Brisbane Cafe Review: Southside Tea Rooms, Morningside

Very few cafes offer the experience to be genuinely served by a hospitable rock star. But rock on up to the counter at the South Side Tea Room and there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be warmly welcomed by at least one member of The Grates. I’ve been meaning to get here since I heard Patience from the Grates doing an interview about their newest project – a Brisbane cafe focusing on providing the sort of tea and coffee experience they’d enjoyed while recording their last album in New York.

The South Side Tea Rooms are warm, quirky and eclectic – kind of like your grandma’s loungeroom, if your grandma was a school teacher who pinched a few classic Australian school desks to use as tables. They’re serving up Dramanti’s lovely coffee – and I’ve never seen a piccolo glass quite like this one.

The coffee was good – the menu looks fun. There’s a bar boasting some boutique beers and other goodies… it’s a fun place. By all accounts the vibe changes at night and the space hosts gigs and events pretty regularly.

It’s also incredibly kid friendly. We arrived and were offered a high chair or some chalk, for floor drawing.

Our 15 month old had lots of fun with that, while we enjoyed our coffees. They were great. Rich and smooth, with a great lingering sweet aftertaste, like a good Dramanti coffee should be – the milk was not too hot, and was well textured. I have no complaints. This place rocks.

It might not be everyone’s cup of tea – but it oozes character and hospitality. One patron was sitting on a couch reading a book while we were there, another came in for a quick coffee and a chin wag… I’ll be back.

Find the Southside Tea Room on Facebook, or check out their fun website.

Brisbane Cafe Review: Dramanti Artisan Roasters, Wynnum

Dramanti has a cafe in the busy Brisbane CBD (which I’m yet to get to), but I was particularly excited when a friend on Facebook shared a picture of the machine that has just been installed in the freshly minted roastery in Wynnum. Brisbane’s first La Marzocco Strada. A machine of rare beauty, elegance, and ability.

Now that I’m a south sider a trip to Wynnum isn’t a daunting prospect anymore, but I took a car full of other lads with me just to see what we could see, and taste.

The roastery is situated in the heart of Wynnum’s town centre. Or what looks like a town centre, I’ve never really been to Wynnum before. It’s tucked behind Blockbuster. It’s a great setup. A low-fi fit out, with found wood, and recycled odds and ends used as furniture. We set ourselves up at the table which I think is what you’d call a “distressed” door – an old white door with the paint artistically sanded, stuck on a few 40 gallon drums. It might sound odd, but it works.

The roaster, a shiny Has Garanti, sits in the back of the mini-warehouse, and pumps out the cracking smell of roasting coffee (that’s a little roasting pun right there (beans crack as they roast)).

What really brings the fit out together – if you’ve been watching some renovation show like the Block – is the Strada. I can’t stress enough how beautiful this machine is.

But I can show you some pictures.

The owner, whose name, according to Facebook, is Dragan (who was an incredibly friendly chap, but more on that below), said he’d been waking up looking at photos on Stradas online while he waited for delivery. La Marzocco build these bad boys to order. He’s incredibly proud of his machine. Obviously. And rightly so.

I had ordered two coffees – both flat whites – one on the Brazilian Single Origin, A Fazenda Santa Ines, and the other on the Hit Me Baby (One More Time) House Blend. Which, for a blend named after a Britney Spears song, had a surprising amount of substance.

The tragedy of this visit for me was that thanks to a bout of man flu that I wasn’t quite over, I couldn’t really taste anything past the obvious. Which made me sad. The coffee was clearly tasty, the milk probably wasn’t quite as foamy as I’ve come to expect in a flat white, though was what a traditional flat white should be. If I wanted foam I should’ve ordered a cappuccino.

We got to Dramanti at around 3pm, on the second day of trading. It wasn’t hugely busy, I’d say it was steady. But in between bouts of salivating over the machine, and drinking my coffees, we had some of Dragan’s time and attention. He gave us the run down on the fruitiness of the Ethiopian Guji in the blend, and a bit about the Strada, and then he made us a pourover for our table to share. Which was terrific – both as a gesture, and in terms of flavour.

In short, I’ll be back when my nose isn’t blocked, probably multiple times. Even if it’s just to ogle the curves of that beautiful Strada one more time. My mates rated it, one of them is going back tomorrow, another said they served up one of the best hot chocolates he’d ever had.

Check them out on Facebook.

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