Winner: Florence, Camp Hill: Boasting irresistible charm and warmth in spades, Florence blew Camp Hill locals away when it touched down in 2018. The brainchild of buds Elizabeth Florence and Sam Pethely is predicated on a simple recipe of nourishing fare, top-notch coffee and personable service – and the duo have undeniably nailed all three aspects. When it comes to the grub, classic dishes with cultured and fermented products is the theme. Items such as the mortadella roll with comte, green tomato chutney and horseradish, omelette with asparagus, peas and taleggio, and avocado with black sesame, shiso pickles and cabbage furikake all score top marks. Florence’s dishes regularly use goods that can also be found in the cafe’s on-site deli section, letting guests nab a bit of Florence magic for home.
Runner-up: Campos Long Island, Newstead: As far as home-grown coffee outfits go, Campos is one of Brisbane’s biggest success stories. After a decade of steady growth, Campos’ directors Eugene Phua and John Ronchi closed the brand’s long-running Wandoo Street cafe opened a shiny new flagship in Newstead – making a sizeable splash with Long Island. The ultra-modern contemporary industrial space houses plenty of seating, top-of-the-line roasting gear and a flashy coffee bar (pouring espresso, V60 and cold-drip beverages), while the kitchen nails breakfast classics. As far as upgrades go, Long Island will ensure Campos remains in Brisbane’s coffee consciousness for years to come.
Runner-up: Alphabet Cafe, West End: Speaking of local endeavour, last year saw Alphabet transform from coveted cake supplier to a wholesome and welcoming West End cafe. Alphabet sisters Zoe and Meghan Tulleners have done things the right way, taking a sustainable approach to operations – a kitchen garden provides some handy produce, while on-site composting converts food waste into fertiliser. As for the grub, there are plenty of cakes to devour (of course), as well as a menu of super seasonal brunch bites such as pasture-raised bacon and white beans and free-range chorizo and fried-egg sandwiches.
Gramps Cafe, Red Hill: A cosily-rustic fit-out, a menu of heart-warming fare, and coffee to get you into good spirits – that’s Gramps Cafe’s recipe for success. This suburban charmer, owned and operated by Adam Murphy, specialises in old-world dishes that have been reconfigured or reimagined using novel flavour combinations and seasonal produce. Options such as the sweet spiced and butter-fried sourdough French toast with pomegranate poached pear, slow-cooked savoury mince with labne and capsicum chilli jam, and lemon-thyme peas with poached egg, pink kraut and roast chickpeas are sure to satiate any hunger level.
Huskk Cafe, Grange: Tracey and Alastair Macpherson settled down after years of working in globally esteemed culinary institutions to open Huskk, and Brisbane is incredibly lucky that they did. The couple’s approach – to offer the same standard of consistency as high-end eateries but in a relaxed and accessible environment – resonated immediately, and soon hordes of locals were flocking to sample all-day goodies such as brekkie burritos, pumpkins and buckwheat waffles, corn and zucchini fritters and gingerbread pancakes. To be honest, we don’t blame them!
nodo, Camp Hill: What more can be said about nodo that hasn’t already been said? One of the biggest names in Brisbane’s brunch scene expanded last year, opening a new location in the heart of Camp Hill’s marketplace hub. Naturally, locals lost their minds. Owner Kate Williams ensured this location had plenty outdoor seating, a killer menu of cutting-edge eats (crab-shack Benedict, anyone?) and, of course, the full array of nodo’s signature gluten-free goodies. Judging by the results of this year’s EAT/drink Awards, Brisbane is still going nuts for nodo’s donuts.
Six Feet Under, Newstead: Although grim by name, Six Feet Under far from grim by nature. This Newstead cafe boasts some mild subterranean industrial aesthetics, but its menu is as warm and wholesome as they come. If you ask us, just the sound of fast breakers like banoffee French toast, eggs benedict served on a spring onion and cheddar waffle, scrambled eggs with fermented chilli, and sriracha Bloody Mary’s are enough to wake us from the dead. Seems like the rest of Brisbane agrees!
Dicki’s, New Farm: The plant-based movement is here to stay, and one of the main proponents of vegan-friendly cafe fare is New Farm’s Dicki’s. The Zulueta siblings – Justine, Lexi, Choy and Diana – are proponents of veganism as a way to improve quality of living, and they are sharing their wholesome recipes with all of Brisbane. Dicki’s standout dishes, such as the tofu scramble with pesto zucchini ribbons and spinach, plant-based breakfast burrito, and ELT (that’s crumbed eggplant instead of bacon) are clearly winning over tastebuds, proving you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy plant-based fare.
Salt. Coffee Roasters, Newstead: As Brisbane’s brunch scene has grown and evolved, our specialty coffee scene has expanded in lock step with it. Salt Coffee Roasters is a delightful modern hybrid that houses boutique roasting apparatus, top-notch coffee service and a concise but excellent brunch fare under one roof. Coffee lover Zac Lazarac is the man responsible for delivering Salt. to Newstead, with his unparalleled passion evident across the cafe’s selection of espresso-based, filter, pour over and cold-drip coffees, right down to the venue’s impeccable design.
The Gift Shop Food & Drink, Wishart: If you ask us, every suburb deserves a top-notch cafe of its own. Jordan Iovenitti – owner of The Gift Shop Food & Drink – agrees, which is why he picked Wishart to open his own coffee and brunch dispensary. Good coffee and simple eats is Jordan’s core focus, but this mantra’s surface-level simplicity belies the cafe’s phenomenal offering, from the terrific toasties and house-made muesli bowls, to The Gift Shop’s coffee selection, which spotlights some of Australia’s leading roasters. This spot is certainly rocking the suburbs!