Student who has just moved to Brisbane from abroad. Always looking for great local experiences, particularly food-related ones!
Published June 28th 2015
Fantastically cooked local, seasonal produce
Situated on the corner of Russel and Cordelia streets, Merriweather Café pops out at passers-by with its outdoor tables, coffee bar and open plan kitchen. I have walked past it a few times on my way to West End and am always tempted by the delicious-looking fare coming out of its kitchen, but never ducked in until now. The café focusses on local, seasonal produce, as so many do now, but scanning the menu I was glad to see how they were putting this fine produce to use in more than just the typical café offerings.
The menu included intriguing sweet items such as oat, rye and barley porridge with rhubarb, macadamia, bush honey and wattle seed, and ginger bread with mulled wine poached pear and savoury items such as their signature mushroom burger. They all sounded tempting but I was there for lunch and so decided to go for the smoked fish with rye, poached eggs, preserved lemon ricotta and sorrel. Unfortunately as I tried to order it the waitress informed me, very apologetically, that they hadn't got any smoked fish at the moment- they were still waiting for it to come from their supplier. Although I was a little disappointed, I took this as evidence of the fact that they weren't just paying lip service to their commitment to local producers, and happily took my waitress's suggestion of their lunchtime special: chicken broth with sourdough.
Chicken and vegetable broth with sourdough and butter
On a cold day, this dish hit all the right notes: savoury undertones from the chicken stock, heat from a little fresh chilli and a vibrant crunch from fresh vegetables. The bread, from Sprout Artisan Bread, was particularly impressive, perfect for mopping up the delicious remains of the soup. At $10, it was also very good value and left me contented. On the counter inside they had an appetising selection of cakes for dessert, including upside down pear cake ($6) and carrot cake with lemon frosting ($5), all freshly-baked in house.
Something about this café is particularly inviting; perhaps it is the open kitchen and all the various foods on display, or maybe it is atmosphere created by the chatty, friendly staff and all their satisfied, well-fed customers. Whatever it is, I can't wait to come back, especially to try out their sweet breakfast treats and the smoked fish when it returns to the menu!