by Désiree Schneider
Stirling. Big windows framed by a grass-green frontage give insight into a small café with wooden chairs and mosaic tiles. The interior is vintage, stylish but homey. But most people just pass by and do not notice the artisan coffee house, Sable & Flea, that is hidden behind a bigger building.
As soon as you enter you are welcomed by the smell of freshly brewed coffee and a smiling lady behind the counter, Suzi Carr. She is the owner of Sable & Flea and serves a Nude Espresso house blend from Australian café culture.
“My husband and I lived in Melbourne for 24 years and they have brilliant coffee there,” she tells me. “Much better than the British. When I returned to Scotland, I didn’t want to miss it.” That certainly explains the aromatic smell.
The coffee bar is set up among Victorian furniture and designer home-ware. Suzi is an interior designer and carries a lot of experience from 15 years of having her own lifestyle stores in Australia. Back home in the UK she decided to combine what she likes most apart from her children: good coffee and vintage furniture.
She designed the café’s interior herself and sells some of her home-wares besides what the café is offering. The interior is a mix of wildness and elegance, which is also reflected in the café’s name: ‘Sable & Flea’. Sable as something expensive and elegant, whereas the flea refers to the homey patchwork of a flea market. “But it is also a play on my children’s names. It includes the beginning of each of my two girls’ and my boy’s name.”
Sable & Flea offers an artisan coffee experience, organic cakes, chocolate buns and a small variety of healthy, local dishes for lunch, changing with the season. The cakes are as healthy as a cakes can be, which does not diminish their taste in any way.
After struggling with which delicacy I should go for (one look at the pictures will be explanation enough), I decided on the choc crispie slice, taking the student offer which includes a coffee and a dry cake or a bun for £3.75 instead of £5.20. Recommendation for every sweet tooth: it also works with a hot chocolate for 30p more – I could not resist. Content with my choice, I got back to Suzi telling me about her plans to make the café more visible.
They have been open for a year now, but many people do not notice them, because the house is hidden.
The green paint of the frontage is new, and in the summer she plans on bringing out a bicycle in the same colour, with a label on it to draw the customers’ attention.
Meaning: next time you go into town, look out for a green bicycle.
Suzi looks forward to the summer, when it gets warmer and customers can sit outside in the courtyard bringing their family, friends and dogs with them as well as to the upcoming events.
She says: “We usually have temporary galleries, where artists have the opportunity to put up their works for a month. The launch evening is usually celebrated with some wine. And we had the idea of some gin-tasting evening.”
It is a place of respite on a stressful day, a place to discover latte art and genuine cakes, a place to discover something new, and to get a taste of Australian coffee culture.
It is, as Suzi would describe Sable & Flea herself, “Artisan, vintage, worth-while”.
Sable & Flea is open every Tuesday to Saturday 9am-5pm.