Sunshine Coast-based brothers Taskeen and Tasfeen Hassan were looking for somewhere to open a cafe. Their efforts were fruitless north of Brisbane, so they decided to take advantage of their time at Contra, the CBD menswear store they’re involved in with Matt Kyte.
“We just thought, ‘Why not take the energy that Matt and I had created at Contra and create a cafe concept with a similar ethos?’” Tasfeen says. Which is: doing a few things really well, rather than many things satisfactorily. The menswear store is known for its tight curation.
It took the Hassans just four days to move into the site of the old Gramercy cafe in Wintergarden and get it up and running as Contra. They’ve opted for a minimalist approach to the design, to let the product and service be the main focus.
Like the clothing store, you’ll find attention to detail; suppliers not often seen in Brisbane; and customer service that’s helpful and suggestive, rather than pushy.
Case in point: for both coffee and tea, the brothers are working with Clandestinos Roasters in Noosa, a group that’s notoriously selective. The owner lives in Bolivia and spends his time in the highlands of Los Yungas working with local growers to find the best sustainably harvested coffee beans.
The Hassans also use soy milk in their ca phe da (Vietnamese iced-coffee with condensed milk), because they believe it adds a distinct nuttiness that regular milk doesn’t. To suit Brisbane’s climate, they’re also serving cold brew coffee, iced matcha lattes and cold-pressed juices from HRVST. There’s no food just yet, though candles, incense and ceramics are on hand for impulse purchasing.
This sharp approach to drinks and service seems likely to attract the same cult following that Contra has in its short lifespan. The customers will probably be just as well dressed, too.
Wintergarden Centre, 200 Edward Street, Brisbane
0477 625 639
Mon to Fri 7am–4.30pm