor to the dish, while the use of fresh fruits including sliced banana, strawberries and blueberries freshens up the flavours. The smear of salted toffee on the side of the plate and drizzle of maple syrup adds a sweet note, while the banana mascarpone helps to cut through the sweetness, making this a well-balanced flavour profile. Aesthetically, the dish is further enhanced with a sprinkle of edible flowers (in line with the café name) and herbs, which transforms a simple French toast dish into a visually stunning and appetising palte that you can’t wait to dig your folk into.
Another outstanding item from Flower Child is its Ndjua Toast. Nduja is an Italian spicy spread made with pork, roasted peppers and a special blend of spices. In this instance, the toast is given a generous spread of the Ndjua . The avocado puree imparts a creamy flavour while the colourful thin slices of pinkish watermelon radish and green asparagus spears gives the dish a fresh character. Grapes are generally eaten fresh but to find globes of roasted grapes is a rare and clever surprise. Creamy generous chucks of buffalo mozzarella cheese is torn and spread generously around the plate, while shavings of pecorino cheese are sprinkled liberally around the dish. A whole soft boiled egg cut in half and placed on top showcases it’s perfectly cooked yet slightly runny yolk.
Flower Child Café is like a hidden oasis within the mall, and just like the many people who have also discovered its treasures, we’ll be back here again as a refuge from Chatswood’s frenzied shopping scene.