Teaming Up Talents
Creating an inviting café where people can enjoy good food, great coffee and take time out to relax with friends in an inviting space, is what Armchair Collective is all about. COVERED. took time out to sample the venue firsthand.
To be the number one place where people come to catch up with friends,” is how Armchair Collective owner Songpol Manoonpong describes his goal when he and wife Lyn took over the business.
“We wanted to be a place where people came to enjoy breakfast in a friendly and warm atmosphere, then came back again and again to stay and chat for a while,” he adds.
Five years after taking over the Armchair Collective, in Mona Vale, from the Boathouse Group, it is just that, a home away from home where the standout is definitely the friendly staff.
“Where friendly meets happy,” says Songpol, “We offer a friendly, happy culture and all the staff must share this same attitude.”
Songpol, who grew up in New Zealand, and Lyn, who is from Bangkok, met at the University of NSW where they were studying Accounting, Commerce and IT. However, being part of a family who had run Thai restaurants for almost 30 years, Songpol had more than just a little hospitality experience.
He admits he had something of a fascination for coffee and bought his own coffee machine before moving into the café scene. Quality coffee is just one of the many attractions at Armchair Collective, which also combines a homewares and gift section with a home styling service.
The coffee is Single O, a boutique roaster fast becoming an industry leader, who try to always source ethically and environmentally sound beans. Armchair Collective uses the YEE-HAH! blend. It’s a popular choice with Songpol saying he quickly discovered customers in the area liked a strong blend of coffee.
Open daily from 7am to 4pm, with the possibility of dinner openings later in the year, Armchair Collective offers a wide variety of food to cater for all ages and tastes. Head chef Marc Lasoski travelled the world for his skills and his last boss was the VP of Russia, where he was cooking on a super yacht.
By far, the most popular item on the menu is the delicious Sweet Corn Fritter, served with double smoked maple bacon, avocado salsa and poached egg. A seasonal menu ensures that the freshest produce is always on offer but customer favourites are available all-year-round.
Songpol says that while the move towards healthy options is in evidence, old favourites like the Housemade Beef Brisket Burger and Fish and Chips, are still popular lunchtime choices.
Most of the cakes are gluten free and Armchair Collective uses local suppliers for their ingredients and always sources the freshest and best items available.
Sunday mornings are their busiest time, when many of their customers take a walk from Newport to Mona Vale beach and pop into the café for breakfast and coffee. The majority of customers are locals but others travel from St Ives, Narrabeen and Newport. And all come in search of that truly special Armchair Collective experience.
9A Darley St East, Mona Vale
(02) 9999 2871
Open 7 days - 7am to 4pm