A Garden Escape

A cafe that feels like a greenhouse with ties to The Grounds and Happy as Larry food truck. 

Flower Child, a new cafe in Westfield Chatswood, doesn’t sit among other on-trend cafes in Alexandria or Surry Hills – but it could. It's worth a visit if you need refuelling during a shopping spree, or just to try the pretty, vibrant dishes. Founders Chris Lu and Adam Choker also run the Happy as Larry food truck. Choker’s brother, Ramsay, runs The Grounds. “We wanted our customer to forget where they were by bringing the beauty of the outdoors, inside,” says Lu. 

To do this they enlisted Caroline Choker, of ACME&Co., which also designed The Grounds. The space simulates a patio, with wicker chairs, tiled floors and hanging flower baskets. Natural light from a skylight above filters through the steel framework around the space. 

“We’re trying to create an environment that transports you from the starkly lit, contrived atmosphere of a shopping centre to something that’s more natural,” says Lu.

Chef Nick Jovicki, formerly of Merivale and restaurant Wildfire, designed a menu that Lu calls “fresh and vibrant”. He says, “It’s pretty food, but wholesome, too.” Photogenic favourites include the Flower Child French Toast, with banana mascarpone, dark-chocolate crumb, fresh berries and salted toffee. Equally Instagram-worthy is the deceptively simple-sounding fruit salad, which includes compressed pineapple, lychee, freeze-dried raspberries and yoghurt sorbet. 

Some menu items, such as burgers, sandwiches and acai bowls, are available to takeaway. Pastries, bread and coffee (including cold drip and pour-over) are by The Grounds. 

Besides using flowers for presentation and design, Lu says the name has a double-meaning. “The original ‘flower children’ of the ’60s walked the streets of San Francisco giving out flowers to brighten up people’s days.” Flower Child’s nod to this cultural movement is presenting tiny flowers with coffee, and with the bill.

On weekdays you can make bookings before 10am. On weekends, the cafe is open before most Westfield stores, at 8am. “There are already waiting lists. Sometimes they’re four-pages long,” says Lu.

Originally published on Broadsheet