Brazilian expat Bruno Silva Franca always wanted his own cafe. Toiling away in recent years behind the espresso machines of Albion stalwarts Stalled and Artie & Mai, he dreamed of a place with a strong focus on coffee backed by an approachable menu. The result? Bruno’s BNE, which opened earlier this week.
Silva Franca’s research involved flying to Melbourne to seek out that city’s very best cafes, and infusing some of its cutting-edge coffee culture into his own venue in an old corner store on Cracknell Road in Tarragindi. Being a local, he knew the suburb needed something like Bruno’s. “I heard everyone complaining, saying we need a good coffee shop, we need good food, we need good coffee,” he says.
Silva Franca has put a lot of thought into his choice of beans. The cafe runs a Padre seasonal blend as his house selection. Single O and Dukes are also on offer. Cakes are supplied by Beenleigh’s Tool Box Chef. Organic teas come from Byron Bay’s Mayde Teas.
Chef Richard Mundt (ex Aquitaine, Goodness Gracious) has created an all-day menu that engages in some giddy reinventions of the classics. Eggs Benedict comes with house-made cornbread and apple hollandaise. Croissants are filled with pulled pork. A beetroot omelette is accompanied by goat’s cheese and walnuts. So far, the surprise hit has been the kimchi fried rice with broccoli, almonds and broken eggs. “We didn’t expect to sell so many,” Silva Franca says. “We ran out of it.”
The venue itself is airy and welcoming. Large bay windows let floods of light play over a fit-out dominated by wood and tiles. Just a few wooden and green highlights break up Silva Franca’s crisp, white paint job. Outside there’s a smattering of alfresco tables and stools.
Building up a consistent day-to-day product is Silva Franca’s main goal for now, but he’s already thinking about a second venue. “My dream is to have another Bruno’s in maybe a year’s time,” he says.