Penrith’s café culture is having a moment. The suburb on the outskirts of Sydney and at the foothill of the Blue Mountains isn’t really known for swish wine bars and hipster burger joints, but it seems the mood out West is changing.
The newest kid on the block has brought style and design to the forefront too—Percy Plunkett Café has been designed by Matt Woods, the man responsible for inner-city gems like Bloodwood, Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar, and Allegra Dining in SJB’s award-winning Casba building.
The new Penrith café has been built into a heritage cottage, which was once the home of the venue’s namesake, Percy Plunkett. After Percy there was a fire, a restoration, and most recently—a Thai restaurant. Matt and team wanted to maintain the beauty of the Gothic Revival era architecture, but to transform the brick home’s dark, uninviting, and pokey rooms into a contemporary café.
To honour the building’s past, but still cast it into the future, original and new elements have been mixed and matched throughout. Made up of a series of dining rooms, the central corridor has been reimagined as a conservatory—complete with clear roof, hanging pink flowers, a marbled kitchen pass, and encaustic tiles in soft olive green. Peeling off the corridor, rooms feature slight variations in surface finish and texture to give each an individual character. Cornices, ceiling roses, architraves and skirting’s have all been embellished as to add a little seriousness to more plain rooms.
The project champions local design too: a perfect mix of Australian made and designed surfaces, furniture and lighting provided the contemporary edge, counterbalancing the more traditional architectural elements.