Address: 96 Denmark St Kew, VIC 3101
Phone: (03) 9939 7642
Open: Daily, 7am until 3.30pm
There’s nothing ‘up in the air’ about four-month-old Percy’s Aeroplane, except perhaps the bright yellow model aeroplane suspended above the front door. This fresh, new café arguably does the best coffee in Kew and backs it up with a cosy atmosphere.
A stone’s throw away from Kew Junction, we visited for breakfast in the middle of the week. It was just us seated in the front room, a lady on a stool at the bench table looking out to the street, and a couple of groups of professionals having business meetings in the back room.
When you walk into Percy’s Aeroplane the first thing you see is the canary yellow Ruggero coffee machine, which churns out the café’s own roasted blend and single origin varieties. The display cabinet behind the machine reveals an array of baguettes, filled flat breads, salads and sweet treats—perfect for the herd of workers who come for take-away lunch and coffee.
The rest of the room is an assortment of surfaces: the polished concrete floor, the raw brick feature wall that looks as if it was once above a fireplace, the rustic old draws near the door, the industrial hanging lights and the mix of wooden and stainless steel finishes. I especially loved the potted cactuses peppered randomly about the room.
The tiny kitchen is crammed into the corner, as if its location was a punishment for misbehaviour. Glass jars and vintage tins on top of wooden blocks separate the kitchen from the rest of the room. Around the corner is a simple, white-walled dining room with small tables and a larger table further back. A fireplace, with a small silver coffee machine and some cactuses resting on the mantle is the main feature. When the weather permits, there are also some tables in the courtyard and two spots out the front on the pavement.
Our cappuccinos were to die for. We had the house blend of Brazilian, Columbian, Indian and Papua New Guinea origins. Strong and well rounded with a chocolatey finish, the guys from the automotive workshops across the road were truly blessed when Percy’s Aeroplane landed.
The breakfast and lunch menus stay true to the K.I.S.S rule: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Each is a page long but does the job. The Pilot’s Breakfast was ordered, “the big one” with fried eggs, bacon, chorizo, mushrooms, spinach and grilled tomato. It was enormous, as promised. The highlights of the dish were the well-cooked, crispy bacon and the tasty hunks of chorizo.
I had the “avo toast”, freshly seasoned avocado on multigrain with baby spinach, Spanish onions, lime dressing and a poached egg. The avocado was sliced finely and the egg runny inside. The garden of green ingredients on the plate not only tasted fresh, they were visually appealing.
Our only criticism was that the toast in both dishes was stone cold and difficult to cut as a result. It was a shame, seeing as the bread is brought over fresh from the Abbotsford Convent Bakery. In Percy’s defence, the chirpy waitress did inform us that the café is currently looking for a head chef... then again, it doesn’t take a head chef to produce warm toast. Let’s hope it was a one off.
As for the rest of the menu, the BLT with homemade chipotle mayo and the tortilla de patatas (a Spanish omelette served warm with garlic aioli) sounded delicious. For the kids, there’s a poached egg with bacon on toast, a ham and cheese English muffin or cheesy scrambled eggs on toast. If you’re after lunch, check out the sandwiches and flat breads in the cabinet, or go for the chicken schnitzel, the steak and mushroom pot pie or the chunky homemade sausage roll (which looked incredible).
With a lot of hits and only one miss, this cute Kew addition will be a much-loved local as soon as it finds its feet. It would seem that for Percy’s Aeroplane, the sky’s the limit.