Brisbane’s breakfast restaurant boom of the mid to late 2010s did well and truly fizzle out after the pandemic.
Of all the cafes that have impressed us so far this year, perhaps only one could be considered a true full-service place. The others tend to be smaller places that take a simple idea further and do it well, or cater to specific pandemic demands, whether it’s specialty coffee, fancy sangas (and fancy household items ) or even flaky Portuguese pies. Here’s what to check.
And if you missed our recent roundups of Brisbane’s best restaurant and bar openings in 2022 (so far), find them here and here.
Bellissimo Bulimba Coffee, Bulimba
Bellissimo Coffee renovated its grungy Bulimba operation, completely reimagining the space as a chic full-service cafe in December (too late to make our ’21 lists). The venue retains its outdoor seating area, but the inside of the roastery and warehouse has been transformed into a beautifully appointed restaurant with terracotta tiles, polished concrete floors and marble countertops. A raised section in the back is adorned with long wooden banquettes, and there’s hanging greenery and pendant lighting throughout. The ceiling was left exposed, celebrating the place’s warehouse past. For food, a brunch menu includes truffle scramble; onion bhaji with sautéed spinach, poached eggs and cilantro yogurt; and a broccolini salad with ribbon cucumber, shredded fennel, edamame and pomegranate. A small plate with Mediterranean accents also makes an appearance at lunch. For drinks, there’s Bellissimo’s typically stellar range of coffees, served as an espresso, batch brew or cold drip, alongside a selection of cold drinks including an espresso hit, tea homemade ice cream and a banana-caramel smoothie. Later in the day, craft beer on tap, boutique Australian wine and spirits all feature prominently.
Coffee Anthology, CBD
Coffee Anthology closed its popular original store in October last year after owner Adam Wang could not agree terms for a new lease with its former landlords at 126 Margaret Street. It’s fair to say, however, that Wang has landed on her feet with Anthology’s terrific new premises. Located on Charlotte Street inside Midtown Centre, an ambitious office tower atop the Walter Reid facade, built in 1883 and listed as heritage, Anthology is the beachhead of a 700 square meter interior walkway called Intersection , which will eventually include a new Anthology Kitchen cafe, an outlet for cult Upper Mount Gravatt patisserie The Whisk, a guest roast bar and seating for 120 people. Clui Design of South Brisbane has created a tiered space that slopes down to large arched windows overlooking Charlotte Street. The final design incorporates the massive brick wall that supports Anthology’s coffee bar and features lots of stonework, arched brass elements, and warm lighting. What hasn’t changed is Anthology’s focus on showcasing the best roasters from across the country, including Padre, Proud Mary, Almanac and Passport – this remains a benchmark for specialty coffee in Brisbane. . The coffee is available as pour over, batch brew and of course espresso, through Wang’s favorite La Marzocco Strada EP coffee machine. Until it opens its own kitchen, Anthology is serving a selection of muffins made at sister venue Maillard Project just down the street, with sandwiches coming online soon.
Cordelia Sourdough Bakery, South Brisbane
Ania Kutek and Eddy Tice, the pair behind NYC Bagel Deli and Superthing, opened Cordelia Sourdough Bakehouse at the entrance to the Opera Building on Cordelia Street, featuring an industrial-inspired interior accented with touches of gold and lots of natural light. Cordelia’s menu includes stuffed bagels and croissants loaded with NYC Bagel Deli and Superthing, as well as decadent toast, served “really big, with lots of cheese”, and burgers served on buns, including a classic bacon and egg number and a smoked rib. with a boneless glazed pork chop, apple coleslaw, cheddar and pickles. For breads, Kutek and Tice make white sourdough and seed bread, light and dark rye, sourdough baguettes, and caramelized onion and cracked pepper bread. There’s a cupboard full of sweet baked goods, including a cinnamon roll, monkey bread, seasonal danishes, and classic croissants (pain au chocolat, plain, and almond). To complete the menu, a Basque cheesecake and sourdough waffles. The food is accompanied by Padre’s light to medium roast Daddy’s Girl espresso – the blend of choice at all Kutek and Tice locations.
