All posts by Narrelle

Melbourne Research: Brother Baba Budan

This cafe, at 359 Little Bourke St, Melbourne , is named for the man who reputedly first smuggled coffee beans out of Yemen (and consequently brought joy to the world).

A version of BBB appears in the first chapter of Number One Fan. The cafe isn’t identified by name in the story, but the cosy, industrial ‘distressed’ look of the walls, the metal scoop that is a door handle and, of course, the inverted forest of chairs hanging from the ceiling are reflected in the look of the story version.

In 2009, BBB was run by the owner of North Melbourne’s St Ali, another great Melbourne cafe. (In 2019 it gets its house roast from Seven Seeds, another Melbourne coffee superstar.) 

It’s tiny, with one communal table and a few stools scattered around periphery benches. The only food it serves are a few pastries, which are also excellent. I rarely have to queue for coffee, but there can occasionally be a short wait while visitors armed with guide books come to take pictures of the ceiling’s bristling chair legs and of course the coffee.

I prefer other people to make my coffee – an espresso-machine cafe latte is da bomb! – but we get their house blend and their decaf for making plunger coffee at home, for those hours when *gasp* BBB is closed! 

I suppose it’s cheating to call it research to drink here, but I’ll do that anyway, because that makes me happy, and you should do the things that make you happy, right?

Because it’s tiny, there’s not always somewhere to sit and enjoy watching the staff being so professional and the Melbourne coffee crowd being so very appreciative of their excellent brew. 

Instead, bring a Keep Cup or equivalent, get your coffee to take away, and sit on the steps of the Melbourne GPO (though not at its own excellent cafe on its terrace, obviously). Contemplate your delicious sins while watching the trams, and decide if you’ve done enough of them.

Quintette of Questions: Elise Clarke

Answering five questions for me today is:

Elise Clarke

1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how did you choose the title?

My Lady Original. It’s in a series but luckily the editor picked it for me.

2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book?

Ooh: Santiago Cabrera for Jack (see him as Aramis) and someone like Isabella Bird, the Victorian explorer, for Hermione – she had to be slightly batty to manage what she did, very talented and with a mind of her own.  I love the anime book of her.

Hermione and Jack

3. What five words best describe your story?

Prince Charming fights fairy tales.

4. Who is your favourite fictional couple or team?

Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester; she’s so much stronger/worthier than he is, and he loves her for it.  He’s made some terrible mistakes in life but he gives her the chance to have a better life of her own, and he always has her back.  You can really see them loving each other forever.

5. What song should be the theme of your book?

Super Trouper by Abba – completely the wrong period but a brilliant, upbeat song about someone who seems to have everything (Jack) but needs someone slightly mad (Hermione) to bounce in so he’ll be “shining like the sun”.  It’s also pretty much guaranteed that Hermione would “be changing everything”!

About My Lady Original

Jack, Lord Darenth is London’s favourite paragon, staggeringly handsome, always fashionable, and unshakeably single. But when The Conqueror, a smash–hit novel casts him as a thinly veiled, lovelorn Prince Charming searching for the perfect match, all of society loses their collective heads – and their hearts – and pandemonium breaks all over Jack’s well–ordered life. 

Lady Hermione thinks Lord Darenth is handsome enough, when she bothers to think about him at all. For her, he is but the best friend of her own dear friend Sandy, the man she is considering for a husband. But when the sequel to The Conqueror is published featuring her as a drippy Cinderella heroine to Darenth’s hero, she is galvanised into action. Ignoring the book doesn’t work, so it’s best to proceed as if it doesn’t matter. Until life starts imitating art, and suddenly the possibility of a love story in truth becomes all too real…

About Elise Clarke

Elise Clarke is a history fanatic with a weakness for tall, handsome men, humour and the non-traditional.  She lives in England with her family.

Follow Elise at www.eliseclarke.com

Buy My Lady Original