People yearn for the perfect local. A place to catch up with friends or pick up a fresh loaf or just grab a coffee on the way to work. Jodie Macaulay understands this and has created such a spot for her Red Hill neighbours.
The new, improved Taste is a multi-purpose go-to for those who don’t want to cross either Musgrave or Kelvin Grove roads – a cafe, grocer and event space neatly housed in a heritage corner cottage.
“I’ve always loved this building,” Macaulay says. “I live on the next street and it came up for sale.” The rest is history, 140 years’ worth – the Windsor Road site was originally Gagliardi & Levingston’s General Store, circa 1875.
Of course, Taste has its own history as a handsome kitchen emporium. Since 2005 it watched over the almighty transformation of Fortitude Valley’s James Street precinct, then that warehouse-like space closed its doors at the end of last month. The way Macaulay tells it, for Taste to survive she either had to scale up or refine the concept. Hence the Red Hill reboot.
Taste mark II combines quality convenience with community. “No Chiko Rolls, no Winnie Blues,” laughs Macaulay. Instead, you’ll find charcuterie, cheese and baked goods from artisan producers (Deliss, Danny’s Bread, Crust & Co, Jocelyn’s Provisions), and Toby’s Estate coffee, brewed by ex-Toby’s barista Jay Mccain. There’s also a smattering of retail kitchenware (Le Creuset, Riedel, Robert Gordon) and a host of DIY workshops, from terrine-making to fermenting.
The menu is designed to showcase produce in-house, from bagels with homemade hummus to light bistro fare using saucisson (a large, thick French sausage). Macaulay says the store’s specialty is the Red Hill version of a tarte flambée – short-crust pastry with leek and double-smoked speck. Drinks include handcrafted local favourites BNE Soda Co and Hvrst St juices.
The building’s history dictates the fit-out. Exposed brick features (including the old fireplace), original signage, scuffed floorboards and whitewashed beams upstairs, a cellar-like space complete with communal tables on the lower level (the venue for meetings, demonstrations and workshops).
One month in, Macaulay likens the atmosphere to a “coming home” party. The first weekend, she says, “Every person within cooee came in to say ‘I’m from up the road and welcome.’ That’s been really lovely.”