TIN plates and bowls, bagels and boxes and boxes of jazz records, Satchmo in North Perth is a very funky little cafe indeed.
Nathan Karnovsky opened the joint a few months ago, moving from The Grumpy Sailor in Fremantle, which had also prided itself on beautifully fresh bagels.
The name comes from a family connection with the late, great Satchmo (Louis Armstrong). Barely 11 and homeless on the streets of New Orleans, the talented young trumpeter and singer had been taken in by Nathan’s distant uncle and his family.
“He wore a Star of David for the rest of his life,” Nathan tells the Voice.
Satchmo Cafe is so homey the owner could be forgiven for turning up in PJs.
“This is almost what my home looks like,” he says, pointing to the retro decor, including a large print of Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald (the eatery is on Fitzgerald Street, so how cool is that).
“Anyone can come in here and feel relaxed, and I get to listen to jazz all day.”
Bagels are chewy, doughy bread rolls boiled and then baked. They’re believed to have originated in Poland in the 17th century. There are four to choose from — corned beef, smoked salmon, bacon steak or roast pumpkin, and for $10 each with a side salad that’s great value.
If you’re not into bagels (to be honest they’re not quite my thing) there’s plenty of other scrumptiousness to choose from.
My lunch companion has been feeling poorly for some time, so was keen to try a different staple of Jewish New York mothers — matzo ball chicken soup ($15). “I can feel it doing me good,” she declared. “My hardened arteries are softening as I sit here.”
Perhaps next time she’ll get those arteries solid again with the oven-baked bacon (and speck) served with house-made beans, fried egg and parmesan wafer and toast soldiers ($16).
Meanwhile, my very satisfying roast vegetable and gruyere frittata ($15) was two generous slabs perfectly complemented by a delicious relish and onion jam.
My mate’s balsamic roasted mushrooms ($18) was a picture, the dark brown fungi topped with goat curd labne, baked kale, and an artistically crusted red paprika. “It’s beautiful,” she exclaimed, “So fresh and light.”
Nathan’s mum Benedikte makes all the cakes, and her lemon cheese cake ($7.50) was to die for, light, fluffy and delicately flavoured.
Many modern cooks rely on gelatin to set their cheese cakes, but not Benedikte: “You won’t find gelatin here,” her proud son says.
My banana and almond cake was equally delicious, not too sweet and wonderfully moist. The cakes were washed down with a couple of the best coffees I’ve had anywhere.
Dare I say, we’ll be happy to play there again.
by JENNY D’ANGER
1/400 Fitzgerald Street, North Perth
open Mon–Sat 7am–5pm,