We sidled up to the communal table at the heart of Cowch and, while contemplating the menu, cast hungry gazes around the room. A couple of honeymooners across from us sipped hot chocolates and spoon-fed each other ice-cream from waffle baskets. A gaggle of teenage girls in the far corner slurped smoothies served in old-fashioned milk bottles. And a frazzled looking mum put a hectic day at South Bank to bed as she savoured a martini with marshmallows and cream (yes, really) and her tiny charges bit into 'udder puffs' (baked confections served with frozen yoghurt or ice cream and drizzled with chocolate and choice of topping).
Billed as Queensland's first dessert and cocktail bar combined, Cowch is a temple to sweet temptation. It combines the childlike innocence of the local milk bar with the heady lure of liquor - promising a naughty-but-nice nostalgic experience that brings to mind old-fashioned kissing booths. And mammaries, albeit of the bovine variety, are never far from mind - appearing in everything from the udder-shaped ceiling lights through to the cows festooning the menu.
I sampled the churros (Spanish doughnuts) which arrived dusted with cinnamon sugar and in the good company of a shot of dark molten chocolate. They were divine, quite frankly, and according to the menu, 'baked not fried'. This eased my conscience considerably about the calorific load I was ingesting. My companion selected the mini sliders, two toasted brioche sandwiches served with a choice of ice cream or yoghurt and a shot of white chocolate. Had he been willing to share any of them with me, I'd no doubt be able to advise that they tasted as good as they looked.
Ice cream comes in dozens of different varieties. Image courtesy Cowch.
Other items available include gourmet cakes and pastries (with samples available for tasting), chocolate fondant, honey and rum toasted bananas, affogato, sticky date pudding served with a shot of Baileys, toasted marshmallows served with Baileys-infused chocolate and all manner of ice cream. 'Naked pops' which invite diners to dress and style their own iceblock on a stick is another innovative inclusion on the menu.
Cowch also features a truly inspired cocktail list - think pineapple and basil martini, blood orange margarita and the tempting coffee blonde (espresso, Patron XO Cafe, vanilla syrup, vanilla vodka infused with cinnamon and Dom Benedictine). And did I mention dessert-style pizzas? There is a selection of five, including the 'nutty banana' (peanut butter base, banana, rice bubbles and crushed almonds) and the popular 'strawberry blonde' (with a white chocolate base, strawberries, banana and marshmallow).
So it's not the sort of place you'll find someone reading I Quit Sugar. Even so, for those who lack a sweet tooth, there are cheeseboards comprising four types of cheese, sultanas on the vine, quince paste, pickled fig and crackers. A selection of beer and wine is also on offer.
Diners can select from a range of seating - from communal table to intimate lounges to cosy single-seater coffee-table type set-ups - to suit their mood. And in a final nod to comfort and indulgence, particularly during these cool winter days, there's a central fire pit to keep diners snug and warm.