It's unlikely that you'll stumble across Medley Cafe and Restaurant while you're wandering the streets of Kangaroo Point, because from the street you won't see it at all. If serendipity is on your side you may be lucky enough to locate it, snuggled comfortably next to historic Yungaba, while you're walking or cycling along the river path in Brisbane's glorious spring sunshine. If you do, I have some advice. Cease and desist your ramble immediately, head right on up the white concrete-edged steps, take the load off your feet and indulge in everything Medley has to offer; terrific food, great coffee and Brisbane riverside ambience. You won't be disappointed.
View of the restaurant from the riverside boardwalk.
Our first introduction to Medley was at a wine tasting event for Marko's Vineyard and Ekhidna Wines (fine wines from fine winemakers) and Medley provided not only an airy, picturesque venue but also the tasty nibblies that were the fresh and flavoursome accompaniment to the wines. We were so impressed with the food and location that we decided that a visit later in the week for breakfast by the river would be a perfect date for our wedding anniversary, and we were sooooo right.
Parking can be a little tricky in this part of the world but don't let that stop you. We were fortunate to get one of the few spaces allocated for restaurant customers and some other spots were available in the adjacent street. We went down the rabbit hole of stairs and emerged into the riverside breakfast Wonderland of Medley, joining a clientele that consisted of couples and small groups enjoying the ambience. A large group of cyclists later joined the happy throng.
Medley has a large, cheerful indoor space with a clean Mid-century modern feel, but the timber deck, with its assortment of wrought iron and timber tables and chairs, beckoned. We chose one of the wrought iron tables that sat in the shade under the timber-lined ceiling, while others enjoyed the timber picnic tables with bench seating out in the morning sun or shaded by umbrellas.
Breakfast menus are always fun to peruse and Medley's offered some interesting options but the selections are never really that tricky for Comedy Relief and myself. He wants a big breakfast with the lot (the bigger the better) and I, ever on the lookout for Brisbane's best French toast, want, well... French toast. The French toast described on the menu sounded delightful - Pressed orange sugar French toast, maple & lime thick cut streaky bacon, speculoos semi freddo and macadamia. The Medley Big Breakfast did indeed promise 'the works' - poached eggs, hinterland bacon, charred chorizo, slow roast tomatoes, field mushroom, rocket and guava relish.
We ordered from our friendly waitress and waited for our meals, watching the lazy river and admiring the greenery below us and the flower baskets and fairy lights bedecking the spreading jacaranda tree. I'm sure this would be a magical place on a Brisbane summer evening. Comedy Relief enjoyed some tea ($4) while I opted for a refreshing iced coffee ($6)
I'll describe Comedy Relief's meal first so that I can dwell on the perfection that was my French toast in a little more detail. His eggs were perfectly poached, the bacon thick and tasty, the tomatoes sweet and flavoursome. The chorizo provided a spicy hit and the relish added some zing to the whole meal. It was excellent. Enough said.
And the French toast? Oh my! It was a picture on a plate, as you can see from the images. Thick slices of fluffy, perfectly crispy, eggy toast were interspersed with smoky bacon slices and topped with a creamy semi freddo. Scattered macadamia pieces adorned the dish, along with plump strawberries and orange slices. A delicate orange flavour was evident in every mouthful but did not dominate the dish, confirming my view that citrus should be used more often in cooking. The contrast between citrus-tart, smoky and sweet flavours, and crunchy and soft textures was a winner and I think I'm finally declaring a winner in the Brisbane's best French toast stakes. Yes, it was really that good.
There is a good news / bad news element to my story, but the bad news isn't really bad. Medley has a seasonal menu to make sure that you get the best of fresh local produce. Since our visit they have introduced a new summer menu and this particular version of French toast has been replaced with a similar version - orange sugar French toast with caramelised Australian macadamias, lavender honey, candied orange and speculoos semifreddo ($14), and the Big Breakfast has been superseded by the Aussie Farmer - Darling Downs free range eggs, Hinterland bacon, chorizo sausage, charred pineapple, slow-roasted tomatoes, field mushrooms and balsamic beetroot relish served with sourdough ($21). See, how could that be bad news? You can add sides of hot smoked salmon, Hinterland bacon, chorizo sausage, grilled halloumi, roasted tomatoes, field mushrooms or avocado to any meal for $4. Breakfast is served daily from 7am to 11.30am.
The service we received on our visit from friendly and accommodating staff was top notch. Medley is open 7 days a week for breakfast and lunch, and dinner from Thursday to Sunday. They also host functions (the perfect venue for a wedding reception or your office Christmas party) and have special events such as their upcoming Melbourne Cup Lunch. For bookings call 31624492 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I won't bore you with my arguments for breakfast over lunch or dinner as the ideal meal for eating out. Suffice it to say that during a perfect Brisbane springtime at a stylish riverside venue you'd be crazy not to indulge in a late, lazy breakfast by the river. And when the breakfast is this good... well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy.
The carved inscription on the bench seat says it all.