After 25 years working behind the scenes in the hospitality industry in financial advisory roles and a lifetime of travelling the world for good food and coffee, Roupinah Simonian jumped at the opportunity to open a café of her own with friend, experienced restaurateur Lisa Dolores.
“My husband [Shahe Simonian of Zanazan Studio] is an architect and was working on this project for another client, and it fell through. He rang me at work and asked ‘do you want to open a café?’ I resigned that day and started doing this,” she says.
Urban Artisans serves Zest Specialty Coffee’s Ceora blend for its milk beverages.
Zest says Urban Artisans is the first café in Australia to use the mix of beans from Brazil, India, and Sumatra. The coffee features flavour notes of butterscotch, Baileys’ cream, dark chocolate, and cherry.
For cold brew, Urban Artisans serves Ethiopian Tome, a natural processed coffee from the Guji region, with flavour notes of dried strawberry, mango, apricot, and blueberry.
The café rotates Zest micro-lots for its single origins.
“We could not have asked for better support,” Roupinah says.
“It’s only a young relationship – we switched to them a couple of months ago – but we’re really excited about the energy and enthusiasm they have for coffee. We see a great partnership ahead.
“They actually listen and understand, and they’re hands-on helping us.”
Urban Artisans has been supplied with a La Marzocco espresso machine, custom painted white with timber finishing to match the décor.
Urban Artisans’ décor is themed after a garden room, creating a space that feels more like an extension of the family kitchen rather than a main street café.
Zanazan Studio has won multiple design awards, and Urban Artisans was the Silver Winner of the 2017 Sydney Design Awards.
“It’s a little oasis in the middle of a condensed and noisy street,” Roupinah says.
“You take a couple of footsteps in and you feel like you are somewhere completely different. People are sitting on the deck, surrounded by greenery only five metres from the main road, but feel like they’re far away from it.
“Because we were involved very early in the design process, we were able to tailor the design, and to a certain extent the building, to align with our vision for Ashfield. We wanted it to be a garden escape, with efficient work zones and comfortable dining spaces away from the busy road.”
Roupinah says sourcing from inner west-based producers and suppliers makes her café a fixture in the community and ensures a high quality.
“[Sourcing locally] makes your café a reflection of the local people, produce, and suppliers,” she says.
“You’re getting great service and you’re building relationships which are good for your business. It’s been great to meet so many people that are passionate about what they do.”
Urban Artisans menu standouts include the Avocado Smashfield, zucchini and sweet corn fritters, and The Urban Garden salad.
“Our chef has put a menu together that has something for everyone. He has been onboard since day one,” Roupinah says.
In the summer, Urban Artisans intends to extend its Thursday night offerings.
“We’re about to go into the warmer weather and longer light hours, so we’re going to working closely with our beer and wine suppliers to launch things like beer and burgers, and pasta and pinot.”
268/273 Liverpool Road, Ashfield, New South Wales 2131
Open Monday to Wednesday and Friday 6am to 5:30 pm, Thursday 6am to 9pm, Saturday and Sunday 7am to 4:30pm
(02) 8056 6297