I’ve visited hundreds of cafes over the years, and have often wondered what makes some last the test of time, while others struggle to survive. Wally Dabab and Jason Lay seem to know the key to success, considering their Newport spot ‘Leroys managed to survive a ‘once in a lifetime storm’ last year… It not only survived, but regenerated itself, and continues to be a stalwart of the Newport community.
Locals flock to this Mason Street site on any given morning, hail, rain or shine. Many are on a first name basis with staff, including pets. Speaking of pets, Leroys takes its name from a local cat who would loiter at the site before the cafe officially opened 6 years ago.
Since then, Leroys has transformed and evolved, and the name seems to be the lasting remnant from its original conception. A complete internal facelift was spurred by a freak storm; and the addition of a courtyard with play area for kids has been a real crowd pleaser.
More to the point, the 2016 renovation saw them do away with the industrial lighting and dark timber furnishings; replacing it all with a crisp modern venue, thanks to the crew at Umbau and Tehcne. Leroy’s new look is punctuated by black steel framing, natural timber tones, and cosy banquette seats.
One thing that’s remained steadfast is the coffee. Campos supply both espresso and filter beans; and alternative brew methods are available for those who enjoy a black coffee. Today’s Single Origin offering was from the Huila region of Colombia. Producer Linarco Rodriguez and his family have grown coffee from over 3 decades, and have mainly Caturra and Bourbon trees that grow at around 1715 meters above sea level. This particular coffee is a washed processed lot, and as a long black – had wonderful red apple notes, with malt on the finish.
The menu has something for everyone, with dishes designed by renowned chef, Sam Pinzone (West of Kin) focusing on local and seasonal produce. Some cleverly named breakfast options include the ‘Dukk Dukk Dukkah’ with smashed peas and fried haloumi on sourdough; the ‘Newport Hollan Daze’ with hash browns, avocado, smoked bacon, and poached eggs topped with parmesan and rocket; and the ‘Magic Mushrooms’ served on a potato rosti, with Bulgarian feta and 60 degree egg. If you’re after something a little sweeter, there’s a Cacao Porridge with cacao nibs, and super seeds; or the OMG Pancakes with coffee cream, popping candy, and burnt fig ice-cream topped with chocolate fairy floss. Lunch starts at 12pm, with a selection of burgers, healthy salads, and Nonna’s Broccolini with orecchiette pasta. If you like to wash lunch down with a glass of wine, they even have a selection of South Australian red and white wines to choose from.
I watched as the barista worked the La Marzocco Linea PB fluently, methodically perfecting each shot, and carefully pouring latte. Irrespective of how busy it became, there was a noticeable ease in workflow, and staff visibly worked well together. A testament to Leroy’s success.
5 Mason Street