Winner: Billykart Kitchen, West End & Annerley: With two phenomenal locations to its name, Ben O’Donoghue and De-Arne Wicks’ Billykart Kitchen has been at the top of Brisbane’s breakfast scene for a considerable amount of time. Billykart Kitchen took out or shared top honours in this category in 2014 and 2015, and was runner-up in 2018, so the cafe’s pedigree is already well established. It’s impossible to ask every voter what it is they like about Billykart Kitchen, but if we were to hazard a guess, we’d say it has something to do with its phenomenal seasonal, produce-driven menu, warm and personable service, and a killer interior vibe shared across its West End and Annerley venues. Billykart Kitchen’s crispy corn fritters and XO scrambled eggs are dishes we could eat over and over again, a testament to the quality of 2019’s Best Cafe winner.
Runner-up: nodo, Newstead: Another familiar face at the top of our Best Cafe category, nodo (a winner in 2018) is perhaps one of this city’s most inspirational stories. What began as a humble gluten-free doughnut stall has blossomed into a thriving cafe powerhouse with three locations to its name. The Newstead locale is where it all started, though, and owner Kate Williams has built the space from a poky treats vendor into a modish manor of trend-setting hospitality. In addition to the range of coveted doughnuts, nodo’s cafe menu includes all manner of mouth-watering morsels, from the crab-shack benedict and sourdough hotcakes to the miso-glazed salmon and kimchi cheeseburger. With a new nodo location at Camp Hill Marketplace helping to spread the good word, it’s a safe bet that we’ll see nodo on this list in years to come.
Runner-up: Lady Marmalade, Stones Corner: Few suburban cafes boast as loyal a local following as Lady Marmalade. Long a popular spot for caffeine and brunch seekers since its beginnings as a humble corner outlet, Lady Marmalade underwent a makeover in 2017, with owners Sonja and Howard Searle electing to expand into a neighbouring tenancy in order to enhance their cafe’s capacity and kitchen space. The decision paid dividends immediately, as Lady Marmalade has cemented its status as a go-to destination for those in Brisbane’s inner-south. Lady Marmalade’s menu is filled with epicurean delights, including confit duck on chilli corn-bread waffle with pecan butter, potato-and-herb croquettes and grilled sweet-potato polenta – items that no doubt helped earn favour with our voting readership.
Willow & Spoon, Wilston: A quick glimpse through Willow & Spoon’s accumulated accolades would be enough to clue you in to the fact that this Newmarket Road eatery is the bee’s knees, but sometimes awards don’t tell the whole story. Regularly hailed as one of Brisbane’s best breakfast spots, Willow & Spoon’s team has made it their mission to deliver the dreamiest day starters possible. We’re talking thick-cut bacon with smoked maple and poached eggs on Pugilese toast, shortbread French toast with strawberries and cream, and avocado on toast with smoked sesame cheese, pickled walnuts and kiss peppers. If eating those dishes sounds like a great time to you, then you now know why Willow & Spoon is a fixture on this list.
morning after, West End: Yianni Passaris’s warm light-filled corner cafe morning after has become a meeting point of sorts for diners with a discerning taste for cafe-style fare and good coffee. Within morning after’s eye-catching interior (designed by Alexander Lotersztain of derlot), locals can kick back and rest easy knowing that the kitchen team has got the best interests of their stomach at heart. With a menu boasting the likes of mushroom and leek croquettes with truffle yoghurt, tempura prawns with cornichon salsa and fried egg, and breakfast carbonara with papardelle, 63-degree hens eggs and field mushrooms, morning after certainly knows what it takes to seduce tastebuds. Even RnB star Usher is a fan!
The Jam Pantry, Greenslopes: Brunch doyenne Nims Zavackis knows how to run a top-flight cafe – she’s been doing it for years alongside her husband Gideon as head honchos of Greenslopes mainstay The Jam Pantry. The cafe’s flipping boards are stuff of legend – an ever-changing menu of all-day breakfast items made from the freshest ingredients of the moment. This hyper-seasonal approach means there’s always something new to try (unless you opt for the broader seasonal classics menu), so if you agree that variety is the spice of life, then The Jam Pantry is right up your alley.
Naïm, Paddington: Paddington’s reputation as a brunch-lover’s paradise is thanks (in no small part) to Naïm. A veritable anchor of the local cafe scene, owner B.J. Wall and co-owner and head chef Vince Estacio’s contemporary approach to Middle Eastern fare highlights the cuisine’s most nourishing aspects, a playful approach resulting in edible happiness. Between Naïm’s Tunisian-style baked eggs and slow-braised brisket pastrami to the vanilla halva waffles and house-cured lamb bacon with roasted potato and celeriac hash, it’ll be hard to leave without a smile on your face.
Scout, Petrie Terrace: Perched in prime position on Petrie Terrace, Scout has evolved from one of Brisbane’s best-kept cafe secrets to an undeniable brunch powerhouse. The brainchild of Suse Whitehouse and Candy Smith has remained a humble and welcoming eatery even as its profile has increased, with its rustic interior of exposed brick and wooden furnishings and menu of heart-warming fare keeping guests coming in droves. From the loaded bagels and coffee granola to sizeable plates like the Snickers brioche French toast and spiced fried-cauliflower burrito, there are many reasons why Scout is deserving of votes for Brisbane’s best.
King Arthur, Fortitude Valley: Found just off Fortitude Valley’s fashionable promenade of James Street, King Arthur is a cafe fit for royalty. You don’t need to wear a crown to dine here – King Arthur boasts a broad appeal and offering, from grab-and-go bites for guests on the move to sun-soaked seating for groups keen to gab over cappuccinos, coconut quinoa porridge and a cheeky piece of cake to finish. King Arthur is also a happening spot for a boozy brunch, with Bloody Mary’s, mimosas and Walt’s kombucha gin spritz pairing perfectly with the likes of King Arthur’s signature BLT, smoked brisket with bacon brussels and hearty pork cassoulet.
Corner Store Cafe, Toowong: Kim Malouf’s Corner Store Cafe in Toowong is a stalwart of contemporary cafe dining housed in a revitalised turn-of-the-century cottage on Sylvan Road. The hotspot sets itself apart from the competition with an organic herb and vegetable garden that services the kitchen with some of the freshest produce possible. These ingredients are used to create mouth-watering dishes such as herb-baked field mushrooms, pastrami, potato and green-pepper hash, apple, berry and macadamia-crumble waffles, and the warming beef-cheek korma. Pair that with coffee from Byron Bay’s Marvell Street Coffee Roasters and you’ve got a recipe for success!
Best Institution Cafes: It wouldn’t do to neglect the cafes that helped kickstart the brunch boom we take for granted now. We asked our readers for their picks for Brisbane’s best institution cafes, shortlisting the venues that have been operating for more than a decade. They didn’t disappoint with their picks – this year New Farm Deli took out the top prize, while Paddington’s Anouk and West End tea house The Three Monkeys scored runner-up nods.
If you haven’t checked it out already, you can view the winners and runner-up venues of the 2019 EAT/drink Awards here. Curious to see what our readers voted as the best restaurants in Brisbane? Have a browse of our ten best restaurant’s round-up here.