Photos, story by Cassie Hepler
They come from a land down under where women glow and men plunder. These Men (and Women) at Work are bringing the café culture of Melbourne, Australia, to Philly. Because if you can’t physically travel, at least your taste buds can.
Named after the Bluestone Lane in Australia, now you can satisfy your curiosity at the new coffee bar connected to the Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel in Rittenhouse Square with outdoor seating set for Spring. Owner and founder Nicholas Stone decided Philly is the first non-Manhattan stop, with its growing foodie culture. Not having a foodie background but loving the culture of a good coffee shop, Stone has created an Aussie empire.
Bluestone Lane combines premium coffee with wholesome, clean and healthy breakfast and lunch options. Open from 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily, Bluestone Lane’s menu includes breakfast items such as Hot Coconut Quinoa Porridge, Gluten-Free Banana Bread with fresh ricotta and pecans, and Blueberry Cardamom Chia Pudding. Lunch items will include fresh salads and wraps like the Chickpea Wrap with roasted bell peppers, Portobello mushrooms, pickled onion and kale, and Bluestone Lane’s signature Avocado Smash.
“We are constantly looking for ways to enhance our guests’ experience,” said Jean-Marc Jalbert, general manager. “Introducing Bluestone Lane Coffee will provide both guests and locals with a fresh neighborhood option for breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks throughout the day.”
Designed by Julia Sullivan, Creative Director of Caswell Design Group, the space will leverage the iconic landmark features of the Radisson and Rittenhouse Square, while providing a clean, light and minimalist aesthetic sprinkled with Caribbean blue and green accents. The center bar offers an interactive barista experience with bench stools wrapping the bar, window benches and ample seating offered at the rear of the space.
You can’t miss the Warwick with it’s modern meshed with vintage architecture and glowing blue lights at night.
Inside the lobby, we love the words all over the walls in a mash of poetry and utter nonsense. The large windows allow ample light and a cozy, modern atmosphere.
The oversized Christmas tree was surely a focal point of the room and testament to the height of the ceiling in the lobby lounge.
Down the hallway to the left we went and were greeted by a convenient Mac machine to the left. Alternate street entrance is also available but a little harder to find.
The telltale blue pops up immediately in this gorgeous cup of coffee… errr, fresh light that is. We swear it’s not stodgy at all.
Since we may have overdosed on coffee earlier in the morning, we opted for an iced chai tea. It was not too creamy and was certainly refreshing.
As soon as Angelle Mills-Smith, our lovely foodie tour guide making cafe rounds from Australia, found out we never had a lamington, it was on like donkey kong. A lemington is an Australian staple, a sponge cake with strawberry jam filling and chocolate and coconut on the outside. Contrary to its looks, it is very light and light on taste too – a perfect sweet tooth snack.
Just so you get a feel for what we were working with (and eating).
The presentation of this hot chai tea is lovely. The glass comes with a smidge of honey and you strain the cup and half sized pot into the glass. It’s surprisingly lighter than the iced and eventually we mixed them all together after the heat dissipated.
Because we were at a coffee shop, more beautifully displayed coffee. Here’s a fun fact: In Australia, the minimum wage is $17 for servers and tipping is rather foreign. Bluestone prides themselves in paying their servers more in the U.S. so tips are more of a bonus than a necessity.
This gluten free banana bread is just as moist as its non-gluten friends. Not usually one for banana bread, this really tickled our tastebuds after being toasted then topped with fresh ricotta, toasted pecans, banana slices and drizzled with honey. The banana bread and lamington are both gluten free and from Sans Bakery in New York.
While we waited for the rest of brunch, we scoped out the cafe with the kitchen in the middle island as well as all the friendly baristas.
A telltale chalk board and merchandise are always welcome ways to keep current and support the Aussie brand.
If you come in the side entrance on the street into the Warwick, look for this sign and head up the steps.
The other end of the island with seating along the counter to keep an eye on the action.
Bluestone Lane’s logo and recycled coffee cups to go are a green way to go – and look like you went to the NYC locales.
We spotted our food ready to go so back to the table we went as soon as possible!
We went for the smoked salmon sandwich with herbed goat cheese, smoked salmon, tomato, arugula and capers. It was hearty and delicious. We were sold at smoked salmon and goat cheese. Mmmmmm….
A little side salad to go with (and appear somewhat healthy) with vinaigrette and strawberries.
“Buying bread from a man in Brussels
He was six foot four and full of muscle
I said, ‘Do you speak my language?’
He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich”
Now you can make your Men At Work lyrics come to life with some real life vegemite! The proper way to eat it is toasted bread with a layer of butter first, then spread on the vegemite which is like yeast leftover from beer. And it tastes like it. Beer is huge in Australian culture so waste not!
Beans, beans, the magical fruit… pretty tasty and hearty for winter however don’t forget the bacon like we did (unless you’re vegetarian, then by all means). Two cage-free organic poached eggs (are normal in Australia, none of this caged hormone induced crap like in the U.S.) with arugula served with multi-grain toast is a stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal and very popular in the winter.
And last but certainly not least, the famous Avocado Smash. Usually served with poached egg on top, we had it on the side so the tahini, cherry tomatoes, feta, avocado chunks and sunflower sprouts shine. Certainly one of our favorite we’ll be back dishes, apparently it has Instafame with #BlueStoneLanePhilly.
If all that eating doesn’t satisfy your Aussie urges, you can always like the Aussies In Philly Facebook page!