The Paramount Coffee Project‘s hotly anticipated new cafe in Los Angeles is now open, in the heart of the teeming Fairfax shopping & fashion district in Mid-City. This new cafe is the work of Australians Mark Dundon, Russell Beard, and Jin Ng, and is a sister project of PCP’s innovative first location in Sydney. Food is a major focus here, with Dundon and Co. aiming to bring Australian-style cafe service to a very cool block in Los Angeles.
Guests at PCP LA should expect a sit-down atmosphere and an involved food menu, in addition to the conventional espresso bar configuration in the cafe's entrance. As Dundon told me during my visit opening week, “It’s really very reminiscent of what we do back home. We wanted to do a small little store so we could really look at doing, you know, sit-down service. We came to the US to bring out the model and not really replicate what’s already here.” Don't just stop at the espresso machine—walk to the back of the space, have a seat, and order some brekkie paired with coffees from rotating Australian roasters like Reuben Hills, Seven Seeds, and Marvell Street, plus North American brands 49th Parallel, Heart, and George Howell.
Specific menu highlights in the opening month include a “Dirty Bird” marinated chicken sandwich and a Salvadoran “Frijoles Y Queso” pupusa. In a nod to Aussie kitsch, there's also the “PCP Tostada”, which comes complete with “Vegemite Dust”. Need more brewers' yeast and vegetable additives in your diet? They're offering a “Vegemite and Butterscotch Shake” as well.
As an avowedly Australian cafe—see the Vegemite offerings above—I had to ask Mssrs. Dundon and Beard: what the hell is a flat white actually? Order a flatty at PCP and you'll be served a single shot of espresso with six ounces of steamed milk. Is this the definitive answer? Hardly. Does it taste nice when delivered? Yes, especially when served up using PCP's La Marzocco Linea PB espresso machine and Nuova Simonelli Mythos One grinder. The shop's kit is rounded out with a FETCO batch brew system and a BKON Craft Brewer installed not at the bar, but in the center of the long hall, a sure point of inquiry for curious customers.
The Fairfax facing entrance is fitted with a take-away oriented service window adjacent to the interior coffee bar. A glass box of pastries pops out below the window to show the day’s selection. Upon entering past the bar, the shop stretches toward the rear with a wall of exposed concrete blocks and long bench seating with ample table space. The back of the shop opens up onto a small patio with additional seating and a few plants. Architect Alana Cooke, also from Australia, evokes a bit of the Frank Lloyd Wright style utilizing raw concrete and interior plants hanging from wooden supports. If not already apparent, the hip vibe is implanted by a strong set of speakers and some choice rap tracks.
This stretch of Fairfax is home to many iconic Los Angeles landmarks: The Grove, the eye-catching renovation of the Petersen Automotive Museum, and the Melrose Trading Post. Recent years have also seen the advance of skate culture in the immediate vicinity. Crooks and Castles, Supreme, RVCA, and immediate neighbor The Kayo Store have helped transform this stretch of Fairfax into a major destination for skaters, hip-hop heads, and assorted sneaker freaks. As if to counter all the newness, the iconic original Canter's Deli location stands just down the street from PCP LA, open all night and serving up egg creams, pastrami sandwiches, and no shortage of schmaltz.
In Australia, Paramount Coffee Project is known for their wide-ranging coffee partnerships and a slate of programming that has included cafe takeovers by the likes of Coffee Collective (Denmark) and G&B Coffee (Los Angeles). Here in LA, Dundon and Beard are excited for future opportunities to showcase roasters and coffee producers through an ongoing residency program. The possibilities are open for the Australians in Los Angeles, and they expect the shop to change as new partnerships develop and the community grows. For now, the shop's early goals include connecting with the locals and serving up some tasty food.
So grab a menu and take a seat—they’ll come to you.
Mackenzie Champlin is a freelance journalist based in southern California. Read more Mackenzie Champlin on Sprudge.