You'll want to visit this for the male toilets alone
Somewhat secretly nestled in East Maitland's quiet suburbs is a big, red, double-story invitation to something that is, forgiving the cliche, more than just a coffee shop. Not one to boast of its undeniable quality, Anoushka's Cafe is so full of humble idiosyncrasies that you'll be coming back to read the walls of the male toilet for many visits to come.
Not that I'm writing on this website to review publicly accessible toilets, yet for a coffee shop that takes so much effort with its latrine decorations, it's the most logical place to start. With such hedonistic gems as, "Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now!", and the comically insightful, "Dijon Vu - the same mustard as before", the walls are littered with cynical, philosophical and romantic quotes set to define the consolidated 19th C. architecture and delectable foods found within.
Following the paved path leading by sublimely handled gardens, the courtyard is bordered by the red-bricked cafe's backside, and a cottage with paint that almost intentionally looks as though it were meant to peel. Both a cellar and a well (that still works!) stand in the courtyard, alongside a ground-gutter built into the pavement that silently trickles water in the rain.
Peeking inside where it might be a bit warmer, a majestic hardwood floor mirrors the ornately detailed ceiling, in between which fridges of cakes, beer and local wines tantalise the senses. Behind the lounge lining the walls are windowsills obscurely adorned with bottles and vials of varying shapes, as well as jams and marmalades that further contribute to Anoushka's homely feel.
Seated, prompt and friendly service will guide you through their ever-changing menu of cakes, salads and various other flavoursome concoctions, while also offering some of the cheapest Spiders on the market. Many eateries in the area consider soft drink poured upon ice-cream an excuse for ludicrous price blowouts, yet Anoushka's offers the area's finest for a mere $4.80.
Once occupied by a family and treated as a home, the building originally known as 'Roseneath' showcases that some of the most entertaining coffee shops are the most homely. Peacefully sitting across from the popular Hunter River Hotel, Anoushka's unashamedly allows its surrounding foliage to encroach, allowing those who take a turn off the main roads to sleepily admire its cosy crafts.