I just got back from a jaunt to Brisbane, for reasons which I won’t bore you with right now. When we headed there, Melbourne was characteristically miserable and cold, making us all the more enthusiastic about the break in the north.
Like good hipsters we stayed in the West End, the nearest café to our place being The Gunshop Café of South Brisbane. Right on our street, in fact.
Unsurprisingly, the property developers have also caught on to what gentrifying yuppies want, and so it appears that the entire West End suburb has been torn up and turned into a huge construction pit, from whence arise a multitude of probably overpriced, boring, cookie-cutter apartments, aimed at shiny/hip/young/beautiful/instagramworthy/etc. urbanites walking their Boston terriers, or whatever the fuck it is they do these days. Instead of the classic quirky old wooden houses-on-stilts the area is apparently known for.
Anyway, thanks to said construction activity, there was rather a tumult of trucks driving around, workers yelling at one another, and jackhammers clanging about, already early in the morning. Bleary-eyed from lack of sleep, disoriented in an unknown city, coughing from the dust of the construction sites on Mollison Street, and with an impending cyclone causing rather a lot of wind (the cyclone fizzled out, unlike the housing developments) and upsetting our meticulous hairstyles, we ducked into the first café we saw (in reality, we had done our homework and a friend had suggested it).
We were immediately greeted by what seemed at the time like a ravishing sun-bronzed Adonis with a lopsided grin, who raspingly assured us we were safe and in good hands, and that all would be well. Indeed it would, as it turned out.
We were promptly served our double espressos, and my, I wasn’t expecting to be this impressed so early in the morning (it seems everything in Queensland happens really early). The coffee was unassuming but punchy enough, with a clean nutty quality. Not too weak, not too dark-roasted, not a fruity/sour slap in the face. If I understand correctly, they use a Merlo blend (I’m guessing the “Espresso” blend, but I might be displaying my ignorance here), which seems surprisingly un-glamorous, and probably explains the “safe” feel the espresso had. But you know what, I’ll take a rock-solid no-frills espresso like this every day of the week if I have to, over a weak but pretentious boutique single origin. There you go. Drink this coffee, support this café.
I realise that now I might really be swimming out of my lane as your trusty Melbourne espresso review site, but I have to make special mention of the brunch (read: food. I know you only care about the coffee, but hey, a person cannot subsist on coffee alone) they serve there, too. After our first good experience we went back a second morning. I won’t spoil any surprises, but all the dishes we had for brunch were really superb, especially for the price. Amazing hash browns, a house-made granola with raspberries and basil panna cotta, a thing involving poached eggs (obviously) and beetroot hollandaise, a truffle and Gruyère croque madame, the list goes on. Seriously, eat their food, drink their coffee, until your savings are depleted. Then scrub their dishes in return for food and/or coffee.
I’m going to stop writing now, before I inadvertently turn this into a lifestyle-Instagram-brunch-influencing-site. Did I mention that the weather up there is amazing? I should see if they have jobs there.