Thursday, September 15, 2011

Restaurant Review - Spats Cafe and Coffee Lounge

Well, I've already posted on our meal at Mapo Restaurant, but after watching our movie (The Last Ronin which is also known as The Last Chisingura), as part of the 15th Japanese Film Festival, we found that it was raining quite heavily. L-kun was safely sleeping over at a friends house - so the night was still early. What to do? We headed to an old haunt of ours, known as the Spats Cafe on King William Road. Now along with the Elephant Walk on Melbourne Street, this is one of the nice places to go for a coffee and a chat in Adelaide; although you can also grab a bite to eat there as well.

The cafe is a renovated house on King William Road, just south of the CBD. It doesn't look that interesting from the outside.... nor that big. Don't be deceived however. It's quite big extending both up, back and across, and the real joy occurs once you step through the front door.

Stepping across the threshold, it's as if you've been translated both to another time, and another country. I've read it described as Edwardian in style... and whilst it may be slightly more cliche than chic, it embraces the theme with wild abandon. Don't be surprised however that you'll find yourself having a long time to enjoy the ambiance. We arrived around 9:45 pm on Saturday night - only to find a line up inside of about 15 people. It took us about 20min to get a seat. Popularity has it's price. But it does give you ample time to soak up the vibe (but if you're seated in the front room, you might find it a little like being in a fish bowl).

The enjoyable part of the cafe, or lounge as they are alternatively described, is the private booths on the side rooms and upstairs. There you can relax, away from the milling mob of table-desirers. And this is one of the distinctions of Spats. You are encouraged to ensconce yourself in this dimly lit fantasy world of wicker and wonder. Take your time, and don't be surprised that it will be a while (especially on a Saturday night) before you're order is taken. Be patient.

Actually the decor upstairs is quite different from the front rooms. I can't help but imagine it as some seedy opium den or Bordello of the early twentieth century... The reddish glow, the quiet whisper of couples, and friends alike sharing their lives over a plate or cup makes for a welcoming feeling. The lounges are quite comfortable, and it doesn't take long before you'll find yourself feeling more at home than you might feel even at home.

Now you can buy dinner here, and they have a reasonably selection of cafe-style meals (though lending more from an Italian cafe rather than something in tune with the theme). However, T-chan and I tend to come here for only coffee and desserts. The meals themselves are reasonable, but not what Spats is about. 

I enjoyed a fresh pot of New Guinea Gold, a nice brew served in china. Good for the eye, but for a die-hard coffee drinker, just a little too dainty for me. Still, when in Rome...

T-chan instead went for the the Chai Latte Crunch... an iced version of the tea that in my mind really typifies the Imperial, or should that be colonial, era when tea and coffee houses became the place for meeting of the artistic and the exotic.

Now we also sampled some of the delicious desserts for some late night indulgence. T-chan went with the Chocolate Cream Gateau. Quite rich and luxurious, decorated in Spats style with a splash of red, blue and white... much like the lighting. 

I would normally have gone with the banana crepe, but instead went with the Mixed Berry Sundae. Not too bad, but definitely preferred the Gateau.

So there you have it... if you're looking for somewhere to have a bit of a break one evening, and you have a car (and prepared to travel out of the city), then I'd definitely recommend heading south to Goodwood and trying out Spats Cafe and Coffee Lounge. You don't go for the food, though the desserts are worth it -but instead, you go for the broader range of coffee selection, the touch of the mystery and fantasy, and of course, the opportunity to take a pause from a busy week and enjoy spending time just chilling. Just try for a booth seat rather than the front room... And despite the long wait (even when we left, there was a long queue), you never feel pressured to finish up. The drinks and desserts set us back about $30, so whilst it's not cheap, it's a relaxing way to spend the evening. Take your time and enjoy the moment.

Spats Cafe (Cofee Lounge):
108 King William Road, Goodwood
(08) 8272 6170
Open from 6:30pm to 12am, or 2 am Friday/Saturday night.


  1. ok, you guys are completely food obsessed. I am pretty hungry at the moment but it does look pretty good to me.

  2. Well, if you can't obsess about food, what can you obsess on? Well, don't answer that. I have to say that we both enjoy good food, and drink - though I have to admit that we don't get to enjoy it (out) as much as we'd like, or like to afford to.

    And yes - the gateau was divine.