He said/She said: Brother Espresso Review
What a treat we have for you guys. Nick and I are reviewing a place together! Two foodie forces, combined at last! Who knows what will happen when both of our taste buds and opinions churn out the one review. I’m hoping for something coherent.
ALLY: If you’re not one of the lucky buggers who works in the hub of the city (yeah, I’m talking to you, Queen Streeters: you with your plethora of food choices and your options for lunchtime shopping sprees) it can be difficult to find a good, fairly quiet place for lunch. Brother Espresso is a cafe tucked away in Margaret St (also Wickham Terrace and Bulimba) that is like a little haven: think little nooks with couches and tables, quality coffee, and winter-worthy fare.
NICK: Brother Espresso is a place I’ve been hearing about for a while and I have actually walked past their Wickham Terrace location many times without realizing it existed. It’s a similar story with the Margaret Street store. You could definitely be forgiven for not knowing about it, as from the outside it’s very inconspicuous with just a couple of small stools and a sign. This unremarkable façade masks a fantastic space that has a bit of a grungy style, brought about by lots of old brick work and varnished concert floors. The rough parts are contrasted with clean rich colours, and lots of new and old wooden furniture. The first thing that grabbed my attention was actually the menu, which was about three meters wide and projected on to the entry wall. This unique approach presented the lunch time selection, with pricings hovering around the very reasonable $10 mark.
A: The range of salads ($10.50) they have looked good, but the Turkish Pockets sounded like they’d be the ticket. Nick ordered a Thai Beef pocket, and figuring I’d probably have food envy, I ordered a Tandoori Chicken version (both $9.50).
N: We also grabbed a couple of coffees (from $2.90). Brother Espresso has a reputation for great coffee and I was certainly keen to put them to the test. They roast their own coffee and my strong flat white was certainly above average. Initially I was frustrated by the lack of white sugar (raw sugar erks me, give me highly refined processed goodness any day) but my coffee really didn’t need much ‘adjusting’ as it turned out. There was very little bitterness and it tasted strong and rich. I was impressed.
A: My coffee was also pretty strong, but whatever, I can handle it (the lack of refined carbohydrates to accompany it was also not a problem). The food puzzled me at first-I’m a very wordy person. I hear ‘pocket’ and I think of a little sandwich with chicken and salad tucked away inside, all sealed up and piping hot. Instead the Turkish pockets are pretty much toasted sandwiches made with Turkish buns. Don’t get me wrong-mine was delicious. The tandoori chicken was tender, and the accompanying marinated mushrooms, cucumber, tomato, and rocket balanced the flavours nicely. I think poor Nick lost out on this round with his though.
N: I’m definitely with Ally on this, the word pocket does not mean toasted sandwich. Mine was disappointing; yes it was hot and filling, but the beef was chewy and the combination of olives, roasted capsicum, and smoked tomatoes made it very salty. I should have stuck with my first impulse, which was a salad.
A: Mine was perfectly toasted (ha ha!), but it did get a little messy towards the end. We were both having dripping issues (do not bring first dates here, people). Service was fast, and the waitress remembered who ordered what. Surprisingly, it was fairly quiet for a mid-week lunch time, but I’ve been there when it’s busy and waiting times are a bit longer.
N: Oddly, Brother Espresso is a week days only operation. They have a pretty decent and well-priced breakfast menu and it’s the kind of place I would enjoy sitting in for a few hours on a Saturday morning. Obviously the CBD just isn’t a popular brekky place.
A: Outrage. We need to fuel up before we hit the shops! I also wish that the breakfast menu were offered past midday (who in their right mind waits that long until their first meal anyway?)-it would also give the menu more range. As it stands, the lunch menu consists of just Turkish pockets, salads, and pizza. All tasty, but no ‘smaller’ snack-like options. Some of us like to have more than one lunch a day, alright?
N: Despite my sandwich only being average, I’ll be heading back sometime in the future to check out the rest of their menu. I just love the space and the feel of the café and their coffee alone is worth the walk from the core of the CBD. Check ‘em out.
127 Margaret Street
(also Wickham Terrace in CBD and Bulimba)
(07) 3003 1346
Weekdays 7am – 4pm
Visited: Thursday, 9 June 2009