When Tom Wilcock moved to Brisbane from Currumbin, he was looking to open a cafe in East Brisbane. But when an opportunity arose to take over a space in the new Fifth Avenue Lifestyle Hub, he fell in love with leafy Hawthorne.
“When you drive into Hawthorne, it has a different feeling to the city,” Wilcock tells Broadsheet. “The area is very community-based, which is similar to Currumbin.”
Hawthorne Coffee opened its doors last Tuesday. For the previous five years, Wilcock operated Bancroft Roasters Currumbin (his sister is looking after the place while he’s in Brisbane) – and his new venue features a Bancroft-roasted house blend called the Hawthorne.
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The small, light-filled space on leafy Riding Road has been beautifully fitted out with pastel colours. There are just five tables inside, with another five set to dot the pavement once Wilcock receives council approval. There’s also a takeaway coffee window and a small area for four-legged friends.
The compact kitchen is turning out a concise menu of sourdough toasties and house-baked muffins. Toasties range from classic options – like the ham, tomato, cheddar, mozzarella and aioli number – to more elaborate combinations, like the thyme, garlic, spinach and truffle mushroom toastie with a gooey cheese mix. There’s also a breakfast toastie with two fried eggs, streaky bacon, mozzarella and your sauce of choice, and a humble grilled cheese named the Plain Jane with sharp Mersey Valley cheddar, creamy mozzarella and salt flakes. Breakfast options are rounded out with staples like avocado on toast, an acai bowl and a bacon and egg muffin.
Buttery pastries are supplied by Brasserie Bread, and muffins will rotate seasonally with flavour combinations such as raspberry and white chocolate, and blueberry and lemon curd.
Since opening, Wilcock has been pleasantly surprised by the response from the local community. Having been in the coffee business for 10 years, he didn’t expect the new venture to be busy from day one.
“I want to create a community environment and [develop] a great relationship with the customers,” he says. “[So far] it’s been the same people coming back [each day], which is a good sign.”