Slow down for Slow Daze: Obi Coffee’s new West Leederville outpost

Slow Daze West Leederville Obi Coffee
Home >Eat & Drink >Slow down for Slow Daze: Obi Coffee’s new West Leederville outpost

As just about any Subi office worker or local where they get their coffee, and chances are – they’ll start waxing lyrical about Obi Coffee.

Officially opening the doors to their Hay Street café in May of 2023, the Obi pop-up that opened in its place the year prior established the coffee shop as one of the neighbourhood’s favourites – gaining the devotion of locals not just through the quality of their brews (very good), but by the dedication to getting to know the regulars.

“Obi’s one year birthday was May 15, since the full launch,” owner Jamie tells us.

“It’s been awesome, building that real community there, that real vibe, that little hub we wanted to do in the corporate area.”

So, while we were saddened to hear of the then-imminent closure of West Leederville hole-in-the-wall Myrtle Ivy – we were buoyed by the discovery that the team behind Obi would be taking over the community-minded café’s location to open Slow Daze.

We popped by Slow Daze for a chat with owners Jamie Wolf and CJ Lovell – on their first day open, just a week after they got the keys to the Northwood Street space.

Slow Daze West Leederville Obi Coffee

“We had seven days to flip this place,” Jamie recounts. “We got the keys last Sunday and we opened today [Monday], which to me is incredible. It was 80 hours in the last four days, which is two full-time work weeks.”

While it’s been a whirlwind change-of-hands, Jamie’s history with the space extends much further.

“I’ve lived in West Leedy for five years, I worked [at Myrtle Ivy] for three years, moved to Melbourne for a year, came back here for three years – it’s like a home away from home for me and it always has been. And West Leedy is very much home for me, so to have a space here where I live and I know the community is massive. I met CJ through Myrtle Ivy!”

“Chris and Mikey [the former owners of Myrtle Ivy] created this community, I’ve had them there with me along the way, and now they’re our landlords… It’s a crazy full circle moment.”

With their other café just down the road, what sets Slow Daze apart from its elder sibling?

“We just wanted to do something that was the flip of Obi,” he explains.

“Bit more toned-back than Obi, which is obviously quite high-paced and crazy sometimes. Do something a bit more wholesome and community-based, in a residential area, and that’s where this came about. And it’s been awesome! And it was big for us to do a different brand to Obi, because our model isn’t to just replicate and replicate – we want to create all different little spaces around Perth.

“People know who we are if they know us, but if they don’t know us, they just assume this is another coffee shop. The vibe’s the same, the values are the same, but the spaces are completely different.”

As well as the more suburban, easy breezy vibes, an expanded (although still pint-sized) kitchen means more options for hungry passers-by.

Slow Daze West Leederville Obi Coffee

“Grab and go is getting revamped, and we’ve got a lot more capacity to do things because we have a bigger kitchen space here – Obi’s literally just a Roband toaster and we kind of just cowboy it and hope for the best!”

“This one’s a lot more food-driven: we’ve got Mia, who’s been a chef for the last 12 years, she’s going to be doing a dine-in menu, which we don’t have at Obi.”

“Obviously the classics: eggs on toast, bacon and eggs on toast… But Mia’s Filipino, so she wants to do some Asian-fusion elements as well. She was talking about kimchi omelettes, baked potatoes, loaded toasts. So we want to do the breakfast stuff but put a twist on it as well, stay away from the clichés. Hopefully the days of the avo smash are behind us, and we can move into some new things!”

“But just letting her be creative – she’s got a huge skill set and we’re just giving her the space to flourish and discover what she wants to be doing.”

“Giving Mia some freedom to just create what she would want to create, rather than something that we’re trying to force her to do,” adds CJ.

If you’ve got more of a sweet tooth, the team have turned to locals Kuld Creamery for their signature cookies, as well as Zonts Bakehouse for croissants and other pastries.

Slow Daze West Leederville Obi Coffee

“We potentially might move into doing some stuff in-house, doing some baking – but for now, we’re trying to link with likeminded suppliers and work alongside them until we can figure out what capacity we have and how far we can push what we’re offering here.”

Arguably the word of 2024 is pop up, with a resurgence of chefs and venues joining forces to make the most of their brick-and-mortar spaces.

“We want to do pop ups with some cool Perth chefs, a few little wine events – utilise the space the best we can to get it to its potential! We just want to keep growing and growing and see how far we can push this little space to get the most out of it.”

And while we’re already planning our next bleary-eyed bagel run, the coffee cannot be overlooked.

Slow Daze West Leederville Obi Coffee

“It’s real specialty coffee driven,” Jamie emphasises.

“A lot of SP9s, which is an automatic filter brewer, batch brews, single origin menu, we’ll do a frozen menu, we just want people to come in and have something that they can’t get everywhere else.”

“Lots of specialty drinks, like we do at Obi – a lot of the aerocanos, matcha lemon spritz, that kind of stuff. We’ve got Bec who’s the Ops Manager, she is a specialty drinks queen and she’s going to overlook all that across both sites.”

Slow Daze West Leederville Obi Coffee

Like we said, we’re already planning upcoming breakfast dates and coffee runs… But beyond the obvious face-value appeal of Slow Daze, the commitment to community shines through. During our brief chat, countless regulars and friends pop by to congratulate Jamie and CJ – and the pair instil the same community vibes within the team.

“We do the small space, big heart kind of vibe,” Jamie tells us.

“Because people are in a small team, their voice is heard, they’re not washed out by a team of 20 people. We sort of max out at about five or six staff in each venue, because we want people to feel they’re contributing to the business on a smaller scale, and their voice is like 20% of the collective voice of the business.”

They also work with Healthy Mind Menu, a local industry-led not-for-profit focused on improving mental health in hospitality.

“We brought all our staff into a training where they all learnt how to cope with burnout, and cope with the stresses of hospitality, and that’s something that I’m really passionate about.”

“They’ve been involved with Obi as well, and now been involved big with our training day here to get people aligned culturally. So that’s a big thing for us, too – get people into spaces that are safe, and where they can rediscover their spark for what they’re doing.”

Slow Daze West Leederville Obi Coffee

“You’ve got to give people a platform where they feel safe, and it’s OK to be a hospitality worker in Perth – it’s not just a stepping stone job to your next thing, it’s our careers. This is what we do, this is what a lot of people do.”

“We said in the training, 20 staff there, who here is using this as a stepping stone to their next job, and I think 3 people put their hand up. 17 people there who are like, ‘This is what I want to be doing’, and I’ve never seen that before in hospitality, in my life. It’s becoming an attractive industry again to work in, and we just want to get spaces and get people in there that are like that, and help them, elevate them.”

“Give people a bit of a pathway to navigate their way through to whatever they want to be doing,” agrees CJ.

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“Me and CJ are back where we met, I’m back in the space that I called home for like five and a half years, and now we’ve got this community with our own business model,” Jamie continues.

“To me, it feels like a real full-circle moment. It’s awesome, we love it. I love being out there and knowing the faces, rather than just having to start from scratch. As much as we love building community, it’s lovely to already have it here.”

Slow Daze is located at 3 Northwood Street, West Leederville.

All images: Sally Hall / Perth is OK!