“Bear with me” is a phrase that comes up often is hospitality, and Alicia Liu and Viv Xiao felt it was the right tongue-in-cheek message to send when they opened their second café.
“We were known for creating Vilicia Coffee [our first café], but going into a residential area and opening up a whole kitchen with food service was relatively new to us,” Alicia says.
“Vilicia is very coffee focused. For our next project, we wanted to offer coffee and food at the same quality. It’s hard to find the perfect balance and it always seems to lean one way or the other.”
For its coffee, Bear With Me features a range of specialty roasters not seen frequently around the island, with Ona Coffee’s The Founder as its house blend.
“Ona is our core offering, but we like to showcase a few other roasters as well – like Marvell Street and Market Lane – for filter and to widen our range,” Alicia says.
“We’re very proud of the coffee we’re presenting to Hobart.”
To match this quality on the food side of the business, Bear With Me highlights the fresh produce grown in Tasmania.
“We are lucky to be living on this island with all of this produce available to us to showcase to locals as well as visitors and tourists,” Alicia says.
Popular dishes include the vegan peanut butter tofu bao, a dish Alicia says “if [she] took off the menu, customers would come for [her]”, and an eggs Benedict served with master stock braised ham hock and cider hollandaise on crispy layered potato instead of toast.
While the coronavirus lockdown was a financial hit to Bear With Me, the café was able to translate its seasonally changing menu to takeaway. Its winter menu was planned considering the time it would take customers to bring their food home.
“The first couple of weeks were really hard. It was more mentally draining and challenging than anything else, but we’re in a better position now. We’re still financially impacted, but the team is feeling positive, we’re having fun at work, and we’ve built new relationships with our customers,” Alicia says.
“At the end of the day, it’s about fresh produce, amazing coffee, and customer service. It’s just being presented in a different way.”
Bear With Me
399 Macquarie Street, South Hobart, Tasmania, 7004
Open seven days 8am to 3pm
(03) 6223 6665