Inside the Gallery The tired wooden boards of Mitchelton's former 1930s Salvation Army church hall, located along busy Samford Road, has been given a fresh coat of purple paint and a new lease on life as a local gallery, cafe and restaurant.
The sweet Hall once hosted weddings, Sunday School and Community gatherings after the Salvation Army first came to Australia in 1880. One of the Army's Australian founders, John Gore said, "If there's a man here who hasn't had a square meal today, let him come home to tea with me."
Access to the entrance of the cafe is made easy with a gentle ramp at the Samford Road end of the building. Step inside the door to find the space brimming with colourful and original artworks. Wander throughout the gallery, under 2 rather glamorous, sparkling glass chandeliers and the colourful art comes into its own. On the day of my visit, florals featured heavily in the works depicting spectacular roses, white lilies and Hawaiian hibiscus.
The Hall's stage is conveniently used to project images of the art onto a screen so you can see the works from anywhere in the hall, while you are eating and chatting.
I chatted with two local artists who were having a coffee catch up while I was there. They shared some of the history of the building with me and their experiences of Brisbane's brimming local arts scene. This was a lovely bonus to the day.
Grabbing a bite for breakfast If you have time for a bite to eat, a cold cabinet with sweet treats including traditional lemon meringue pie and sweet muffins are housed at the counter beside the entry. The breakfast and lunch menu is substantial and priced comparative with competitive cafes. Breakfast standouts include:
Corn and Zucchini fritters $17.50 Chorizo, mushroom, tomato and onion omelette $13.50 Eggs Benny $17.50
If you are short on time during the week or forgot to get something for dinner, house-made curries including beef vindaloo, lamb korma, butter chicken and vegetable korma are available to take away.
The indoor seating area has booths with comfy black benches and alongside wooden tables with white tablecloths which seat 4 people. If you prefer to sit outside, outdoor seating is also available in the shaded, garden courtyard. Don't worry, you won't miss out on an artistic experience if you do decide to sit outside. Cool Cuban tunes shimmy out of the speakers and a pair of stone sculptures hold court in the garden.
Supporting the Ablecare Foundation
The cafe, gallery and restaurant operate as a social enterprise to support Ablecare Foundation which provides disability and care support for children and adults with special needs. As a registered charity, all donations to the Foundation are tax-deductible. It's heart-warming to know that your visit is serving a greater purpose as well as an enjoyable artistic experience.
If you do decide to visit the Artist Cafe and Gallery, it's easy to get to. Street parking is available off Samford Road, buses stop close by and the Mitchelton train station is in nearby Blackwood Street.