Along my recent travels, I stumbled across one of Geelong’s hidden gems. Come With Me is a Narnia themed café in East Geelong. You enter through the front door and then walk through a wardrobe entryway, right into the world of Narnia. Everywhere you look it’s winter, and everything is quirky and Narnia themed – there’s no cutting corners here. With Narnian themed sweets and drinks, it’s like being brought back to your childhood and what you imagined Narnia would be like. We chat to owner Leonie Hoekstra about her new adventure.
How did you decide on the theme for the café?
C.S. Lewis is one of my favourite authors. There is so much more to the Chronicles of Narnia than is written on the pages. I still read the books regularly to keep me inspired to make more special little things to fill my shop.
What fuelled your love for this series? Do you have a favourite story?
My love for these books is fuelled by the fact I’m a true Narnian and know the real meaning behind the stories. I love all of the series. Each book has a special lesson within the pages.
Your café is quirky and is a bit like an escape from reality, just like a book. Is this the idea you were going for when you opened up?
Yep! Quirky just like me. It was definitely my intention for my shop to be an escape from the mundane things of life, for myself as well as all those who enter. If I had to go out to work again I wanted it to be somewhere I’m happy to be; it had to be somewhere creative for me, and for others it had to be a place where they could just ‘imagine’ they were elsewhere for a while. I love seeing ‘more mature’ people get a little excited and a little childlike again because of where they are. It has never been my intention to make a space for kids, although they are welcome if they behave… or they could possibly be turned to stone by the Queen.
You have over 36 flavours of musk sticks, why did you decide to focus on these specific sweets?
Mmmmmm the musk sticks, or should I say flavour sticks? I wanted a 40’s style, Willy Wonka-ish kind of lolly section. I googled ‘how do I make musk’s sticks’ and the rest is history. I never stick, pardon the pun, to recipes.
Which is your favourite flavour?
My favourite flavour is lemon I think. It’s a little tart like myself. The lemon sticks remind me of how I used to enjoy sherbet.
Is there anything you want our readers to know about your café?
People just need to watch their step when they come in or they might find themselves somewhere totally unexpected!
Come With Me is located at 150 Garden Street, Geelong and is open Monday to Friday 9am-4pm. Check out the Instagram page @comewithme.garden
Written by Chloe Cicero