Paparazzi café in Garran is the embodiment of all things old fashioned and wonderful. The Monroe-lipstick-red feature wall is adorned from floor to ceiling with monotone stills of movie stars past and present, offering a timeless glimpse into Hollywood’s golden age.
Things are perfectly simple here with friendly service and fresh ingredients. Existing customers are loyal and new comers (such as myself), are overwhelmed by the sense of community spirit and attention to detail. You can find everything you could hope for in a local cafe here, from their famous lumberjack cake to a one on one counselling session with your gloriously creamy Piazza Doro coffee. Paparazzi cafe even offer scrumptious take home dinners neatly packaged to make the end of your working day that little bit easier.
Lunch was quite an affair. Frustratingly difficult to find a good sandwich anywhere but in the farthest depths of my imagination, I was in raptures to be presented with not one, but two stunning gourmet rolls. A fanatic of all European cuisine, the Roasted pumpkin roll on thick, soft and deliciously dark German Rye was magnificent. Layered with baby spinach, basil pesto, sundried tomatoes and, wait for it, crumbly feta cheese. It was fresher than the frosted atmosphere I stepped into at 6 o’clock this morning. The famous Paparazzi CBLAT is also well and truly worth a mention, as unlike other café manifestations of this classic sanger, I didn’t feel an impending heart attack upon consumption. The tomato was juicy, chicken tender, bacon crisp, avocado creamy and lettuce not even the slightest bit wilted. Not to mention the freshly baked-in-store Turkish bun, swaddling everything in a lightly toasted pillow of softly kneaded perfection.
We sampled the Thai pumpkin soup which provided a welcome and well needed kick to fuel my afternoon. The deliciously creamy heat complimented in a fascinating fashion not by a stereotypical cream or yoghurt, but by slices of dense spinach bread (again, baked fresh in store every morning)- it was fantastic.
The savoury tart looked so appealing and was followed by such a mesmerising aroma it could have tasted of ash and I wouldn’t have cared. If you can imagine chicken, sautéed mushrooms, leek, cherry tomato and feta having a raging Christmas party in a rustically golden shortcrust pastry case, then that should give you some idea.
Dessert in the form of the aforementioned lumberjack cake was heavenly. Ever the fan of cakes dense in both flavour and texture, it had me at hello. Apple, pear, date and toasted coconut with a glorious squizzle of chocolate ganache and scoop of real vanilla ice-cream made me in a fructose induced high. The best part? It comes in huge slabs, not those teeny tiny slithers which are the catalyst for a gluttonous conscience eyeing off another slice.
It’s always rewarding to stumble on a place so much effort, time and care goes into running. From the quirky “shoe shopping” tip jar to the delicate wafers of homemade almond and cherry biscotti which accompany your expertly made silky smooth coffee. The staff at paparazzi make you feel welcome throughout your entire stay, which for me was slightly over extended by the fact I couldn’t keep my eyes off the black and white screen sirens adorning the walls. There is a rather glamorous photographic print of Marilyn Monroe bench pressing, taken in 1952, no wonder she had such a fantastic figure. Think I just found the motivation to join a gym.