Paddington has long been the favoured haunt of the young and trendy of Brisbane, with cafes, thrift shops and boutiques aplenty. But there is an often overlooked gem situated on Latrobe Terrace just a few metres away from the Antiques Centre - Black Cat Books.
Bookstores and cafes seem to come hand in hand lately. Sometimes this works - other times, not so much. No one enjoys trying to find a book with loud cafe noises in the background. And I prefer to bring a book home smelling like, well, a book, and not a salmon frittata. Thankfully, Black Cat has found a wonderful solution to this problem; the top floor of the store is dedicated books while the cafe is housed on the floor below.
A confessed bookphile myself, Black Cat is my preferred destination for a cup of tea and Sunday lunch. From it's facade, it appears like most Paddington stores, a welcoming Queenslander house converted to a cosy shop space. When you first cross the threshold you'll be faced with a welcoming selection of books, all neatly arranged on shelves and stands.
The selection of books in Black Cat is nothing to be sniffed at. With a great selection of both non-fiction and fiction, almost all tastes will be catered for. The children's section, which is sadly neglected in many chain-run stores, here stands as the pièce de résistance. Families with young children will be simply spoilt for choice.
Now, to the cafe. Towards the back of the store is a staircase leading down to where it all happens. On a fine day, the cafe is bright and filled with light. On a rainy day, the space becomes intimately cosy. Tables of various sizes are laid out, with the wall lined with autographed book posters that were signed by authors at events hosted at Black Cat.
If you're the type to crave fresh air and sunlight, there's a nice deck outside with tables and umbrellas to shade you during the middle of the day. One of the best things about Paddington has to be the leafy foliage that surrounds the area, reacquainting you with nature in an age when we all seem to be stuck indoors strapped to computers.
The food selection is varied, with filos, quiches, soups and other savoury meals on offer along with a decent selection of cookies and other sweet treats. The coffee, made with Merlo beans, is of a consistently high standard.