When Accor wanted a new cafe on the ground floor of its Spring Hill Novotel property, a friend of Keelan Bijker was quick to suggest he apply. Two months later, the young entrepreneur is opening the doors of Two Donkeys.
Bijker has spent the last few years as a full-time musician, touring as drummer for Brisbane band, The Jungle Giants. His hospitality experience? “I worked at a coffee shop in 2012 for about six months,” he says. “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind. It’s been good, though, deciding what you want to do and how you want to do it.”
Bijker’s passion for music is on display throughout the space. There’s the Rolling Stone slipped in the magazine pile. The curated playlist. And then there’s the team involved: Sam Sargent of The Belligerents and Moses Gunn Collective built the slick wooden bar, tabletops and shelving; artist Shani Bijoux – who Bijker met through drumming – painted the bathroom; and Morning Harvey’s Spencer White is acting as head barista. “It’s all very music focused,” Bijker says.
Coffee comes from Blackboard; Two Donkeys is one of the few Brisbane cafes using the well regarded Gold Coast bean. But Bijker is mindful of quality over quantity. “We want to keep it simple. One bean, no cold drip – one thing done well,” he says. “Same with the menu. There’s all-day breakfast, lunch from 11am, about 10 items on the menu.”
It includes fresh pastries from Crust & Co, bruschetta (try it topped with caramelised pears, goat’s cheese and walnuts), rösti with eggs and pickled vegetables, and bao bung for lunch. Plus, there’s a bar on the way.
If you find yourself in Spring Hill, just look for the sign – two silhouetted donkeys, tail to tail. “I grew up with two miniature donkeys as childhood pets,” Bijker says. “This is an ode to them. Poppy and Lucy.”