Nabo (pronounced ney-bo) is the Danish word for ‘neighbour’ and it is a fitting name for the Scandinavian-inspired cafe owned by Cameron Bobbitt and Sarah Delaine.
Partners in business and life, Cameron and Sarah explain: “We used to live across the road and when we decided that we wanted to open a cafe we wanted to put something nice right here – a special spot for the community to come to.”
You can feel that sense of community as soon as you step into the serene cafe, designed with nods to Danish mid-century style combined with a clean Japanese aesthetic. Friendly faces poke their heads in, mums wheel their prams into the outdoor tables and Cameron and Sarah, both of whom grew up in the inner west, greet visitors by name.
Locals are loving specialty roasts from Market Lane Coffee and the unique menu that avoids the typical brunch style cafe offerings in favour of an approachable menu inspired by Scandinavian cuisine.
“We wanted to highlight vegetables, but without being typecast as a ‘healthy cafe’ or ‘vegetarian cafe’. Many people don’t even realise that the menu is meat-free!” laughs Sarah.
Cameron and Sarah’s focus on fresh produce extends to ensuring that their suppliers are local, ethical, sustainable, and deliver a high-quality product. “Before we even came up with the menu we had some suppliers we were really adamant to work with based on their ethical practices,” Sarah explains.
The creative crafted menu is completely seasonal and changes regularly to ensure all ingredients featured are fresh and sustainable. Over summer it might be smoked heirloom tomatoes; in autumn it might be the spotlight pickled peaches with basil.
“It’s been fun to experiment with Scandinavian cooking techniques like smoking and pickling, mix in modern concepts and rework everything to be vegetarian,” says Sarah.
So what’s next for Nabo Cafe? Cameron hints at plans to move beyond the standard daytime cafe hours. “We’re wanting to open for casual dinners on weekends and then organise a monthly set-menu dinner in collaboration with local chefs.”
As for Sarah, her next big venture is to open up a physical base for her online store, right next to Nabo.
Vlaer, Icelandic for a gentle breeze, will sell a combination of homewares and skincare, all made in Australia and New Zealand. The plan is to open it up not only as its own unique store, but use it as an expanded function space for Nabo’s exciting upcoming events, with Sarah remarking, “There’ll definitely be a conversation happening between the two spaces.”