Gustavo is an artist. His family has had a cafe in Kings Cross for many years called Cafe Hernandez. It is one of those all night places with the rich smells of coffee that is roasted on the premises in a gigantic roasting contraption that dominates the rear of the shop. Their coffees bring people from all over Sydney.
The bohemian atmosphere is enhanced by the many oil paintings that cover the walls, mostly painted by his mother, Paquita.
Paquita is the reason I know Gustavo. When I was a young artist newly arrived in Kings Cross she had a small gallery at the Kings Gate. She was kind to me and I never forgot. Gustavo was there but I didn't really know him so well then. It was many years later when I returned to Kings Cross that I discovered Cafe Hernandez by taking one of my late night cafe drawing groups there. When I saw the signature 'Paquita' on the paintings I told the barrista that I once knew an artist with that same name. He said "that was my mother". She was living back in Spain then.
I took these photos last week at the new cafe restaurant that Gustavo and his family has opened at the top of Burton Street near Taylor Square. Like the other cafe he has paintings on the wall, but it is more a larger restaurant style with tables under the trees and is very lovely. It is in the bottom and rear of an old stone building that fronts Oxford Street, but a curved stone railing and path leads one around back to the Darlinghurst Cafe Hernandez. Just a few steps away there is the noise and bustle of Taylor Square, yet these few short steps take one to an idyllic peace.
And while the big coffee roaster is still at the Kings Cross all night cafe, he does sell his famous coffees at the new place. He also tells me that Paquita is back in Sydney. I hope to get to say hello to her soon.