In-cog-neato is an intriguing West End coffee bar that lives up to its name. A tiny nook down the GOMA end of Montague Road, it's easy to miss unless you know to look for its discreet charms.
And what are In-cog-neato's charms? Well, firstly, its individuality. There aren't many (any?) other coffee bars in Brisbane that offer not just coffee and food but also vintage clothes and bric-a-brac from one small room.
Undaunted by her space constraints, owner Steph has created a colourful bower where you can drink, eat, and fossick through pre-loved garments, records, ornaments, and more. While the shop itself is too small to accommodate seating, Steph has artfully arranged retro furniture and other bits and pieces along the footpath and in a nearby laneway to create plenty of inviting places for customers to sit.
Treasure-hunters search the vintage stock
Secondly, In-cog-neato's coffee and food are good. As regular readers might recall, I don't hit the caffeine myself, but I do have a Coffee Spy whom I deploy on stealth missions. He returned with only positive words for In-cog-neato's short black: 'smooth, strong, not a hint of bitterness'.
Yummy banana cake served on retro crockery
I did personally taste-test the In-cog-neato banana cake, and enjoyed munching my way through its moist texture and creamy icing. I was also tempted by the apple-crumble muffins and a range of Turkish toasties, though I didn't have time to sample them on this visit. Prices for everything were very reasonable, with coffees ranging from $3.50 to $4, muffins and cakes from $2.50 to $3.50, and the toasties from $6 to $7.
In-cog-neato's third great charm is its welcoming vibe. Steph greeted me with a big smile, and was happy to serve me just the one piece of cake (no upselling here). Treasure-hunters who wandered in while we were chatting were left in peace to sift their way through the vintage stock, and a couple of mellow visitors sat outside strumming a ukelele and singing. Throw in a little sunshine on a crisp winter's day, and it all added up to a very nice feel.
In-cog-neato is open weekdays from 6.30am, so it's a perfect place to stop for a pre-work coffee if you're heading down Montague Road (just look for the little shop directly across the road from the milk factory, next door to The Joynt restaurant and pub).
It's also only a minute from the Kurilpa Point bike paths, so it's ideal for refreshments after a cycle or jog. And In-cog-neato is right around the corner from the Gallery of Modern Art (whose staff are regular visitors, says Steph), so it's in a good spot if you want to grab some lunch while visiting the gallery during the week. Just make sure to check the lunch-time opening hours listed below, and plan accordingly.
For me, places like In-cog-neato are one of a city's delights: out-of-the-ordinary establishments that surprise you in the best possible ways. With Steph hoping to add bicycles to her goods for sale in the near future (hence the 'deadly treadlys' in the name), In-cog-neato just gets more and more intriguing. If you take the time to seek it out, I think you'll enjoy what you find.
P.S. If you're looking for another interesting coffee house closer to the CBD, read my Java Coast Cafe review. And Ajisen Ramen is another eatery that I can recommend in easy reach of GOMA.