To say that I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time in café’s would be no exaggeration. I love everything about a good cafe – probably due to my intense desire to one day live in Paris and spend my day doing little else than sitting in one, drinking coffee and eating pain au chocolat…Also, I will probably be very fat, but I'll be so happy.
A good café, in my opinion, can be one of the most inviting places – a place to eat great food, drink exceptional coffee, chat with friends, get excellent service, and really feel as though you are living a great life. However, a bad café can be the reason to really make you wish you hadn’t bothered getting out of bed that morning.
Searching for ‘Coffee Heaven” might make some people think I’m crazy; others, however, will know exactly what I’m talking about. Growing up in Brisbane, my cafe experience has been minimal to say the least, but we are getting there and if you look hard enough – like really, really concentrate – there are some gems out there fulfilling all the basic requirements at exceptional levels – great coffee, good food, a sumptuous cake cabinet, all day breakfast, memorable waiters, and an atmosphere that is worth leaving the house for
Since moving to Sydney, I am still trying to find some really great places – it's a big city and I am but one little person – but for now I will leave you with my top five (in no particular order) Brisbane places for coffee and cake (sorry in advance to Mum and Dad for exposing some of their favourite coffee haunts):
Campos – 11 Wandoo Street, Fortitude Valley
There is an inundation of Campos in Sydney but I am yet to find anywhere that has the same hole-in-the-wall, line-up-for-an-hour-on-a-Sunday-because-it's-so-good, excellent-coffee, life-changing-Banoffee-Pie feel to it. You might be concerned at first to line up in the stinky alley, waiting for your seat that turns out to be nothing more than a milk crate with a pillow on it, but once you get a coffee into you, you will forget about everything. Order yourself some pancakes, the big breakfast, or berry muesli – or skip it all and have your mind blow by the Banoffee (it really is that good) and you will see what I'm saying.
Java Lounge – 161 Latrobe Terrace, Paddington (image)
All day breakfast should really explain what makes me love Java Lounge so much. That plus the funky, colourful furniture and cool vibe you get just sitting there, you can literally not go wrong with anything on the menu. Plus, all that Paddington shopping afterwards to work off your amazing French toast, I'm so there (well, not right now, but I'm there whenever I can be!)
The Bunker – 21 Railway Terrace, Milton (image)
I love this place. It probably counts more as a coffee bar than a cafe but, basically, two brothers have turned a garage into a coffee bar and that in itself is so cool you have to check it out. They serve Black Star (best coffee ever) and pick up and make deliveries by bicycle. The garage is adorned with vines that have grown over the outside of the building and infiltrated the inside as well, giving The Bunker its name. If you're not up for a coffee (you're crazy) but they also have a daily special of delicious hot chocolate so give that a whirl instead!
Brisbane City – Mad Espresso and Naked Coffee
These two places offer a great Campos coffee experience depending on which side of Elizabeth Street you happen to be on. Mad and Naked are laneway cafe's in Albert Lane and the Elizabeth Arcade respectively and, although the dining experience has you chewing on your sandwich while busy corporates bustle past, the coffee is pretty much always good and you can generally spark up some decent conversation with the staff. Great for your pick up coffee on the way to or from work!
My dad's home "cafe" (image)
I know this is cheating, because it is a very exclusive cafe experience, but I have to say, Dad makes a mean latte. Sipping that out of his double-walled coffee mugs (inspired by those at The Bunker), sitting on the deck, and taking part in random conversations that most people outside of us would never understand is my idea of the perfect cafe (plus, he doesn't charge – yet – and sometimes the coffee is accompanied by a piece of Nigella Lawson's banana bread….mmm)
I'm going to be dreaming of cake and coffee after this post. Hopefully next time I'll have some new Sydney places to share (I already have one in mind that serves a particularly extraordinary tiramisu.)
Sweet cake and coffee dreams,