Hey there people! I'm a Tassie girl living on the Gold Coast. I make my money working in hospitality, but if I could I'd spend all my time writing!
Published September 12th 2012
Which Mermaid cafe with 'Espresso' in the name does it best?
GOLD - Addict Espresso
Addict is a singularly unattractive place to enjoy a coffee. But if you close your eyes they can take you to coffee heaven. If you are a person who has trouble blocking out unattractive environments, order take-away and retire to a more pleasant location.
Addict is attached to a small surf shop called Board Culture on the Gold Coast Highway. Stinky Vinnies couches sit outside with an interesting collection of magazines to enjoy as you try to ignore the roar of passing engines. One of the best things about coffee shops is the blissful aroma of brewing coffee enveloping you as you await your hit. This will not happen at Addict. You will be enveloped by a toxic cloud of diesel.
Hide in the shop and browse the nice surfboards and clothes. The couch inside smells better than the one outside so I recommend sitting on that one if you're tired. But I prefer to stand by the counter and watch them brew my coffee. (Look for the funny joke on the bean vending machine.) All the staff at Addict seem to actually make the coffee with love. Just don't ask them any questions about where the coffee came from or why it is so good, unless you have a bit of spare time. Not only do they make the coffee with love, they rhapsodise about it with passion.
The white chocolate and mixed berry slice is amazing. I generally prefer to look at dessert displays rather than actually order from them, because they always look better than they taste. Like Addict, the slice doesn't look that amazing, but it is. They hooked me in with a sample, which was quite sneaky because now I have to get one every time.
SILVER - Gov's Espresso
Wear something alternative to fit in with the decor. Girls, consider a 1950's head-scarf or a Ra-Ra skirt. Boys, bow-ties and bowler hats, or roll up your trouser legs to just above your ankles. Try to make sure the ankles are tanned, and wear boater shoes if you think you can pull them off. You probably can't.
Gov's has all kinds of retro and antique paraphernalia decorating the floors and walls. It is packed to its rickety rafters with the detritus of yesteryear. The bookcases are stuffed with tattered books. Don't we all like to catch up on a bit of vintage reading as we wait for our coffee? Enid Blyton fans will be rapt. A bunch of old bikes reside on the walls, which you immediately want to steal as you walk in. Especially the one near the counter with the accordion attached to the handle-bars, which would be ideal for riding about Hedges Avenue accessorised with a monkey.
Everything is 'for sale,' but good luck actually buying it, as the owner apparently gets attached to his paraphernalia and declines some offers. Obviously a hoarder like my Granny.
There's a big outdoor enclosed area with a boat and sandpit, where I have seen children running free as their parents sip coffee and enjoy adult conversation with childless friends. There is a big table where people with laptops sit and appear to be conducting million dollar business deals over their soy lattes. There are plenty of squishy couches for couples who want a cuddle with their coffee. If you're alone don't worry, there's a grand selection of reading materials, or one of the friendly baristas will probably talk to you. Just try not to seem too desperate or you might scare them off.
The coffee is delicious, but stay away from the toasted sandwiches, I made a better one once when I was five. Make your own and take it in your handbag, or get bacon and eggs or cake instead. The cakes are good. Perhaps Marie Antoinette was at Gov's when she said "let them eat cake," and was actually just giving some sound advice.
Gov's also has markets and nights with bands where all the guests can bring their own wine. As you leave you will definitely say to the person you are with, "that looks so fun, we'll have to go to the next one!" but who knows if you really will.
BRONZE - Vintage Espresso
The ceiling in Vintage Espresso is covered with vintage chandeliers and the walls are covered with retro mirrors. So if you are a person who enjoys looking at their own reflection in the full light from every angle, this is the perfect place to get your coffee hit. Surprisingly, the place is not haunted exclusively by supermodels. It is always packed with a variety of people.
The coffee is really good. And I am not the only one who thinks so. I have heard many a finer coffee connoisseur than I concur, and I have never heard anyone say a bad word about a Vintage coffee.
It is the only place in the world I have ever ordered two coffees in a row.
Vintage is very small, and the vibe is very friendly. This may be good humour brought about by the consumption of good coffee, or it may be because people are forced to look at each other rather than endure their own reflections.
The food is great too, and there is plenty of variety on the menu. There's obligatory cakes (good ones), but they also do a pretty mean breakfast and some tasty salads and lunch options.
Basically, they can't do anything wrong. If I had to liken Vintage Espresso to a much-loved fictional character, it would be Nancy Drew. Nancy Drew is a wholesome and well-behaved girl who becomes a detective and always gets her man at the end of the book. But she's a bit of a goody-two-shoes. No edge. You're always guaranteed a successful outcome with Nancy Drew, or with Vintage, but they are too safe to ever blow your mind.
Judge's Final Comments – Addict wins because of the flavour of the coffee. Gov's comes second because it's the coolest place to hang out. Vintage is exceptional in both categories, but only got bronze because it doesn't blow you away in either.
I read your reviews and based on them Vintage Espresso sounds like the best one to me!!! Not sure why you gave them Bronze when you said it is the only place in the world where you have ordered two coffees and that they can't do anything wrong! They would get my vote for sure!