tl;dr: Fancy foodies may flock to the small collection of shop fronts now known, rather grandly, as the Martha Street Precinct, but this newcomer shows it’s unwise to follow the crowd.
From the location and fitout to the interior decoration and food, Cafe Grenadine is an exercise in understatement. Situated at the opposite end of Martha Street from the cluster of cafes everyone knows, it’s almost as if the building is deliberately keeping away from the spotlight.
Walking through the doorway into a room of hardwood floors and white chairs lends the impression that even when the cafe is full, it won’t feel crowded or busy. Wicker light shades, a bowl of pineapples, and some pot plants add a coastal vibe. Unusually for a minimalist space, Cafe Grenadine feels calm and cosy – particularly if you manage to nab a seat on the banquette surrounded by windows.
@cafegrenadine is open! This beautiful new cafe is owned by the most inspiring, creative, motivated, talented woman there is! Visit, enjoy the delicious food, perfect coffee and smooth fresh mint tea! And check out those lights … Coconuts! #grenadine #cafegrenadine #camphill #brisbane #cafe #coffee #branding #design
The coffee machine takes pride of place at the counter and is operated by staff appropriately enthusiastic about the Bear Bones Coffee they serve. Counterbalancing the coffee machine is the traditional cake cabinet, filled with cakes that are anything but traditional. The most eye-catching are the pink lamingtons, which manage to be both delicious and vegan.
The menu offers a mixture of breakfast and lunch options. Some dishes move towards the Mediterranean by way of Morocco, such as the berber omelette tagine, served with flatbread.
For those with a sweet-tooth, the pumpkin waffles with poached pear, salted pumpkin caramel, and mascarpone will have you wondering why you’d ever eat pumpkinless waffles again. They’re a perfect reminder of what an inventive chef can do with the humble waffle, when it isn’t being overshadowed by its popular, preening cousin, French toast.
There are typical breakfasts, like eggs on toast, on offer as well, but why settle for toast when you could sit your eggs atop braised beef rib and roast potato? There are just so many twists on familiar ways to start the day. It’s as if the menu is designed to gently nudge you out of your culinary comfort zone.
Don’t read too far into the cafe’s name, though. Sadly for fans of grenadine (or the fruit it’s made from) pomegranate has yet to make its way into any dishes or drinks. That could be swiftly rectified by the addition of a diabolo – a popular French drink combining grenadine and lemonade – to the menu. It doesn’t seem very likely, but here’s hoping.
Edit: Previous dishes have featured pomegranate, and cafe owner Marilyn says there’s currently a grenadine mocktail in the works, along with plans for a liquor licence. See her comment below.
As the weather gets cooler, Cafe Grenadine is the kind of place you’ll want to hole up in for the day. A warm drink, a friendly smile, and some offbeat comfort food could set the afternoon up nicely. In fact, that’s probably why they close after lunch. If they stayed open for dinner, people would never leave.
Review by Kit Kriewaldt