Brisbane is experiencing an awesome cafe boom right now. Every week there seems to be a new, amazing, gotta-see-it-to-believe-it-because-it's-going-to-blow-your-mind kind of cafe that is opening down the road from last week's "Oh my god! This is the one!" cafe. Each new cafe competing with the other on how retro-trendy and simple-yet-so-complicated they can be.
Now look, we're the first to pump our fists in the air when another unique and interesting cafe opens in Brisbane. The more the merrier. It's just that, sometimes, awesome can be too much, you know? There are times when you just want to have a coffee and not have to worry that you'll never be as cool as the people who own the cafe.
Enter Stop Sixteen. A modest little cafe in Ashgrove that doesn't try too hard at all. In fact, you could say they don't try hard enough. Stop Sixteen is that shy kid you never noticed at school until they became a supermodel after college. There's really isn't anything that pulls us through the door and that's not because there isn't one (It's just a roll-up door). It's only once we're sitting down sipping on a cup of coffee that we realise that we're completely in love with the place.
Stop Sixteen, named after the bus stop right out front, has tiling that we only ever saw at the bottom of public pools in the 90's. It's a narrow room with paintings, graffiti and posters decorating the walls. There is a mesh of red leather couches, old school tables and pews, and kitchen chairs and tables. There's nothing ironic or trendy about the choice of furniture. It just feels like that what was available at the time. And it works just fine.
As far as the menu goes, it's your basic sandwiches and cakes and goodies. Fresh bread, fresh ingredients and very good value for money. We had the avocado, ham and cheese sandwich on turkish bread. Again, nothing fancy, that's not how Stop Sixteen rolls.
Kunal Jogi, the nicest man you'll ever meet, is Stop Sixteen. Owner, barista, cleaner and host, Kunal makes a seriously good, well crafted cup of coffee. This is when Stop Sixteen stops being wonderfully unnoticeable and becomes a happy place to be. They use Di Bella coffee beans and the flat white we ordered was smooth and textured. At the core, Stop Sixteen is about really good coffee and a fuss-free experience. It's all about Kunal and how chilled he is in his own cafe. Sure, there are the too frequent rev-heads screaming up and down Waterworks Road, which can be annoying but what can you do?
We also tried the "Special Stop Sixteen Coffee Special" which isn't that special but it's so damn indulgent that we don't care. With a choice of coffee (we went with an espresso) accompanied by a shot glass of layered chocolate fudge, whipped cream and an Oreo, there's not much to get wrong. Try it. It's a smile maker.
Stop Sixteen won't be appearing on many blogs or magazines. But what it is, is an honest, feel-good cafe where you can be happy in the comfort that, just this once, you're under no pressure to maintain your street cred.