High-ceilings, polished wood and stippled, stained glass windows frame L's Espresso Bar in the iconic Brisbane Arcade. Owners Cate Swan and David Lawler have been in the arcade for five years; the popular eatery is renowned for the tempting fillings of their delicate, multi-layered, gourmet sandwiches, salads, toasted Turkish breads and a mouth watering selection of home-bakes.
An intimate, welcoming space, small wooden tables are decked with cerise, aqua ,blue and mauve overlays, and a tapestry –lined, cushioned banquette faces onto the small preparation area. David and Cate exchange easy banter with patrons over the warm, throaty gurgle of the coffee machine – Merlo coffee and speciality Elmstock Teas are served and stocked.
Open for breakfast, lunch and morning tea, it's a popular meeting place for fellow arcade shop owners. Breakfast offerings include "deliciously healthy home-made muesli topped with sliced bananas" ; the French toast is " Egg dipped bread, lightly fried, dusted with cinnamon and icing sugar and served with maple syrup."
Deliciously decadent is the dark chocolate, flourless cake.
Located on the ground floor, L's is where the VERY BEST scones in Brisbane are to be found. Light, fluffy, moist, studded with plump sultanas or just plain scrumptious, the scones are baked fresh daily and served with jam and cream. The wholesome, homeliness of the place is borne out by this note - "Breakfast after 10am is at the cook's discretion."
Just in time for Christmas, Cate has cooked up a storm and individually sized, home-baked, cellophane-wrapped Christmas cakes line the narrow shelf behind the banquette seating area. Rich, golden brown, loaded with fruit and "baked with love", Cate makes about 60 a year to cope with demand.
If you are in town and looking for personalised service, real food and a special cake for Christmas, take a walk through the arcade to L's Espresso Bar.