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Published July 11th 2020
Where urban vibes meet garden serenity
It's easy to spend hours exploring the curved walking paths, exquisite flowers and plants, open green space and be captivated by the cascading water of the fountains in Roma Street Parklands. It is certainly one of Brisbane's premier parks.
For visitors (like me) with tired feet and an overloaded camera, it's pleasing to stumble across The Garden Room cafe to rest and replenish before starting again. This inner Brisbane cafe, situated right in the parklands, is self-described as "where urban vibes meet garden serenity."
The Garden Room is located at the Turbot Street end of the parkland beside the towering residential apartment complexes. It is also cushioned between the road leading into and out of the city - on one side and the railway line on the other. That might sound like a busy combination, but you can't even notice any transport noise,
Given the location, it is only fitting that The Garden Room has been designed in a pavilion-style with a high peaked roof that had a slightly oriental flavour.
It underwent a renovation when it was given a spruce by Brisbane's Pagewood Projects and designed by Mayfield Studios with a brief to "create an urban restaurant that engages with its verdant surrounds and caters to a diverse market of commuters, tourists and locals". An installation of pots is rowed inside the entrance. Towering pine trees hug and protect the building on either side and create a green laneway.
Stepping inside The Garden Room and up to the counter, I spotted a vertical wall garden with fresh herbs such as mint and basil. Now, where to sit? There are two seating spaces – indoor and outdoor. The indoor space is long and has brown wooded french cafe chairs and some green padded bench seating along the sides. A rich vine (of Devil's Ivy, I think) trails and snakes overhead. If you look up, you will notice not only this but also the exposed beams which add even more height to the ceiling. The room feels airy with light streaming through the windows.
If you prefer to sit outside, the outdoor area has white bench seating with striking black and white striped umbrellas which make a fashionable statement as well as more intimate khaki coloured 4 seater tables.
Being at the base of the parklands, open rock cliffs shelter the space but have been stylishly masked by shades and of course, plants. So you hardly notice them as they merge into the overall design. There is also a very steep set of stairs to take you to the top of the park.
Fairy lights hang overhead to add to the magic of the setting.
What's on The Menu The Garden Room serves breakfast and lunch and light snacks. One of the standouts is the broad bean and green pea smash with grilled zucchini, feta and dukkah. Yum! I enjoyed a Toby Estate coffee $4.60 and was tempted by the freshly baked goods on the side.
Events If you think this looks and sounds like a special occasion kind of venue, you would be right. The Garden Room is available for functions including weddings and with the parklands as a backdrop, would offer perfect photo options. I have already dropped a major hint that I'd like to celebrate my next birthday here.
The staff are friendly and helpful. Noticing that I had my hands full with little ones, they were quick to help and I struggled to collect my order. They intercepted a moment of stress. Phew!
The Garden Room is well worth a visit. It combined a refined and relaxed urban elegance with a friendly outdoor ambience and sits as a beacon to the hungry and thirsty in Brisbane's unforgettable and stunning parkland oasis.
The Garden Room is a located at 1 Parkland Boulevard, Roma Street Parklands in the heart of the Brisbane CBD There are several options for getting there
The parkland is adjacent to the Roma Street Railway Station. There is pedestrian access to the Roma Street Parkland from the Station, as well as from Albert Street, and from the section of the parkland which used to be called Albert Park, in Wickham Terrace. Metred car parking is also available.