There is a lot to discover behind the doors of popular Rokeby Road cafe-cum-giftshop, Boucla. Most Subiaco foodies are no doubt familiar with the cafe, but to many who visit only periodically, the gourmet and giftware store is a well-kept secret.
There is a lot to discover behind the doors of popular Rokeby Road cafe-cum-giftshop, Boucla.
Most Subiaco foodies are no doubt familiar with the cafe, but to many who visit only periodically, the gourmet and giftware store is a well-kept secret.
Inside, Boucla is a real treasure trove. Stained glass lamps hang from the ceiling, and the shelves and walls of the small cafe are filled with oriental silver ware, mosaics, jewels, and gourmet produce.
Owner Despina Kannis Tanner opened Boucla in 2004 at the quieter Kings Park Road end of Rokeby Road.
The former caterer said the cafe gift shop was a very personal project, and she wanted to make food influenced by her Greek background and use her own recipes.
“The cafe took off straight away, I was happy that this end of town was happening and that we were away from the main streets,” Mrs Kannis Tanner says. “I live around the corner, so it was a perfect venue for me to start a new cafe.”
Mrs Kannis Tanner starts cooking at 7am, ready for a 7.30am opening.
“I like bringing warm cakes straight out of the oven for my customers,” she told Gusto.
Personal service is another feature of Boucla, with Mrs Kannis Tanner on familiar terms with all of the customers who came in the door during a recent visit by Gusto.
The cafe sits about 20 people inside and up to six people on the front terrace.
The alfresco area, which was expanded in November, has a collection of milk crates covered with oriental carpets and baroque cushions with low colourful tables. It seats about 10, and also features an Arabic-style wooden roof that allows the light through.
Mrs Kannis Tanner makes all her cakes from scratch every day, which include a ricotta and chocolate cake, while her aunty makes traditional baklavas.
The menu features traditional Greek dishes such as fresh spanakopitas (spinach and feta filo pie) and babotsaki (eggplant stuffed with lamb and cheese). Salads and fresh rolls are also available.
The cafe also offers a mezzo plate, which is regularly changed, and serves Fiori as well as Moroccan, Thai and Persian Rose teas.
Mrs Kannis Tanner says she has continued a family tradition by opening her business in Subiaco.
She spent her childhood on and around Rokeby Road, where her family ran several businesses after migrating to Australia from the Greek Island of Kastelorizo in the 1930s.
The island is one of the closest Greek islands to Turkey, which explains why Boucla has a mixture of traditional Greek and Middle Eastern products.
The wall behind the counter features pictures of Mrs Kannis Tanner’s family at the time they came to Australia.
The Kannis family used to own six shops on Rokeby Road between the 1930s and the 1970s.
Mrs Kannis Tanner’s father, John Kannis, had four sisters and a brother, and their businesses included London Fish Supply, Mick’s Seafood, The Busy Bee Bakery, and Mr Kannis’ tailor shop, The Better Tailor.
Mrs Kannis Tanner says in the anthology Tales of a singular city: Subiaco since the 1970s, to which she contributed by telling the story of her family, that the opening of Boucla meant her “connection with Subiaco had come full circle.”
Mrs Kannis Tanner started the popular John Street Café in Cottesloe, which she ran from 1983 to 1985. She also started Kafeneon on Hampden Road in Nedlands, and Café Positano on Stirling Highway, before talking a break to look after her children.
During that time, Mrs Kannis Tanner also ran a catering company called Thespian.
Boucla is open from 7.30am and closes at 5pm Monday to Friday, and 3pm on Saturday.