Welcome to Daseti, Thornbury’s first and only taxidermy shop, coffee bar and hair salon
The coffee machine is next to a cabinet filled with a collection of alabaster rodent skulls and the delicate frame of a long-dead bat. To get to the toilets, you’ll walk through the hair salon and take a left at the framed tarantulas.
Daseti is what Germans would call a wunderkammer – a cabinet of curiosities. There are elk busts, rusty grave markers and religious icons as far as the eye can see. This ultimate slashie business is the work of Darryell Hood, Sean Middleton and Tina Cavallo – pals for 26 years – who recently ditched their jobs to sell oddities, cakes and haircuts. To call the collection eclectic would be putting it mildly. The sugar for your coffee sits between the scorpion tank and a reading collection comprising National Geographic mags, a book on the Ararat insane asylum and Lady Gaga’s memoir. They’re building a snake enclosure under the stairs, and if you’re extra good, Middleton might invite you to open up a real human skull.
It might sound confronting, but it’s not. This isn’t a place where death is fetishized so much as demystified – it feels more like you’re in a pristine anthropologist's office with your favourite science teacher than out the back of a New Orleans voodoo shack. Daseti is bright, airy, and friendly. There are bright stools on the pavement and a cabinet of pretty little cakes. It’s just that your latte might also come with a session of stick insect holding and a lesson in Australia’s taxidermy and quarantine laws (FYI: you can’t stuff or sell native species. Also, it’s easier to import human bones than animals – go figure).
Most things are for sale (take note, bar owners of Melbourne), with bones and trinkets starting at $40 and working up to a fat wad of green bills for the biggest pieces of taxidermy. The food options are fairly straightforward - a rotating selection of cakes, juices, and a ham panino, but coming soon there are plans for beers and wines. Till then, the chance to smash sugar and simultaneously look inside a bat is good enough for us – not to mention the under-12 crowd. We love it.
|Venue name:||Daseti Coffee Bar|
304/306 St Georges Rd
|Opening hours:||Sat-Wed 7am-6pm; Thu-Fri 7am-8pm|