Cafe Emergency

posted on: Monday, 31 March 2014

Oh hi mom (second from the left)


No rest for the wicked: Foxy Bean in Woollongabba

Wake me up before you go-go: 2 Wheels and a Handlebar opens early

A stellar bakehouse that delivers levain and coffee before 6am: I like it 

Can you please call me as soon as you get a minute? - My mum, text message, Thursday 2:53pm

Expecting the worst as I call back (is someone in hospital? jail?) I'm put off by my mother's cheery greeting.

'Yello! How are you?' she says in an upbeat tone. Me: Um, I'm good. What's up?

'Do you know any good places for breakfast that open early in the morning? It's my friend's birthday tomorrow and we want to meet at 6:30am.' Me: Is that why you called me??

And in a word, yes, it was. It's a cafe emergency. But, I kind of understand. Breakfast in Brisbane is a serious business. We're a city that gets up early to cycle, walk, run, box, lift weights and swim. To prove this, 94% of people rock up to Brisbane cafes in their workout gear (fact) and you'll more likely see a line-up for coffee at 8am than at 11am. Subsequently, these early risers need somewhere to go well before 8am. So here is my take on the best Brisbane breakfast spots for the early morning crew. Mum, this list is for you:

5:30am: Brewbakers, Sandgate Rd, Albion
The doors open at 5:30am and within minutes the baked goods make their way directly from owner Richard's adjoining baking space into the cafe. Staff call out to announce the latest batch of super fresh croissants, quiches, levain bread, sourdough brownies, jam doughnuts and traditional bagels as they are brought into the cafe. Even at this eye-watering hour there is always a line-up, but service is fast and the coffee is awesome. Oh, and if you ever wonder what is going on with the staff 'outfits' you may have found yourself at one of their regular 'theme days'. I've caught Superman day, sleeve tattoo day and Chinese New Year themes so far.

6am: 2 Wheels and a Handlebar, Railway Tce, Milton
Opening their doors from 6am, you can guarantee that Paolo and Rene have been up for hours before. Paolo gets up at the crack of dawn to make sourdough for the day, then heads to the markets to buy produce. The menu changes daily depending on what is in season - so be sure to check out their Facebook to see what is on offer - a favourite is 'The Garden' breakfast which includes poached eggs, baby carrots, avocado, mizuna and sourdough. Despite the early wake up call, Rene is always super-friendly and the service is lovely.

6am: Foxy Bean, Stanley St East, Woolloongabba
Is Foxy Bean ever not open? Anyway, their lack of rest time is our gain. If you sit out the back in the light-filled outdoor section near the kitchen garden it's perfect for a 'we're-fresh-from-a-workout' breakfast. Inside is darker and moodier and the deep mahogany chesterfields are great for a business meeting or reading the Fin Review before the ASX opens in Sydney. The menu supports these options with fresh juices and light granola through to serious savoury mince, haloumi and roast vegetables.

6am: Northey Street City Farm, Windsor 
Northey Street is a Sunday-only early morning option, but a damn good one. They have their own Chai Cafe, but there are also heaps of stalls that make for amazing breakfast purchases. There's abundant coffee, organic juices, sourdoughs, yoghurts and cheeses which you can enjoy under the huge trees. I personally love to buy some greens from their permaculture stand - asparagus, kale, spinach, bush lemons - and some free range eggs, and cook them up at home. It sounds almost revoltingly healthy, but is actually the most delicious breakfast.

7am: Three Girls Skipping, Honour Ave, Graceville
Although Three Girls Skipping makes us wait until 7am before opening of a morning, I really want to mention their super cute service. I was dog-sitting Basil, my friend's adorable, but neurotic beagle for two weeks. Ol' Bassy barks and almost pulls over any table he's tied to, to chase after passing canines of every description. Despite this, every morning I walked Basil up to Three Girls Skipping for a pre-work coffee, the young girls there came out and gave him a bowl of water (unprompted), sweetly asked if they could pat him, and never once complained about the regular bursts of noise from the beagle. Sitting outside here in the fresh air is always a nice start to the morning.

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