Elsternwick café Wishbone is very much a personal extension of Owner Alisa Barnes.
Though not indicative of the café’s Japanese inspired menu, Alisa says Wishbone’s name encapsulates what she wants the café to be.
“I loved the idea of love and togetherness over a meal, and I wanted to find something representative of that,” she says. “I have a lot of fond memories of pulling the wishbone with my dad as kid.”
Wishbone emphasises sustainable practices. This extends from using chairs made of 100 per cent recycled materials and donating coffee grounds to buying its supplies from sustainability-minded businesses.
One such supplier is Rumble Coffee Roasters.
“I really wanted to showcase a fantastic coffee,” Alisa says. “I love what they’re doing with their Transparency Project as well. It really spoke to me and my sustainability focus.”
As part of its Transparency Project, Rumble reveals how much it pays farmers and co-operatives for their coffees, and aims to pay them a fair price.
“There’s no-one better to go with in my opinion,” Alisa says. “I love their work ethic, that they want to be transparent and traceable, and the coffee is outstanding.”
Wishbone uses Rumble’s Shadow Boxer blend for its milk-based drinks and espressos, with single origins and filter coffees rotating weekly.
The café uses a three-group La Marzocco Linea Classic and Mythos One grinder for its espresso.
Single origin and filter grinds are prepared with a Mahlkonig EK43 ginder. A Moccamaster is used for batch brew and a Hario V60 for pour over.
Alisa sees Wishbone not only as a way to promote sustainable practices, but to also introduce Japanese food to the wider community.
“There’s a strong Japanese theme there, and that comes from my heritage and the foods I loved to eat growing up as a kid,” Alisa says.
One of Wishbone’s standout meals is the Asa Gohan, a traditional Japanese breakfast consisting of a grilled salmon fillet, sesame marinated green beans, Japanese omelette, potato salad, pickles, steamed grain rice, nori, and miso soup.
“It’s been really cool talking to people about eating fish for breakfast,” Alisa says.
“For the Western world it does seem a little bit strange, but I’ve been enjoying talking to people about why that is and having the engaging conversation.”
376 Glen Huntly Road, Elsternwick, Victoria 3185
Open Monday to Friday 7am to 4pm, Saturday to Sunday 8am to 3pm
0431 168 494