Set a few streets back from Manly's iconic Corso, Bo Hinzack's new joint is providing beach dwellers and visitors alike a new destination to get their caffeine fix. Don't let the name and the mission fool you, though, as Hinzack, along with kitchen-smith Alex Rispoli, have crafted an intricate and intriguing menu for the shop, taking on bold flavours and maintaining a health-conscious approach.
Entering the shop is like stepping into a rich bachelor's pad in San Francisco in the '60s. The walls are roughly graded concrete with curved iron bars adorning the high roof. The furniture is simple, with all the steel-topped tables appearing to have been lifted from a school cafeteria, and the mismatched chairs coming along with them. It's a cosy vibe where nothing's pretentious, and everything about the shop welcomes you in for a relaxing cup of joe and a tasty meal.
The menu appears limiting at a first glance, given that there aren't really any familiar faces on there, excluding staples like granola. Everything is a little new, a little different, and it can be a little intimidating. But, once perused carefully, the dishes become objects of intrigue clamouring to be tasted, in particular the pikelets. They come served with coconut and carrot, drizzled in a beautiful honeycomb and walnut syrup. Carrot, you say? Yes, carrot. The savoury twist in the otherwise sweet dish adds a whole new element, and it works. Alternatively, ask for a slice of each type of bruschetta with extra prosciutto.
Hinzack's been brewing up black gold for 13 years now, and Showbox is his second foray into coffee shop ownership. After selling on his debut, the Penny Royal in Mosman, Hinzack is aiming to capture that chilled out feel that we all crave while throwing back long blacks with gay abandon. The first step to this is providing coffee made with love and integrity, which is something he absolutely nails at Showbox.
The waitstaff (traditionally tattooed and clad in white tees) are more than happy to serve as guides through the coffee options, whether it be towards Reuben Hills filter roast or Mecca's single origin espresso, and the product is sensational. The milk is stretched to perfection, the extraction is rich with a full crema, and it's all bought together with a practiced hand to produce a premium product.
It's surprising how often we take good coffee for granted, but Bo's brew is one that reminds us that it's takes time, effort and a generous portion of passion. With the stripped-back digs, topnotch menu and the most chilled of vibes, Showbox brings its A game to Manly for a real keeper of a cafe.