A Brisbane-based editor and creative communicator who loves free weekends, when they happen! Visit me at ellwords.com.au or bookswordspages.wordpress.com.
Published January 19th 2018
Update April 28th 2019
Update: In March 2019 the Engine Room Cafe closed, but a new coffee shop will be opening there soon! Watch weekendnotes for further news.
Chug on down for great coffee and gorgeous views
But for the blue Merlo Coffee flags waving on Macquarie Street, we'd have missed it completely: the most scenic coffee spot in Teneriffe. If you're looking for great coffee and a truly riverside venue close to the city, try the recently opened Engine Room Café.
Positioned on the edge of the Brisbane River with views across to Bulimba and Hawthorne, the historic building really lends itself to a cafe setting. It's been through a lengthy restoration by Brisbane City Council and reopened in its new configuration in mid-2017. With ramp access, public toilets and a deck area, it's now a beautiful spot for watching the boats go by over breakfast, lunch or coffee. And good coffee, by the way.
Not local in the area, we happened to be exploring Teneriffe one recent Saturday afternoon (as you do) when the need for coffee struck (as it does). Hoping to find somewhere to gaze at the river while recharging our batteries, we spotted the Merlo flags and wandered down to the new-looking old-looking brick building squatting below street level.
There are both steps and ramps from street to café to riverside boardwalk, so access is easy for all. We were happy to learn that our two dogs were welcome on the deck outside (the dogs were happy to learn that water bowls were provided).
We chose an apple and cinnamon muffin and a gluten-free chocolate fudge brownie for afternoon tea. Both were excellent, as were our lattes (mine, caramel; his, lactose-free piccolo). Service was quick and friendly and our orders were attractively presented. The bill totalled a little over $17, which we thought was very reasonable for such yummy treats.
We wished we'd arrived earlier so that we could have whiled away more of the afternoon watching the river go by – a perfect foil for busy lives. The café currently closes at 4pm, but from 25 January they'll be open for dinner (indoors only).
Meanwhile, locals have been making the most of the stunning location as a breakfast or lunch venue. The cafe opens at 7am daily with a generous all-day breakfast menu, and lunchtime offers burgers, sandwiches and specialty dishes.
Eggs benedict. (Photo: Engine Room Cafe, used with permission)
We're looking forward to a return visit to the Engine Room Cafe - perhaps next time for lunch. The river is a huge part of Brisbane's personality and lifestyle, yet we often don't make the most of it. Sitting by the water with your favourite company and something lovely on the table before you has to be one of life's simple joys.
Watch the Engine Room Cafe's Facebook page for mouthwatering pics and regular updates. Even better, go experience it for yourself! Just allow plenty of time for staring at the river ...