Not long ago, I had never been to Albany. Not because I don’t like it or because it is a long way away, it was just circumstances. At least, I thought I had never been to Albany. I found out later that it was actually a regular holiday spot for my family while I was growing up — but that is beside the point. In any case, I was over the moon to have the opportunity to cruise down the highway to visit the newly opened café called Fredericks.
Before I get too deeply into the intricacies of the café, I have to comment on the outstanding natural beauty of Albany. The town is about five hours south of Perth and has some incredible topography, basically being a range of large (for WA) peaks surrounded by the endlessness of the Southern ocean. There have been a number of difficulties in opening a hip, specialty venue 500km from the State capital. Gavan explained that it means if he is searching for something unique or interesting, he must find the product and pay extra for the freight to get it delivered, something the family is happy to do in order to provide the customer with the best possible quality.
Fredericks is the realisation of a dream for Gavan and Samantha Pitman, and represents a massive lifestyle shift for them. Gavan has spent the past 20 years as the operations manager for the Albany hospital and Samantha has spent most of her working life in the cosmetic industry; before that they had a cattle farm. But they both have a passion for coffee and food so, along with their sons Jackson, Jesse and Samuel, they took a leap of faith and moved into the café.
The café is located on the corner of Peel’s Place and York St, which is the main street in town. The café that was on the site before Fredericks had been on the market for a long time and was starting to look a little tired. So Gavan and Sam gutted and redesigned the interior, giving the café a modern, fashionable feel. The first project was to remove the wall to the kitchen, which opened up the space and removed the feeling that there were ‘secrets’ in the kitchen. The view from the alfresco is a dream; it looks out onto the strip which is perfect for a bit of people watching, as well as offering endless views over the harbour.
They also built a stage for the coffee machine and re-designed the front windows, thus creating an open and vibrant feel. A 3 group Synesso Hydra sits proudly on the stage they built. It’s one of only a handful of Synessos in country WA, and the only Hydra outside Perth. They have chosen the Dark Horse blend for their coffee and it is just as edgy as their machinery. The Hydra’s ability to pressure profile the blend makes this a great specialty coffee venue.
A lot of research went into the concept for the café. Gavan and Sam regularly travelled to both Perth and Melbourne to find out what was in vogue on the café scene. They designed the menu accordingly, with organic ingredients (where possible) mostly produced by local farmers in the fantastic Great Southern region. Lunch is a hit with classic dishes like their BLT on Sourdough and the Fredericks’ club sandwich. There are also some interesting new items like beef fillet on Turkish or the Cuban, which is slow roasted spiced pork with a Kasundi relish, as well as their own take on the Rueben Sandwich.
As I said earlier, Albany is a glorious place to visit. I have been working a lot outside Perth recently, and it’s brilliant to see a specialty venue driving change in a place like Albany. Regardless of the adversity that is caused by distance, Fredericks have powered through and no one can complain anymore that it is hard to find great coffee on holiday!
Corner York St & Peels Place
Albany, WA 6330
Monday — Friday 7:00am — 4:00pm
Saturday 7:00am — 3:00pm
© Photo provided with permission by David Sobik Photography. All rights reserved by photographer.