Situated in the leafy suburb of St Lucia, Brick and Bean Cafe is just a hop, skip and jump from the University of Queensland. So on busy days, it can seem as if all 50,000 of the sandstone institution's students have descended on this thrumming little cafe, all at once.
But Brick and Bean is something of an institution in itself. On the day we visited, a sunny weekend, there were as many families as students - all enjoying the simple pleasures of a sandwich, a salad, a smoothie: a soccer mum and her sweaty charges stopping off for post-match milkshakes; three generations of one family enjoying leisurely late breakfasts inside; and my son and me, wolfing down lunch before a trip to the theatre.
The mere name, Brick and Bean Cafe, sets the tone. It spells solid, simple, practical, dependable. The brick refers to the rustic raw-brick walls, the bean to the sublime coffee on offer. Outside, there are a handful of serviceable silver four-seater tables, while the whimsical interior, with its brightly coloured couches and wooden chairs and tables, brings to mind a home, or perhaps even a kindergarten.
Breakfasts are big at Brick and Bean Cafe. The farmhouse breakfast, for instance, includes a bumper selection of baked beans, bacon, breakfast sausage, mushrooms, roast tomato, hash browns, sourdough toast, tomato relish and your choice of eggs. The waffles, I'm told, served with fresh banana, cinnamon, bees' honeycomb, vanilla ice-cream and walnut praline (plus a bacon option), are another good choice. Other, less filling, breakfast options including acai bowls, banana bread, and the perennial smashed avocado on toast.
Sandwiches and salads are the main lunchtime fare. Classic club sandwiches (toasted triple deckers with tomato, bacon, lettuce, poached chicken, and avocado) with a caesar dressing are popular, as is the steak sandwich, or the New York Reuben (featuring chunky corned beef, Swiss cheese, German sauerkraut, mustard and char grilled rye bread).
There are a range of more substantial lunch options too. My son chose the whiting fillets and wonderfully crisp beer-battered fries (yes, I did steal some while he wasn't looking). Meanwhile, I opted for the grilled haloumi and pear salad which came with a generous sprinkling of walnuts. My only niggle was the lashings of dressing which had been applied to the leaves - a lighter touch might have allowed this salad to really sing.
But in the overall scheme of things, this is a relatively minor point. The service is brisk and efficient. The staff have easy smiles and seemingly endless energy. So if you're seeking a place that's cheerful, and reasonably cheap, Brick and Bean Cafe should certainly make your shortlist.