Brisbane Cafe Review: Sourced Grocer, Teneriffe

On Monday morning we were confronted with a major dilemma. Something akin to that moment in the operating theatre of a TV medical drama where the surgeon needs a solution, and he or she needs it stat. We needed breakfast and coffee. Bean supplies at home had dwindled to catastrophically low levels. And it was suddenly time to cut to a commercial break.

Having Mondays as a day off is less than ideal when it comes to the specialty coffee scene in Brisbane – lots of cafes offering great breakfasts aren’t open on a Monday – which I can totally understand given that a) I too have Mondays off because I do the most important part of my job on a Sunday, and b) it is Monday.

But amidst all the “closed” notifications on the Facebook pages of Brisbane’s best and brightest cafes came a beacon of hope. Sourced Grocer. A place I’d wanted to visit in something that felt like “forever” – but lets remember, this was Monday morning and I hadn’t yet had a coffee – so that’s greatly exaggerated…

Sourced is about as hipster as it gets in Brisbane, a providore of fine locavore styled fruit and veg, a grocer/deli for the gourmand, a breakfast spot and, perhaps most importantly, a Cup Coffee account.

It’s a fun and lively place, with fun and lively foodstuffs to savour.

The coffee was good, if, perhaps, lacking in the ‘body’ my coffeepanions prefer in their drinks (a flat white, and a piccolo). I had no complaints about mine – I love Cup’s roast profile, and it’s always (in my humble opinion) going to bring out the more exquisite and delicate flavours, at the expense of some of the thick, gooey, body and viscosity that you might get from a darker, oilier, roast.

I enjoyed my flat white.

I enjoyed my smashed avo.

I desired many other items both from the menu and the shelves.

I will go back. One Monday.

Crisis averted.

 

Brisbane Cafe Review: Pompidou, Balmoral

Pompidou is a quaint French themed cafe in the leafy suburb of Balmoral.

It’s a Di Bella account, and they do an admirable job of producing drinkable coffee from their 2-group Wega. My double shot flat white was strong and rich, Di Bella style. I’m starting to think that Di Bella probably works best as a single shot. It can be quite overpoweringly full bodied if prepared well as a double. My dinepanions said their coffees – a cappuccino, and a piccolo, respectively, were tasty.


The coffees were good. The breakfasts were fantastic.

What follows are pictures of my pork belly with poached egg, spicy relish, haloumi, bread, and baby spinach, with a hash brown on the side, the “pan meal” which is pretty much the ultimate big breakfast, a ratatouille with bacon and eggs, and an Eggs Benedict, with the hollandaise on the side. Each meal was delicious, and well worth the price of admission.

We’ll be back on the strength of the food alone, and the coffee wasn’t too shabby.

Toowoomba Cafe Review: Firefly

Toowoomba may be able to claim, per capita, to be the best coffee destination in Australia. I’ll know after my next visit, when I’ll check out a new specialty roaster I noticed yesterday. But what started as a movement with the Angel Cafe, which boasts Australia’s first Synesso, and began to come of age with Findos, the shopfront of Sleepless City Roasters, is now a bit of a coffee haven. Firefly rightly takes its place in this increasingly diverse scene.

Firefly serves up a couple of blends from Supreme Roasters, and a couple of single origins are on offer through the cold drip.

My double shot flat white was packed with body, and on the first sip smacked my mouth around. It mellowed a little bit towards the middle of the cup, and my wife, who’d already had her morning coffee, took a sip and declared it “good.” I’d say it was like a strong and pretty rich dark chocolate.

Breakfast was very tasty. Especially the haloumi on my Firefly Feast.

I went back for another coffee. A single shot flat white this time. And it was superb. So silky and sweet, I thought maple syrup, but I had that on the mind because of what I’d ordered to follow. It was on the Miss Katy blend, the first was on what I think was called the Southern Blend. I probably wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have been.

The Cold Drip with maple syrup on the side was just sensational and refreshing. Better with the maple syrup than without. I drizzled it over the ice before I poured the coffee into the glass. Winner.

This was a worthy stop, but I was glad to check in at Findos for a flat white before heading down the range.

Brisbane Cafe Review: Lady Marmalade, Stones Corner

They replace table numbers with toy animals, which is a nice touch.

Lady Marmalade is a pretty rustic corner store come cafe with a nice little window bench and an eclectic mix of outdoor seating. It’s, I think the word is, “distressed” style. Bricks with beautifully peeled paint. Old school chairs with decoupaged classics.

The menu was pretty good, leaning away from the traditional egg based breakfast options (one meal had baked eggs, other than that… nada), and according to the signs they’re competitive (UPDATE: Their Facebook Page reveals they won the Sandwichship Title).

The food, like the setup, was rustic, wholesome, and pretty tasty. I had the avocado and tomato sourdough toast with a potato and feta hash, haloumi, and maple bacon on the side.

