A community hub in Albion from a couple of seasoned hospo experts, a new West End favourite taking ethical cooking to the next level and a former fine-dining chef getting back to basics in New Farm – the Brisbane cafe scene has gone from strength to strength in 2017. Here are some of the best openings of the year.

Camp
Nick and Kristina Maschke’s combined CV has to be one of the best in the city. Between them, they’ve done time at John Mills Himself, Sourced Grocer, Strauss, Reverends and One Drop Specialty Coffee. It’s perhaps no surprise the husband-and-wife team is behind Camp, one of the best specialty coffee-focused openings of the year. Community is the name of the game here: Camp’s lead roaster is Sumner Park’s Parallel Roasters and the filter comes from East Brisbane’s Light Coffee. Food is based around quality local produce: free-range bacon burgers; mushrooms; peach and goat’s cheese on toast; and pastries from Crust and Co. It’s all dished up in a clean space with lots of natural timber, dark blue and greenery.

Hunter & Scout
In August this year Trish Walker and Jess Wyatt turned what was a poky Graceville op shop into Hunter & Scout, a lively, sprawling café. In a brick-lined, heritage-listed shopfront with all handmade, specially sourced furniture, it boasts one of the handsomest interiors in town. The courtyard out back is great too, with leafy trees, plants, timber accents and cane lampshades. The kitchen serves hearty portions of local produce with an elevated restaurant quality. Find cakes from James Street’s Jocelyn’s Provisions in the cabinet, with coffee by Albion’s Fonzie Abbott.

Grown
Sacha Muchall’s Grown opened in September and almost overnight became the new Brisbane yardstick for serious vegan cuisine. Using organic and sustainable produce from FoodConnect, everything on the menu – except for the bread and margarine – is made in-house (including the “vegemite”, served with avocado and sesame cheese on sourdough), with any waste sent to compost at the Jane Street community garden down the road. Muchall and Studio Lagom’s Will Ryan have created a minimalist space with indoor and alfresco seating. Keep your eye out for a dinner menu early next year, complete with all-vegan booze.

Naim
After being offered a brand-new space by Aria Property Group, Adi Shabtay and Guy Frawley opened up a South Brisbane location for their popular Paddington cafe Naim in May. With help from Melbourne designer Hana Hakim, the duo created a striking jade-tiled fit-out with mirrored ceilings, and an ornate white marble and chrome hand basin. It might be a world away in look from the homey Queenslander original, but the smaller location features the same popular pan-Middle Eastern inspired breakfasts and lunches. Hearty, warmly spiced salads and baguettes are available on the run, as are some select favourites from the Paddington menu.

Allpress
Allpress Espresso’s terrific new East Brisbane cafe, wholesale warehouse and barista training location effortlessly matches a slick, sophisticated fit-out to a genuine warmth and knowledge of specialty coffee. The Kiwi masters’ new Queensland base packs a concise menu of granola, various things on toast and delicious filled pastries. Running through the machine is Allpress’ Carmelo medium roast blend, while the cold and batch brews change regularly.

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Mylk + Ko
Ines Scholtes is a serious sweet tooth. So serious she gave up a career in law to pursue her passion, opening Mylk + Ko in New Farm in February. Taking over Vespa Pizza’s old spot on Merthyr Road charcoal, wood and white features dominate, with a smattering of green breaking up the monochrome. While decadent, many of Scholtes’s sweets also happen to be vegan and gluten or dairy free. The menu features an elaborate selection of acai bowls including the “Ferrero” and the “Snickers”, as well as smoothies, super “mylkshakes”, CocoWhip, and a small selection of savouries.

Vvaldmeer
A sign West End’s overflowing cafe scene is now dripping into neighbouring Highgate Hill, Vvaldmeer opened in November in a light and airy space on Gladstone Road. The brainchild of baristas Cam Milne and Alex Kathage, it’s a place of warmth and precision. The food menu is short and simple but special – think pretty plates of forest mushroom and house-cured salmon salad. The espresso is a crowd-pleaser from Cleanskin, the filter a slightly more exotic “Forest Sea” from First Fruits, with flavours or dried fruit and nutmeg.

Miss Jones
Miss Jones is the second cafe from the husband and wife team Daniel and Hannah Bowles, also behind popular New Farm spot Little Loco. This maybe feels like a more grown-up spot, catering to both the local working crowd and residents with a taste for a hearty breakfast. The room is bright and full of muted hues broken up by timber and greenery. Come for their all-day breakfast of eggs Benedict with hash and cheddar waffle, avocado, chorizo, chipotle hollandaise and poached eggs, or a proper lunch of corn and chorizo tacos or a Kewpie chicken burger.

Light Coffee
East Brisbane’s Light Coffee has become a haven for those who like their brews a cut above. Owner Eva Shao is dedicated to making sure everything from the beans to the temperature to the cup is just right. Filter coffee is Light’s specialty. Drinkers can choose from two beans – Kochere (Ethiopia) or Santa Isabel (Guatemala) – all roasted in-house in the Scandi-style cafe with a retro black-and-white chequered floor. The menu is light, with croissants from Danny’s Bread and baked goods from Torta Bella. Taiwanese-style tea, hot chocolate and organic sodas are available for non-coffee drinkers.

The Brunswick Project
After over a decade of working in stressful high-end Melbourne restaurants, fine-dining chef turned cafe owner Jimmy Williams was driven to get back to fun, simple food. The focus at his New Farm eatery The Brunswick Project is friendly service and a menu that avoids anything stuffy or over-complicated. Think bacon and eggs, avo and French toast, done exactly how you want. The interior is clean and pretty, with white walls and raw wood flooring detailed with copper and rose gold. Boozy lunches are an option with a selection of wine on tap and Stone & Wood beers.

Street Lab Specialty Coffee
An equal obsession with coffee and sneakers sets Street Lab Specialty Coffee apart from the rest of the Fortitude Valley cafe crowd. The light-industrial space is cool but unpretentious. Anyone is welcome to stop in and ogle the thousand dollar collections of sneakers on the wall, maybe grabbing a coffee, pastry or crostini with delicious topping (think nduja, sardine, and of course, avo) at the same time. The rotating menu of beans – roasted off-site by the Street Lab team – is sourced from Brazil, Ethiopia, Costa Rica and other coffee hotspots.

Honourable Mentions:
Loaded Food Co.
Doc Brown
The Single Guys CBD
Milk Box Coffee & Tuckshop