After trawling through the Paddington Antique Centre last week, my insatiable hunger forced me to eat at nearby cafe, the Java Lounge. I tend to avoid Paddington cafes as the food rarely lives up to the price tag, but despite my reservations I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience.
It was a weekday and the place was packed - we grabbed the last available table which was outside on the sidewalk. The cafe is in a prime location along the trendy strip on Latrobe Terrace which houses the antique centre and the inimitable Monty's Chocolates, amongst other eclectic little shops.
The Java Lounge at Paddington could well be in the running for Brisbane's Funkiest Cafe title. The outdoor sidewalk seating is nothing to write home about, but the interior is crammed with a bright and colourful mish-mash of funky furniture, the exposed brick walls dancing with artwork.
Java does a fairly standard all day breakfast and lunch menu (nothing exotic or surprising here), and has a cabinet full of tempting snacks (savoury and sweet) to choose from, including freshly made muffins, rolls and sandwiches.
The prices were as I'd expected - Paddington prices always make me squirm a little uncomfortably in my seat! We settled on a Vegetarian Big Breakfast ($18.80) to share, as my friend wasn't particularly hungry and we couldn't fathom paying almost $40 for two breakfasts. After an acceptable wait time of about fifteen minutes, I was surprised and delighted to have our shared breakfast served up on two separate plates.
On top of the chef's considerate gesture, the food was actually very good; well cooked with fantastic flavours. The free range eggs were light and fluffy, the haloumi browned to perfection, the spinach still had life in it, and the homemade baked beans were amazing.
The Java Lounge is clearly a popular spot, the service is very good and the food we sampled was lovely. I would return but I certainly couldn't afford to eat there too often. And my hunger wasn't entirely sated - I did head straight to Monty's afterwards for one of Brisbane's best hot chocolates!