Larry & Ladd opened quietly earlier this week, but already the queues are 10 people deep and curious onlookers are crowding the glass walls in Regent Arcade.
The newest kid on the block is the only child of coffee-god parents Bar 9 and Coffee Branch. The café is cosily dark, with very on-trend black-painted ceiling, polished concrete floor and exposed brick wall behind the counter. Setting Larry & Lad apart from the rest is the British racing green speed stripe across the back feature wall, which also hosts a display of art and culture magazines for purchase. Flowers – from fellow Regent Arcaders Boo & Who? – decorate the store, adding a sweet lushness to the industrial edge. Jeremy Downey, part-owner and enthusiastic barista extraordinaire, is already greeting customers by name on the third day of business, ensuring – no doubt – regulars for life. Between the coffee machine and the two large, granite-top tables inside, Downey encourages peekers to come inside and not be shy. It works. Despite there being around 20 customers in the 28-seat café (including another long table in the arcade), queues aren’t long and service is quick. The snacks – pastries and interesting sandwiches – are on display on the front counter so you can see precisely what it is you’re getting into. Vegetarians are well looked after, with mushroom, tomato or cheese choices across the range. Two of the sandwich options recommended by Larry & Ladd staff are the soused herring, and the potato tortilla and chorizo. A potato and sausage sandwich might not sound particularly trustworthy, but it is ridiculously tasty – cold, flavourful potato melt around the warm and spicy chorizo, both mellowed with honey and labne. The herring – with boiled egg and orange aioli – is a little wet, but the Nordic flavours work neatly together. The snack options, including a range of toasties, are well-priced, ranging from $4.50 to $6.50. Coffee – a unique blend from Five Senses roasters – is equally modestly priced, competing well with other city cafes. Welcoming, delicious and fast – what more could you hope for from the Lads?