My wife had the roast pumpkin, haloumi, and pesto sourdough toast with some of my bacon, and a potato and feta hash.

As I’ve said before at this particular juncture, this isn’t a breakfast blog – though that would be fun – but rather a coffee blog. And their coffee – pulled on what looked like a Wega (though the back of the machine was obscured), pouring Genovese coffee in a (now seemingly industry standard) double ristretto (or so someone said).

Here are my tasting notes.

The crema wasn’t really mixed in at all so the first mouthful was bitter, almost acrid, with a completely vacuous body, a powdery mouthfeel. After a quick stir the flavour balanced out a little, while it was still bitter it was a pleasant darkest of dark chocolate bitter. My wife’s picolo was much better.

In all, with Grindhouse just down the road – do what we did – eat a fantastic and wholesome breakfast at Lady Marmalade and drink coffee at Grindhouse. That’s the best of both worlds. Right there.

Lady Marmalade is on Facebook, on the web, and open seven days..

Good news week(end)…

Or rather, good weekend news.

Both Bunker Coffee (Milton) and One Drop Specialty Coffee (Fortitude Valley) made my top 10 last year, and both have thrown open their doors for Saturday breakfasts. While Monday is my day off/cafe day, and it appears certain establishments choose to take Mondays off, Saturday is a close second as far as I’m concerned.

Read my reviews at the links above. Hit these guys up on Facebook and Twitter for the latest (and some snaps of their menu items).


Image: Flat White, One Drop Specialty Coffee


Image: An exterior shot of the Bunker.

Brisbane Cafe Review: Hamptons Home Living, Paddington

I’ve read good things in the Twittersphere about Hamptons Home Living, a fancy homewares store come cafe. So when the opportunity for a Saturday cafe breakfast presented itself, away we went.

This converted Queenslander on La Trobe Terrace is a bit of a visual feast. An expensive visual feast. Their homewares are at the higher end of the scale.

But it’s the promise of St Ali coffee out of Melbourne that lured us here. And the coffee, well, it was a little disappointing.

It wasn’t that the latte art was non existent. And it wasn’t the flavour of the two blends on offer – the St Ali standard blend and another called “Champion”. The coffee itself was nice. The temperature was great. The shiny La Marzocco had doubtless pulled a good shot. It was the flavour of the milk that let the experience down, it had the funkiness that comes from milk jugs not being rinsed between shots. A cursory glance at the jug as I paid revealed a calcified build up on the sides of the jug. Which was unfortunate. If you did a little bit of discerning drinking you could make out beautiful fruitiness in the Champion Blend and a rich chocolatey burst in the house blend. Delicious stuff. So I bought some beans.

The breakfasts were sensational, though the Hash Brown was more potato cake than hash brown. We’d highly recommend the experience. The service was friendly, the view from the balcony was relaxing, and the heaters (and offer of knee rugs) was enough to battle the winter chill.

Brisbane Cafe Review: Elixir Cafe and Roastery, Stafford

Ahh, Saturday breakfast, how I love you. Breakfast is better with friends. So we bundled into one car early (8am) on Saturday morning and drove to Stafford to check out this place I’d heard good things about. Elixir Coffee.

This place talks the specialty coffee talk – but the real question in my mind – can they walk the walk. They have all the elements of a top shelf cafe. A roaster, in house, a La Marzocco on the bench, house blends, a bevy of grinders, single origins, tasting cards, and cheap meals.

We walked through the doors (after scoring a lucky car park pretty close to the doors) and wow. Packed. Full of energy. Heaps of staff, who were all very friendly. A good shelf full of coffee bits and bobs – including the Pullman Tamper, and a few other higher end specialty knick knacks. I was feeling at home.

The coffees in the grinders on Saturday were a Zambia Terranova (one of my favourites) and the Fratelli Blend. Both were excellent. So good I ordered a couple. And one of our dinepanions, a non-coffee drinker, enjoyed the third coffee she has ever had in her life. A white chocolate mocha. Baby steps. It’s early days. But she liked it.

The coffees were impressive.

I love it when a piccolo comes with latte art.

The food was great too. Very cheap, for a cafe, it came out quickly, and it was tasty.

The tasting cards are an impressive touch, of all the other places I’ve reviewed, only Dandelion and Driftwood offer them in store (as far as I’m aware).

So, in all, an impressive little institution in Stafford’s industrial back streets. A good variety of blends, a good selection of single origin coffees, and all taste as they should (according to the description). The first round of coffees was perfect. My second was a little too hot.

Their Fratelli blend was interesting, well rounded, but not knock your socks off in any particular category. It was almost perfectly blended – but maybe really spectacular coffee experiences have to have a major. An emphatic flavour that you remember.

But, on the whole, a solid effort and a place I’m happy to recommend.

Bean here (excuse the pun)? Rate it:

* * * ½  

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