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..

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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