If you say so, Saint Lucia
If You Say So by Eli Rami and Sam Holman opened in January in a tiny storefront on Gailey Road. Holman did much of the layout himself, including the large terrazzo-covered café bench. There’s a bright color scheme with terracotta pink walls and touches of greenery, while the building’s exterior has been painted white with dark blue highlights. A handful of tables are located indoors and outdoors. Rami and Holman also operate The Black Lab Coffee Roasters and took what they learned from opening cafes such as Blackout in Paddington and The New Black in Fortitude Valley (they have since sold the latter) and applied it to a concise menu. mainly oriented to take-out sales. There’s Blackout’s popular breakfast muffin (an English muffin filled with bacon, egg, cheese, pesto and mayonnaise), homemade croissants, Doughluxe donuts and Butterbing cookies. For drinks, Rami and Holman use Black Lab’s Platinum as their house mix, while there’s also cold drip and a selection of bottled cold drinks. There’s also batch brew on tap – customers can grab a cup off the counter and pour it themselves.
Lisboa Caffe, South Brisbane
After many construction delays, Lisboa Caffe finally opened on Hope Street in April, serving pastéis de nata (Portuguese cream pies) and Padre coffee. It’s the realization of a seven-year dream for owner Joe Rocha, who started making flaky, perfectly blistered pies at the former food incubator-turned-restaurant and Wandering Cooks Farm. The layout of Hope Street is fairly simple, with white tile flooring, pops of red, and a scattering of greenery. Rocha says it was important to ensure the layout allowed customers to watch the pies being made in front of them. Behind the counter, you can see the shell – made from Pepe Saya cultured butter – molding itself into shape. Then it’s filled with custard and baked in an extremely hot oven (much hotter than a home oven can achieve) to a lightly caramelized top with a silky creme brulee-like filling. In addition to the traditional pastéis de nata, Rocha offers a Nutella version; a tasty goat cheese, walnut and honey tart; and a chicken and herb pie. There are also miniature versions of pastéis de nata and a classic Portuguese almond tart. Rocha plans to introduce more items to the track, including a full breakfast menu.
Nug General Store, Fortitude Valley
Nug General Store opened at the end of May in the former premises of Cakes & Shit at the Bakery Lane end of Fortitude Valley. Owners Sarah Baldwin, Jarrod Applebee, and Shane Phillips have revamped the space with wood, tile, and crazy cobblestone. Nug sells staples and novelty homewares curated by Applebee and Phillips (owners of Finnley Home in California Lane), as well as a rotating menu of sandwiches and salads prepared by Baldwin, who is best known for her famous restaurant Joy. Nug is neatly divided into two small pieces. The first has a counter with a display case filled with cakes, fresh fruit and more, while the second is dominated by a large communal table for those who want to stop and eat. Everywhere, wooden shelves are stocked with locally made pasta, rice, oils, passata and everything in between. For housewares, Nug offers serving boards from The Wood People, candles from Black Blaze, and stainless steel vases from Urban Eden, among many other items. For food, Baldwin prepares a five-sandwich menu, backed by a rotating selection of salads. The sangas change every two weeks, but expect creations such as crisp shrimp and lettuce, and a vegan tofu number served over fresh ciabatta. You can help them with Semi-Pro coffee brewed by Moccamaster, if you plan to stay.
Luke Reimers (Mr Chester) and Jesse Williamson (best known for his barista tenure at Blackout Paddington) opened Priorities in early April in a charming milky white wooden plank space on Samford Road in Alderley. A nod to post-Covid simplicity, its offer plays the cards up: coffee, pastries, baguettes and wine during the day, the place transforming into a wine bar on Friday evening and a reception area on Saturday evening . From its café-bar, Priorities uses Industry Beans’ Newstead blend in a custom Sanremo Cafe Racer espresso machine, with guest roasters featured on the batch brew and filter. There’s also a short selection of cold drinks, including cold brew, juices, kombucha, and cascara. For food, Cordelia Sourdough Bakehouse provides pastries such as croissants and donuts; take-out sourdough breads; and ham-salad and chicken-salad baguette sandwiches. The wine list is a constantly rotating selection of around 20-30 bottles that favors small producers, drink now.
Mountain River Pastry: The famous dessert maker graduated from Salisbury’s Food Connect in his own natty space in Runcorn.
Pastry shop : Craft’d Grounds offers a European-inspired bakery and deli offering breads, paninis, pastries, pastas, and charcuterie boards.
Neighbor: The Bunker Coffee team are opening a stylish take-out spot (think salads, sweets, breads and wine) next to Milton’s famous original.
Kurtosh: The Sydney import arrives in Brisbane, serving up kürtőskalács – crispy, caramelized rolls of dough with a soft, brioche interior – in a stylish storefront in the West Village.