NYC’s Bluestone Lane serves up premium coffee drinks in a relaxed, authentic cafe environment that reflects its Australian influence. Tucked into a cozy corner of the West Village is Bluestone Lane’s Collective Cafe, where the philosophy of using only the freshest, highest-quality ingredients extends to the cafe menu. Here, we talk with Bluestone Lane’s founder, Nick Stone, and menu designer, Sappho Hatzis about the philoshopy behind the food and which dishes they can’t live without.
Q&A with Nick Stone, founder, Bluestone Lane
What is the food and coffee philosophy at Bluestone?
The food and coffee philosophy is to be as authentic as possible to what you would find in a typical premium cafe in Australia. We use the highest quality, seasonal, natural ingredients to bring out the purest flavors. We don’t use heavy cooking methods as we like to serve most of our meals in a raw, clean, holistic, yet artisan way.
What’s unique about Australian coffee culture, and what are you hoping to bring to America?
Our coffee is focused on providing a wonderful texture and taste, and is primarily served in smaller portions for a more fuller flavor. We serve quintessential Melbourne espresso drinks such as Flat White, Magic, Long Black and Australian Iced Latte (it has a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream in it).
Australian coffee culture is about a total experience and ensuring it’s so warm and welcoming that you feel like a local. It’s not just about a coffee product, it’s about the service proposition, the aesthetic, the environment and then the intangibles like how the barista recognizes your face, knows your name, knows your order. That connection is really special and that is Australian coffee culture.
What was the inspiration behind the food?
The inspiration about the food was to be as authentic and true as possible to the typical food menu you would find at premium Australian cafes. It’s sophisticated cafe fare with strong use of natural and raw ingredients. We like using high nutrient grains, organic vegetables and try to keep dishes as clean as possible.
As the menu was refined, certain dishes did have to be crossed off the list as we saw what was possible with our space—omelettes, scrambled egg dishes, buckwheat pancakes. I hope to implement some of these items in future stores!
Which dishes are your favorites? Which dishes are customer favorites?
A definite favorite for me is the quinoa porridge, which we have had a summer and winter version of. I’m a huge oatmeal fan, so this is a version of an old classic, and it has also been very popular among customers. Of course the avocado smash is also a winner with customers.
How does the food pair with the coffee?
We place just as much emphasis on high standard food as we do on our coffee. Its important to us that our food is just as delicious and well presented as the coffee it is served with.
Q&A with Sappho Hatzis, menu designer, Bluestone Lane
What is your food and cooking philosophy? How do you apply that at Bluestone Lane?
I believe in eating in a simple, balanced & healthy way that nourishes our bodies and satisfies. Healthy can be delicious, and I wanted the Bluestone Lane menu to be a reflection of this.
How long did it take you to create the menu? What were your biggest inspirations?
The menu evolved over a few months, and was constantly refined over and over through this period as the project progressed.
My inspiration has come from a few places. I’m continually inspired by the never-ending stream of new cafes opening in my hometown. The standard is just so high in Melbourne, and café menus are consistently so innovative, creative and fresh.
I’m forever inspired by the sea of Instagrammers. Seeing people doing new things and experimenting with different ingredients gets me so excited.
My family is also a huge inspiration, and we have always had a simple, wholesome approach to eating and sharing meals, which really is my base when it comes to food.