Want exceptional coffee in Brisbane? The CBD is your best bet. Coffee Anthology, John Mills Himself, Strauss, Ricochet and Edward Specialty Coffee all top the lists of local bean fiends – the smaller tenancies available in the city suit operators who want to do just one thing, and do it well.
Not that the market is anywhere near saturated. Brisbane’s sprawl starts with its rambling CBD, and away from the spines of Edward and Elizabeth streets things can get very middling very quickly.
Only. addresses one of these black spots along Queen Street. Quite literally, in one sense: Scandinavian minimalism might be popular, but Fortitude Valley-based design firm The Retail Designers has created a space that’s startlingly white and bright. Like Acoffee in Melbourne, it’s perhaps more akin to an Apple store than a cafe.
Owners Arthur Graczyk and Paul Crossland want people to feel awake when they walk in.
The narrow tenancy is cleverly laid out to pump through the numbers. One long, unbroken bar with coffee at one end and salads at the other, it encourages an easy, circular flow for grab-and-go customers. There’s just a single simple bench along one wall for those keen to hang around.
The coffee is Sydney’s Five Senses, served espresso or as a batch brew, and a rotating selection of salads is matched with the customer’s choice of protein. Typical options include thinly sliced fennel with chilli, lemon, quinoa and roasted tomatoes. And smoked-paprika pumpkin, black bean and spinach. Matched protein might be chicken, felafel or eggs. The rest of the cabinet is populated by freshly baked pastries, croissants, canelés and cakes.