As you make your way up this brightly coloured street, you may just spy the Hoboken tricycle-wagon, full of leafy greens, which is a sure indication you have reached the main entry of the café and it is in fact open.
During the hours Hoboken is closed, you may not even realise it exists. In fact, I have been past it several times (clearly the wrong times) and never noticed it before. However, today it stood, lights aglow inside beckoning me to enter with an aroma like mama's kitchen wafting out the door.
As I walked through the door, the warm and friendly staff (whose casual service style made me feel as if I'd known them for a lifetime) greeted me. I was immediately captivated by the raw, arty vibe that radiated from the entire room. The furniture is that plain timber on metal legs, the kind that you might still find in some high school art rooms. This only adds to the feeling that art is born in this space.
The entire set up of this place sung out to the troubled artist within me and I felt moments away from making a mad dash to the nearest art store, buying some spray cans and adding my own contribution to the surrounding buildings.
As it happens, it was a wonderful choice. A tin plate loaded with meatballs, rice and beans in a deliciously spicy tomato sauce, landed in front of me, complete with wilted greens and Bulgarian fetta. A hearty serving for $16.50 and the flavour did not let me down either. I couldn't help but wonder if my wilted greens had been picked fresh from the cart in front of the café, and I enjoyed the thought that they may have. With every bite, I was questioning whether I could replicate something similar at home for dinner that night.
The coffee is rich and robust with an almost fruity twang to it, a strong blend that is definitely not for the faint-hearted. From my vantage point, I could see out to the street art and enjoy the free exhibit while I sipped.
I noticed several new pieces had sprung up on the walls since my last visit to Hosier Lane, but that is part of the beauty of this place. It is its own creature, always changing and growing - surprising its followers with an ever-new array of things to see and discover. Hoboken Café captures the essence of this feeling and will delight young and old, from the most rag-tag street artist to the humble homemaker.