It was just a matter of time until it happened, but a true Australian-style cafe has made its way to Toronto by way of Baddies. The cafe, which calls the Toronto neighborhood of Bloordale home, is situated conveniently beside the Lansdowne TTC subway station. For owner Alex White (an Australian who moved to Toronto some four years ago), coffee isn’t fuel for work—it’s a way of life, and he’s hoping that Baddies can change that perception for commuters (and potential customers) one morning at a time.
While White says that he's not doing anything groundbreaking, introducing the Australian-style service model to the Bloordale Village streets is decidedly a milestone. As the trend of Aussie cafes washes across North America, bathing the landscape in flat whites and smashed avocado toast, it's hard not to wonder how long the phenomenon will last. When I press White about this, he says humbly that he “just wanted to create a space to get breakfast with a decent cup of coffee Monday to Friday.” Whatever the case is, we support his reasoning for opening.
The shop is stark in nature, but incredibly inviting. A giant window faces the street, where curious customers can peer into the shop window to see what's going on inside. The walls are painted white, with pops of grey and black. But the showstoppers in the room (which we can't help but think evoke the feeling of Toronto’s very own Sam James Coffee Bar) are the custom-designed wallpaper by Candice Kaye, inspired by the Bondi beaches, or the steel bleachers set up along the back wall. White has made the conscious decision to have no Internet—or as the menu board reads, “no wifi, just friends”. With Baddies, he is looking to create a space for socializing, and have customers truly focus on their experience.
In the kitchen where the magic happens, chef Alan Naiman has created a seasonal menu that engages with all the senses. Take for example the Hotcake—a vanilla bean pancake topped with matcha caramel and topped with raw cacao butter—or if you’re looking for something a little more classic, try the Brekky Roll, a sunny-side-up egg with double-smoked bacon, chimichurri, and hot sauce. Oh, and there is a Smashed Avocado with beet labne, seasonal greens, sunflower seeds, and heirloom tomatoes served on a slice of sourdough. Hungry yet?
Behind the bar, Baddies boasts a La Marzocco Linea PB alongside the Mazzer Robur (for espresso) and a Mahlkönig EK 43 grinder (for filter). Right now, they are solely using 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters, which White loves for the company's quality and consistency. Filter coffees are brewed on a FETCO.
While Australia is far away, White is happy to bring a little bit of the taste and flavor to Toronto with Baddies—a project he has been working on bringing to fruition for almost three years.
“I think the Australian novelty is part of why North America warms to this style of cafe,” he says. “It's cool to be able to get a little slice of what it's like in cafe form.”
Photos courtesy of Britney Townsend.