Hospitality is a tricky business – pinpointing various tastes and trends isn’t an exact science, so it always pays to be flexible. Shay Haston has carved out a tidy piece of real estate across California Lane and Winn Lane with his foodie concepts Froth on Brunswick and No. 5 Cafe, both of which cater to the coffee crowd and brunch market. Shay’s third laneway operation – dessert-oriented The Stand – has recently undergone a metamorphosis, one Shay hopes will better capture the tastebuds of Fortitude Valley revellers across the late-afternoon and early-evening crowds. Poco is the name of this cosy California Lane newcomer, which has swapped out the treats for tapas, implementing a menu of Spanish-inspired snacks and classic cocktails. The Stand’s vibrant pink interior has been replaced by a more subdued palette, with greens and rose golds offsetting the laneway’s teal-tiled tropical aesthetic. The resulting shift has created a no-fuss little bar that’s perfect for pre-drinks and snacks, complementing existing eateries such as Fat Dumpling, Giardinetto, Raw + Rice and Reverends Fine Coffee.
Having secured a commercial kitchen space in the heart of California Lane late last year, Shay is now making the most of his newfound adaptability to service Froth and Poco with their own fully realised menus. Leading the selection is a tidy list of tapas, including the likes of fried-chicken baos, crumbed mushrooms stuffed with brie, cider-glazed chorizo, popcorn cauliflower, and salt-and-pepper calamari. Those more in the market for a light graze can opt for cheese platters instead, loaded with your choice of dairy and a cluster of tasty accoutrements. Fans of The Stand will be chuffed to know that desserts haven’t been canned completely – if you’re hankering for a sweet treat to cap off the night, you can dip a spoon into one of Poco’s indulgent desserts – we’re talking sticky-date pudding, chocolate brownie served with ganache and gelato, apple-and-rhubarb crumble or Belgian waffles. Poco’s cocktail list features a clutch of seven signatures and ten classics, while cocktail jugs are ideal for clinking glasses with friends. Beer from Green Beacon caters to the craft crowd, while the curated wine list blends drops from Australia and further abroad.
Eager to add Poco to your weekend itinerary? Get all the info you need in the Stumble Guide.