Bowen Hills is the place to be right now. Over on King Street, a spate of new venues – The Lamb Shop, Banoi and Welcome to Bowen Hills among them – has kickstarted the renaissance of a traditionally commercial area.
Now the magic is spreading to other parts of the suburb, and earlier this week the immensely popular I Heart Brownies opened a brand new outlet on the intersection of Hamilton Place and Campbell Street. It replaces the original Bakery Lane store. Owner Lulu Purnell says she’s been on the lookout for a new site for over a year.
“We just outgrew [our previous site] by leaps and bounds,” she says. “[Also], finding parking in the Valley was really difficult.”
The new venue is also about better fitting the needs of the I Heart Brownies business model.
“The Valley has proven itself to be more of a night-time area,” she says. “It's very difficult for businesses, even ones with established brands like ours, to get the numbers through to justify a retail space.”
The new venue, formerly snack bar Destresso, is a lot larger than its Bakery Lane predecessor, covering two connecting shops – one for the bakery and the other for the cafe. Purnell is planning to use the new space for cooking classes.
“There are baking basics that a lot of cookbooks assume you just know,” she says. “They are really simple, but there are a few tricky techniques that can get you over the line.”
The design of the space expands on the eclectic style of I Heart Brownies. There are bright pink and red stripes across the full length of the cafe (which Purnell painted herself), pop culture stickers on the coffee machine and a huge cactus in the corner.
Outside, two walls – one a mural of bold red lips, and the other the iconic heart – were painted by Purnell’s friend Marcie Lam with Instagrammers in mind. The rest of the cafe is cleanly finished with lightly coloured wooden furniture and hanging planters.
You can still choose from the full menu of brownie hearts in 12 flavours, including dairy-free options. There’s also Merlo coffee, pimped up milkshakes, blue and pink lemonade mocktails and vegan optional sundaes.
I Heart Brownies Bowen Hills
17 Hamilton Place, Bowen Hills
0411 311 519
Mon to Fri 7am–6pm