Since opening in 2011, Café Demitasse has grown into of Los Angeles' more prominent coffee roasters. Its locations on the Westside and in Little Tokyo were joined recently by new outposts in mid-Wilshire and Hollywood, and the expansion has similarly made Demitasse's offerings bigger and better.
The newest location, situated in the heart of Hollywood, is the most ambitious of the bunch; the only Demitasse to serve alcohol and a variety of food beyond the regular pastry options, it’s a dining destination inside your regular coffee shop. This location also boasts an on-scene Probat roaster, one of the first things you notice when you walk into the cafe, giving patrons a peek at one of the most intimate aspects of the coffee-making process.
Bobby Roshan, founder of Demitasse, decided to open the location in Hollywood when he realized the neighborhood was “exploding right now” in terms of new businesses. Hollywood is “an underserved area that appreciates specialty coffee that’s approachable. There’s definitely a lot of room for coffee,” says Roshan.
The coffee itself is roasted on a bi-weekly basis to ensure freshness, and your drink of choice will be expertly made on a La Marzocco Mistral, which Roshan purchased secondhand after getting a tip about the sale. “They don’t make these anymore, but it’s such a beautiful machine, almost like a work of art,” he says. “I always wanted to own one.” Besides coffee and tea, wine and beer are expertly curated by importer/distributor Return to Terroir. The wine selection is natural-minded, while the beer is mostly from local and California breweries.
The food at the new Demitasse is not your standard cafe fare. Sure, there are pastries and treats as you'd expect, but throughout the day you can also indulge your gourmet side from three different menus. In the morning, you can start the day with a simple bowl of Greek yogurt and granola, or something heartier, like the pork belly plated with a perfect coddled egg, garbanzo beans, chimichurri sauce, and buttered sourdough toast. At lunch, you can choose from an assortment of salads, and sandwiches. Everything is delicious, but if you really want to try the best of what Demitasse’s Hollywood spot has to offer, you have to stop by for dinner.
The globally inspired dinner menu has some of the best food in the area. From seared octopus to scallops, hamachi crudo with avocado mousse, and a Portuguese-inspired cod dish, you’re getting delightful, unexpected plates that will make you forget you’re sitting in a coffee shop. Created by chef Jeff Lustre (who has cooked for Demitasse's pop-ups), the cuisine is based on what he's picked up on his travels. Roshan mentions that Lustre’s Filipino background plays a role in his food creations, but he also draws on having spent time in “Spain, Hawaii, and China.”
The menus are seasonal and “change very often,” according to Roshan. Being right next to the Hollywood Farmers' Market, one of LA’s largest, makes it easy to experiment with local produce. “We’re trying to feature a seasonal ingredient that ties all the menus together,” he says. “Right now blood orange is a big part of the menu, a blood orange syrup we make fresh. For coffee, we have the blood orange-nutmeg latte. On our alcoholic [menu], we have the blood orange-sake swizzle.” The fruit also features in such menu items as the breakfast potato pancakes, lunch's fennel soup, and dinner’s hearts of palm salad. “Blood oranges are almost out of season, so soon we’ll have a whole new menu, and we'll be changing the latte as well.” Also, look out for Demitasse Hollywood’s happy hour menu (still in the works), along with events like coffee cuppings, classes, and tasting menus.
So things are looking bright and running smoothly as the Demitasse team gets in the swing of running a full kitchen program. As Roshan says, “It’s an exciting time to be in LA.”
Tatiana Ernst is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and photographer. Read more Tatiana Ernst on Sprudge.