Amber Bennett had to travel around the world to realise she wanted to open a café back home.
Introducing Fawn Coffee
Tucked away on one of those leafy residential streets that make up most of the city’s South East, Fawn Coffee happily harks back to the glory days of the corner store.
The modern café is housed in a heritage-style building along Gilles Street and owner Amber Bennett says her use of the space sticks closely to its original purpose.
Visit Fawn Coffee at 269 Gilles Street, Adelaide. Amber opens 7.30am-4pm weekdays, and 8.30am-3pm on Saturdays.
“It was built in 1871 by a guy from London who built it to bring the community together – so it was a little shop,” she says.
“It’s been lots of things since then, but the last guy who was here had a little dessert bar… so it already had a kitchen, had a cold room, all those things. I have done a lot of work with it though– the kitchen was all good, but we had to redo the floor and lots of other stuff.”
Amber – who studied interior design at university and applied those skills in refitting the space – first saw the property for lease online while she was working overseas. She immediately fell in love with it, but didn’t think too much more about it because at that stage, she had no intention of coming home.
But, last year she changed her mind.
“I’m from the Clare Valley originally, but I’ve been living overseas for the last four years – I worked in a café in Edinburgh and then moved to Dublin and worked in a café there as well,” she says.
“I was ready to do my own thing and I could see from over there that Adelaide was beginning to boom. So the timing just seemed to be right, so back I came.”
It wasn’t until she’d spent some time working for friends and trialling jobs around Adelaide that she realised the property was once more available to lease. This time, she jumped on it and began stripping back the layers to make “a place that is nice to sit in and relax”.
Amber’s Dad – a crash repairer by trade – chipped in by making tables and a counter-front for the shop, and her Mum is making guest appearances in the kitchen as well. The idea for the shop is close to Amber’s heart beyond its family roots too, with her desire to open a neighbourhood café spurred on by her experience working in a similar venue – Stag Espresso – in Edinburgh, from which Fawn takes its name.
Her concept for the food and drink on offer is straightforward; “I’m doing everything homemade – I do all the baking and cooking. It’s just fresh, homemade, tasty food,” says Amber.
There’s a local focus too, with coffee from Dawn Patrol coffee roasters, soft drinks from Bickford’s, organic teas from Hygge and avocados from a farmer who is a long-time friend, as well as South Australian market produce.
Only a few days after opening, Fawn is already proving popular with locals – many of whom are sitting quietly contemplating the leafy street outside when CityMag visits – and given its well-thought-out menu, on-point coffee and cosy interior, this seems like the kind of popularity that’s not going to wear off any time soon.