Down Under, BOTTOMS Up

If you think your hipstercard is indangerof being revoked, head to any one of three The Kookaburralocations in St. Augustine. The first location, on U.S. 1 South, is a large space with lots of baked goods, a wide selection of drinks, convenient tables and elevated booth/bar seating that has extra plugs for electronics.

The interior is simple, with dark woods and light metal; the gray walls are adorned with all manner of little Australian paraphernalia; think Dos Equis and Tooheys Draught. The decorations are a happy reminder that, yes, you could totally be in Queensland instead of still in the U.S. of A. The business is named for the kookaburra bird, a tiny kingfisher, native to Australia, with brilliant blue plumage. Even the Aussie pies have local flavor in their names; case in point: the Ned Kelly, named for a famous bushranger, or Australian outlaw, from the 1800s. 

In addition to a gigantic drink menu of coffees, teas and beers, Kookaburra carries traditional Aussie Pies ($5.10). They have meat and veggie versions, like the Ned Kelly ($6.17), a sirloin potpie with egg and bacon, or the breakfast-style egg and white cheddar. Plunge a fork into the crispy golden crust of this miniature potpie and you’ll find it full of hot, fragrant, savory filling. I tucked into the vegetable curry pie, with broccoli, carrots and snap peas in a creamy curry base.

A big draw is the local kombucha ($5) on tap from St. Augustine purveyor Local Booch Kombucha. They serve whatever is in season, so it’s a nice surprise every time. The day I visited Kookaburra, watermelon hibiscus kombucha was being served – obviously a no-brainer. I was pleased as punch with the refreshingly cold, startlingly red, tart and fizzy kombucha.

The efficient barista recommended the Hot Aussie (medium, $4.20) from the signature drink menu. Despite its name, it can be enjoyed either hot or cold. It’s the kind of coffee I love, and the kind that Luke Danes would hate. It starts with a base of great coffee, and finishes with plenty of cream and sugar.

Next up was the tea, and for me, it’s always going to be Chai (large, $4.35), especially when it’s a house blend. The Kookaburra’s is peppery with good notes of cardamom. Kookaburra has dairy alternatives for all, so no matter if you prefer almond, soy, coconut or cow’s milk, they’ve got you covered.

There’s also a nice selection of baked goods made in-house at the flagship location. When the barista pointed to a square covered in chocolate and explained that it was a Lamington ($3), a traditional Australian cake with strawberry filling, covered with chocolate and then sprinkled with coconut, I said yes immediately. The baked goods are served on little wood slabs, as adorable as they are Instagram-worthy – no filter needed. I loved the presentation, which made my little pie and lamington taste even better.

Grab a book, take your computer and go get some coffee and chill at The Kookaburra. While I can’t speak for the tunes all the time, whoever was DJing that day was killing it.

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