Winner: nodo, Newstead
After starting out as a humble market-born doughnut stall, nodo blossomed into a veritable Newstead institution. The cafe wowed tastebuds with its range of gluten-free doughnuts but soon followed up with a brunch menu that astounded. Now, hoards of hungry eaters line up to get a table on weekends, and it’s easy to see why. Nodo’s winter menu features the likes of kimchi waffles with popcorn chicken, brioche benedicts and wild mushrooms on cauliflower hash. Sounds amazing, right? What’s more, you can still purchase a box of doughnuts to savour at home.
Runner-up: morningafter, West End
The result of a partnership between mother and son, morningafter’s stylish and considered approach to cafe dining has cemented its status as a West End icon. If we were to hazard a guess as to why the restaurant is so popular, we’d spotlight the mouth-watering menu, which is anchored by all-star selections such as the MaMuffin, potato rosti with thymed mushrooms and truffle cheese, breakfast carbonara and sweet corn parkoras. It seems you all agree!
Runner-up: Billykart Kitchen, West End
Billykart Kitchen is a mainstay on these lists, but it’s not getting by on past successes – the institution has never been one to rest on its laurels. The seasonal menus always bring something new to the table, ably backed by signature dishes such as the Aussie Asian eggs and crispy corn fritters. Whether you’re dining in West End or in Annerley, Billykart Kitchen is a dependable and worthwhile choice, which cements its status as one of the greats.
Gauge, South Brisbane
Gauge might be double dipping in this year’s awards, but when the food is this good can you really argue? Gauge opens its smart space for brunch during the day, offering a produce-driven array of eats from simple bacon and barbecue sauce sangas and brioche with pork Bolognese to fried Sebago potato and black garlic bread. Pair that with coffee by Marvell St Coffee Roasters and you can see why it’s so hard to keep Gauge off these lists.
Little Loco, New Farm
It’s been a big couple of years for the Little Loco family. Not far removed from taking top honours in this category in 2016, the brains behind the business opened up sibling venue Miss Jones on Brunswick Street, which promptly took out Best New Cafe in this year’s awards. Little Loco is staying on top with its menu of inventive and salivation-inducing snacks, including activated charcoal waffles, breakfast poke bowls, coconut chia puddings, super shakes and green bowls.
The Jam Pantry, Greenslopes
Gideon and Nims Zavackis of The Jam Pantry consistently flex their culinary muscles with top-notch nosh, rarely lingering on an idea for too long. Hyper-seasonal produce is a major focus here, with the tandem continuously flipping the menu every month to utilise what’s best in that moment. If you like being pushed outside your comfort zone, or are similarly obsessed with local produce, there’s a good chance The Jam Pantry is for you.
Lady Marmalade, Stones Corner
After a significant overhaul of its Stones Corner location, Lady Marmalade debuted a fantastic new-look space that boasts a larger kitchen. Now, long-time fans and newcomers have ample space to move around, with the sizeable kitchen capable of pumping out all manner of scrumptious all-day eats. With its new-look venue running smoothly, it’s hard to see Lady Marmalade dropping its spot any time soon.
Paddington’s sun-soaked and pan-Middle Eastern-influenced eatery has long been a well-respected and coveted brunch spot. That hasn’t changed, but the team behind Naïm have certainly expanded their horizons. With a new South Brisbane sibling and a flourishing dinner service, Naïm is well poised to retain its reputation for the foreseeable future. As for us, we’ll always love Naïm’s rich shakshuka and Persian fetta-adorned avocado on toast.
Sourced Grocer, Teneriffe
As a one-stop-shop for brunch, produce and coffee, Sourced Grocer ticks all the boxes necessary to feature on this list. This Florence Street haunt is famous for its wholesome approach to brunch, as evidenced by dishes such as cabbage pancakes, soft eggs on sourdough (with a side of grilled pig) and heirloom tomatoes on rye.
Willow and Spoon, Wilston
When it comes to breakfast, Willow and Spoon is heralded as serving some of Brisbane’s best. The cafe ably backs up the reputation with a menu of day starters that stick in your memory for weeks. We’re talking grilled sardines on rosemary rolls, breakfast ramen with pork jowl, southern fried chicken with poached eggs and a nourishing vegan bowl.
Best Institution Cafe: the gunshop café, West End
Hailed as a home away from home for many West End locals, the gunshop cafe on Mollison Street has been doing amazing work for what seems like an age. Freshly sourced ingredients are fashioned into a host of delightful bites, including potato and fetta hash cakes, pork, apple and sage sausage, green eggs and ham, gingerbread pancakes, and herb-crumbed lamb brains. The gunshop cafe doesn’t do things by half measures, which is a core ingredient in its recipe for longevity.
Runner-up: Anouk, Paddington
A Paddington brunch mainstay, Anouk delivers an attentive and worldly array of hearty eats and incredible coffee. With dishes such as apple-stuffed French toast, okonomiyaki, huevos a flamenco, gravlax salad and laksa with poached egg, Anouk’s versatility is readily apparent.
Runner-up: The Three Monkeys Coffee and Tea House, West End
There are few places in Brisbane where you can score yourself a giant bowl of chai, and Three Monkeys may have been the first to do it. This tranquil hideaway has been dispensing coffee, chai and cake for as long as we can remember, with a worn-in space that is as comfortable as your own living room. As far as institutions go, they don’t get much more beloved than this joint.