We’re well past the halfway point of 2020 and, despite the coronavirus pandemic, there’s been a bunch of exciting additions to Brisbane’s cafe scene. From an immaculate pure pink croissanterie to the Montrachet crew’s brilliant new brunch spot, here are our favourites of the year so far.
Cups on Melbourne
From the Cups and Wells team comes this neat little South Brisbane cafe. Cups on Melbourne has the same clean design aesthetic as its sister venue, but applies it to a semi-al fresco space. A large, handsome kiosk decked out in VJ boards and white subway tiles faces the intersection of Melbourne and Edmonstone streets, spilling out one side into a shady brick-walled patio. For espresso, Cups on Melbourne is serving Industry Bean’s Newstead blend as first pour, and it’s also offering the Melbourne import’s classic Fitzroy blend and a rotating single origin. Batch brew, pour-overs and tasting flights are also available. The coffee is backed by specialty teas and Hrvst St juices. Food revolves around a menu of fancy jaffles, with fillings that include truffle and mushroom, and ham, cheese and caramelised onion. Otherwise, there are acai bowls and a cabinet stocked for the most part with vegan and gluten-free sweets from The Bake List.
One of Byron Bay’s most celebrated roasters takes on the big smoke with this tiny Kangaroo Point cafe. Moonshine Coffee is not much more than a hole in the wall and street-side courtyard, with an enormous fig tree out front and the Story Bridge looming in the background. Inside, there’s a long timber bench with a clutch of bar stools and a small retail area stocking pantry items from Byron businesses such as Mayde Tea, Three Blue Ducks and Church Farm. And that’s about it. For now, Moonshine is complementing its espresso and batch-brew coffee with Hrvst St juices, Good Happy Kombucha and Simple Organic Sodas. For food, there’s a rotating menu of toasties, Jocelyn’s Provisions sweets and Wardell pies, with a more extensive brunch menu in the works. It’s a little venue that packs a big punch, with a throng of Kangaroo Point locals socially distancing outside most Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Superthing opened on March 24, a day after the government’s shutdown of all non-essential businesses. In response, Eddy Tice and Ania Kutek initially operated their eye-catching pink croissanterie as a slick takeaway joint, before chef Andrew Cameron came onboard in May to cook a menu featuring dishes such as poke sourdough toast with house-cured salmon, avocado, edamame and soy egg, and braised beef cheeks with truffle creamed polenta and heirloom carrots. Still, it’s the baked goods that are the star. There are croissants, of course – bechamel cheese and ham, chocolate and hazelnut, twice-baked tiramisu – but also almond danishes, zesty, bitter orange custard cruffins and vanilla custard morning buns. The food is washed down with Padre coffee and a short selection of smoothies and other cold drinks.
Coffee Supreme’s Tom Cooney opened this tiny laneway cafe with former Coffee Supreme manager Jack Wakefield and soccer player Scott Neville. Finding Anytime is where the fun begins – there are two ways to get there. You can walk down a Mary Street laneway or enter through the back of men’s clothing store Urbbana, which fronts onto Edward Street. Whichever way you arrive, you’ll notice the venue is small – very small – with a tiny deck and one cosy white-walled room. With limited seats, the main idea is for people to take away. Anytime is using Coffee Supreme’s Five Star Day as a house blend and rotating through single origins for espresso. Batch brew is also a focus, with the duo investing in a Fetco coffee brewer. A small, straightforward food menu has been designed to minimise waiting time. Most items come from Salisbury’s Sprout Artisan Bakery, including cinnamon rolls and a croissant loaf sliced in-house and loaded with seasonal toppings.
Northside Coffee Brewers
Peter Gloftis opened Northside Coffee Brewers in early July, serving espresso and batch brew to the mix of locals and office workers that mills about King Street Monday to Saturday. It’s not much more than a coffee bar with a handsome ribbed-timber front and a bench on which to knock back a brew and an accompanying counter pastry from Sprout Artisan Bakery. But Northside also acts as a north-of-the-river outpost for micro-roastery Black Sheep Coffee, which is owned by Peter’s brother, Mark Gloftis. For espresso, Northside is pouring two custom Black Sheep blends, one a clean-drinking creation designed specifically for black coffee, and a second for milk coffee. There’s also a batch brew that’s being used to showcase rotating single origins, along with bottled cold-drip coffee and juices. Beyond the pastries, there’s the choice of two breakfast burgers – one built on free-range scrambled eggs, the other with eggs and double-smoked bacon – that come with caramelised onion, cheese and mayo.
This beautifully conceived Graceville cafe originally opened just 10 days before the federally mandated March 23 Covid shutdown. It meant Plentiful spent much of its first couple of months offering a reduced menu. But as the state government has relaxed restrictions, it’s leaned more and more back into its initial concept: brunch “with a twist” helped down by Five Senses specialty coffee. In the kitchen, Dan Choi and Ross Jennings are cooking a menu that elevates standard Australian breakfast and lunch with flashes of Choi’s Korean heritage. For coffee, there’s a blend and rotating single origin for espresso alongside a daily filter brew. Elsewhere, there are smoothies, Hrvst St juices and Heirloom hot chocolate. The venue itself is an understated looker, with a thoughtful, less-is-more design courtesy of We Are Mercury and brilliant branding by Autumn Studio.
To create a coffee blend entirely from Colombian coffee beans. Cafetal owes its existence to this simple pursuit, Andres Rodriguez utilising close connections with farmers in his native Colombia to stock an eye-catching roastery on East Brisbane’s Overend Street, the former warehouse home of a stainless-steel manufacturer. Rodriguez has knocked out a couple of offices, installed some plumbing and turned a front windowed area into a coffee bar. It’s very much angled towards grab-and-go, but there’s also a cosy seating area among the sacks of beans if you’d prefer to stick around. At the bar, there’s espresso, batch brew, V60 and cold brew, alongside hot chocolate and chai from Ballarat’s Grounded Pleasures. Cafetal’s go-to blend is called Overend, which incorporates beans from two different farms in Colombia’s Santander and Huila regions. It’s backed by single origins and Cafetal’s Exotica Series, which sees Rodriguez working with individual farmers to control for variables such as time, temperature, oxygen and water.
More a bistro and patisserie than a straight-up cafe, Mica nevertheless became one of the city’s go-to morning destinations in June when it unveiled a concise, elevated breakfast menu. Those familiar with Montrachet’s celebrated French cooking will recognise a few of its signature moves. There’s pastis-and-citrus-cured Ora King salmon with whipped fromage blanc, a poached free-range egg, dill and sourdough; ironbark cold-smoked cauliflower that’s pan-roasted and served with avocado, salt-cured organic tomatoes and harissa oil; and a dish playfully named “Like Eggs Benedict, But Better” that features red-gum-smoked pork jowl finished on the grill and accompanied by a toasted muffin, a free-range egg, and chardonnay-vinegar hollandaise. Elsewhere, there’s a classic omelette, free-range bacon and eggs, and shared appetisers such as crumpets, sheep’s milk yoghurt with granola, and pain perdu served with anise sugar, mandarin compote and fresh vanilla whipped cream. The food is helped down by Vittoria coffee, a selection of cold drinks, and a wine list evenly split between French and Australian drops.