Quality kebabs, rocking tunes and a revolving door of coffee beans? You’ve just stumbled into Showbox. Pull up a stool and let them entertain you.
Most of us have experienced a 3am kebab in our time. It factors somewhere in-between stumbling out of the club and falling in a taxi and leave you with feelings of regret that can’t just be attributed to one too many whiskeys.
Now, listen up. There’s a very clear difference between the kebab at 3am from the corner store and the kebab you’ll be eating at Showbox Coffee Roasters. The quality of the meat, for one (Showbox uses 24-hour beef). There’s the question of where you’re eating it: a curbside gutter, or a industrial cafe with old rock on repeat?
Greasy drunk food or quality cafe fare, there are some things that stay the same. “It comes wrapped in foil, so you basically just take its clothes off and eat it,” says Bo Hinzack, owner of Showbox and professional coffee enthusiast.
What’s going down at Showbox Coffee Roasters
The vibe: Industrial space, good tunes and quality food you won’t find at any other cafe.
Ideal for: Your morning coffee stop, a chilled lunch, or a place to hang all day.
Try the... Carrot & coconut pikelets, with yoghurt, agave, raw honey & spiced walnuts, GF ($15)
By the way...If you’re not sure what coffee to try, they’re more than happy to steer you in the right direction. Bonus: they have free Wi-Fi.
Find them on Facebook: Showbox Coffee Roasters
A doner kebab is not the only unusual sighting on this slightly bonkers menu. It competes for your attention with a cronut, carrot and coconut pikelets and homemade Nutella (can you still call it Nutella if it’s made in-house?); this menu specialises in dude food for the healthy hipster. Don’t overlook the ruby brûléed grapefruit as a little extra to your meal, either. Available in whole or half portions, it’s blow-torched with a ground sugar and spice mix and comes out “all soft and molten and sticky and sugary,” according to Bo. Are you drooling already?
Bo, who’s already got one cafe under his belt (The Penny Royal in Mosman), is very clear about what he wants… and what he doesn’t. “I didn’t want to see bacon and eggs on the menu again,” he says, with barely concealed disdain. “I didn’t was to see a tomato cut in half. I didn’t want banana bread. I wanted to contradict the whole cafe food fare and get people thinking outside the square.” Or box, as it were.
What he’s actually done – besides bringing a whole bevy of eating options under one roof – is bring a whole lotta coffee options to Manly as a whole. On any given day of the week you might find eight, nine, ten different coffees on the menu: Seven Seeds in Melbourne, Marvell Street in Byron Bay and local favourites Reuben Hills and Mecca. Today the international contingent is represented by beans from San Francisco, but next week it might be Kenya. Or Columbia. Bo will let you know via Instagram, so you know the drill: give them a cheeky follow.
That’s kind of where the whole ‘Showbox’ thing comes in. You might have heard of legendary Seattle music venue The Showbox, where everyone from B.B. King to Iggy Pop to Snoop Doggy Dogg/Snoop Dogg/Snoop Lion (delete to personal taste) has played. They became this kind of revolving door of artists and rock gods, showcasing the best in music to the local scene. Manly’s Showbox, however, is showcasing coffee to the local scene. Showbox music - Showbox coffee.
The music thing isn’t entirely lost. The only decoration in this slightly sparse space is an immense black and white still of Chris Cornell of Soundgarden crowd surfing at Lollapalooza in 1991. It looks like the ideal space to display a little local art, but there are hoops to jump through.
“Maybe if it was black and white photography of music venues, sure,” he says with a laugh at his own particular tastes. “It would have to fit in. I’m a bit funny with things like that.”
He acknowledges that the space needs a little something more, but hasn’t quite figured out what, yet. In the meantime, you’ve got a bit of an East London warehouse vibe going on, with share tables and succulents filling up the concrete-and-lead-piping space. It feels like the perfect place for a Friday afternoon beverage – which may be on the cards in not too long a time. Watch this space.
And hey, if you have one too many, you can always pick up a kebab.
Address: 19 Whistler St, Manly
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 7am-4pm, Sunday 8am-4pm