Brisbane Cafe Review, The Odyssey Project, Milton

Grindhouse is a longtime favourite of mine, coming in my top 10 in 2012. So I’ve been keen to check out their new Roasting HQ, the Odyssey Project, in Milton for a while.

It lives up to its name. The coffee, the South + Central blend, roasted in-house and pouring from a La Marzocco Strada, is epic. Delicious.

The roastery is a stripped back warehouse – there’s nice polished cement, wooden benches, and timber stools. The aesthetic is comfortable, the space is cozy. There’s plenty of parking around, both on and off street. It’s great.

Ordering is simple – the menu is nice and stripped back, but there’s plenty of variety in the beans on offer depending on what’s going through the probat under Roaster Bob’s keen curation.

The coffee is great. The blend is well balanced, sweet, and punchy. It’s smooth in milk, silky even. I highly recommend it – the Odyssey is worth the trip. So does my little one.

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: Grindhouse Specialty Coffee, Stones Corner

What’s in a name? A lot. At least when it comes to a cafe. While some of the serious barista blogs that I read are starting to question the “specialty coffee” label, it’s another beanstalker.com rule of thumb that if a cafe describes itself in these terms then it should be given a fair hearing.

Grindhouse has been open for almost a year. It will celebrate its first birthday at the start of March. And boy, are they an impressive toddler.

In that time they’ve made a pretty big change, based on an admirable philosophy – changing their name from Grindhouse Espresso, to the more particular, and admittedly loftier, Grindhouse Specialty Coffee.

The name change sets a high bar. And the verdict, in a nutshell, is that these guys clear it, like a world champion pole vaulter in the very early heats, with heaps of room to spare.

They offer a house blend, and two single origins – including, when we were in the Grindhouse, a Cup of Excellence El Salvadorian – which was excellent in the cup. And an amazing Bolivian. Bolivia is quickly shooting up the ranks as one of my favourite origins. They seem to offer a depth and complexity not present in the run of the mill South American and African stuff, which tend, in this author’s humble opinion, to generally offer one defining and distinguishing taste (so blueberry for Ethiopian Harrar, and caramely sweetness for most delicious Brazilians). Anyway, this is a digression – but not a harmful one.

Grindhouse is an alley cafe, tucked in the carpark of an alleyway off Logan Road in Stones Corner. It’s a small space. Lined with abandoned coffee bags. Featuring revolving art works in a gallery space. And serving up this sensational array of coffees via a beaut La Marzocco, and a range of brew bar options.

The coffee was great. And you’d expect it to be. These guys are artisans. They’re dedicated to their craft. There’s no reason to be bad if you’re packing the beans these guys are packing. I can’t speak to their transparency regarding who roasts what, in terms of in store displays. It wasn’t on the whiteboard. But the bags were plainly visible inside, I just didn’t pay much attention because it was hot, and what can I say, I’m still figuring out a review routine for when we’re accompanied by our baby daughter…

My Flat White, first up, was on the Bolivian. And wow. It was bitter up front, but within seconds had moved into my mouth like a bunch of indie types at an occupy protest. So balanced, and with a really sweet aftertaste. It had this fruity thing going on that was either winey, or sultanaey. Which the the online tasting notes say may have been “plum” – but these things are made up anyway. It was temperatured and textured to my satisfaction. And served quickly. Full marks for that stuff.

We took some friends with us for the ride. These guys aren’t huge coffee drinkers, but told me they enjoyed their coffees – and I have no reason to doubt that. My wife’s standard order Piccolo, and my second flat white, were on the El Salvadorian, and they were pretty tops.

I’d recommend this place to anybody who’ll listen. I’m a little spoilt for choice with Igloo up the hill, and these guys down it… but it’s nice to know good coffee is within reach.

You can follow Grindhouse on Twitter, and on Facebook (but if you’re watching Grindhouse team – you should claim a username for your page (facebook.com/username), and they have a blog/website which keeps pretty up to date…

If you can’t tell – I’m pretty excited about these guys being on the same side of town as us…

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