Uni might be over for another year, but I’m sure as hell the same old scared and sad student that I was when I entered my final exam having completed pretty much no study.
I’m hella scared because the ratio split between the weeks before Christmas versus how poor I am is so nail-bitingly close that I’m bringin’ exposed and bleeding nailbeds back in style.
I’m sad because, while I was on the broke-ass-student thought train, I began to ponder over a super depressing concept and came to a bit of a realisation.
Being a ‘foodie’ is starting to show some similarities to Christmas, but not in the traditional “eat and be merry” kind of way. Instead, it feels as though the awesomeness of these two joyous things is being celebrated far less creatively, with many of us becoming more driven by the materialistic perks rather than the raw, beautiful and fundamental principles.
It makes me sad to think that the rewarding feeling that comes along with uncovering a true Hole In The Wall through doing the dirty work of hitting the pavement could soon be forgotten under the abundance of invitations to exclusive ‘food blogger’ events.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with these events. I think it’s a great, modern and smart opportunity for a smaller business to flaunt themselves and boost their exposure to a larger audience through social media.
I just think it would be a shame to see these events becoming the only way for locals to discover a fab food find: vicariously. There are so many corner-store cafes, hidden restaurants and small businesses who aren’t always social media or PR-savvy, but are just as cool as the businesses who have a strong presence online.
I reckon that, much to Kit’s disgust, we should all take a tip from Paleo master Pete Evans and get back to basics every once in awhile to do some foraging of our own.
Hitting the pavement of your local streets is a sure-fire way to find somewhere cool, and is exactly how I stumbled across my favourite Hole In The Wall. I reckon’ this quirky little ex-bullet factory will fuel your ammunition to hunt down a new fave within the corners of your community.
In the southern ‘burbs of Brisbane where local markets and cafes pumping out more baked artisan goods than one location can accommodate, an outsider may recite Billy Kart Kitchen, Todd & Pup and Cafe O-Mai as being the cream of the Annerley and Moorooka crop.
While all of these places have probably earned their rightful place as some of Brisbane’s most prized food hubs and may very well be worth waiting the little extra time for a table or meal, sometimes a girl’s gotta eat without the obstacle of a queue around the block on a weekend.
So before the rest of the city catches on, throw an extra shot of caffeinated spirit into your Saturday, Sunday or any morning with an exceptional coffee and a fine selection between simple staples and extra-special specials at Salisbury’s Reload Espresso Bar.
Judging merely by the dodgy A-frame signposts that are plonked along Evans Road, you’d be forgiven for thinking Reload was just another tradie canteen or truck stop.
But give it a chance and make the turn into Industries Road – you’ll be totally shot through the heart from the moment they flag you down from the corner of Chrome Street (no, really – there’s a giant rainbow flag out the front. You can’t miss it.).
This little brick shack is unsuspectingly oozing with rustic charm.
Enter up the wooden stairs and through a corrugated iron gate where you may choose to enjoy your breakfast either soaking up the sun on an open patio or under the shade of the veranda on pre-loved lounges and picnic tables. Even if you choose to dine inside, the homely vibes are definitely not confined to the inside of these red brick walls. Trust me on this, you’ll never wanna leave.
I’m one of those people who are weird about dining alone. My feelings about that have grassroots in once watching a young lady decline a spare plate when an entire pizza arrived at her table for one. I’m still confused about whether I felt sorry for her or if she was my soul mate.
Reload is one of the few places where I am always comfortable with the concept of solo dining. Between the friendly staff who are delighted to chat about the building’s history and the furry local from the furniture repair shop next door, the company is always warm, welcoming and never far away.
The food is infused with flavours of the soul and is super affordable; all meals are substantially sized and very filling. Reload’s approach to a menu is simple, but there is enough uniqueness about each dish for you to be excited about any decision.
Take, for example, this incredibly arousing plate of #yolkporn:
Or perhaps a traditional eggs benny, topped with some smokey ham and slathered in hollandaise sauce is more tickling of your fancy.
In the past, I’ve adored their zucchini fritters as well as the shakshuka, but I’m very keen to head back and try a lunch item some time soon.
Perhaps what I love most about Reload is its modesty. They don’t pretend to be anything or anyone else, nor do they attempt to follow in anyone’s footsteps. They’ve got elements self-sufficiency (there’s actually a veggie patch on the back patio) and their digs are decorated with second-hand furniture, but in no way is this unique venue pretentious or conforming.
I always feel like I’m part of a family at Reload.
But it’s not just the combination of staff’s contagious, spirited vibes and the Red Dog who visits from next door. It’s the added gesture that Reload extends to support their local community that really puts the delicious icing on Nonna’s cake.
By the counter, you’ll find a stockpile of flyers and brochures supporting businesses around the community. Better still, Reload opens their doors on the occasional Friday evening to host live music from local musicians. Their efforts in building a family through reuniting a community through food are truly heartwarming.
If you ask me, when it comes to Brisbane’s best Hole in the Wall, Reload Espresso Bar can’t be beaten (shots fired… heh).
But hey – you might not feel the same way, and if you don’t then that is totally awesome. You’re giving an exciting opportunity to an inspiring little cafe closer to your home. So get out into your local area and become one of the locals at your local. Get to know your neighbours through unpretentious food and delicious coffee. Bring the bonding back into the ‘burbs Brisbane.
Words by Jess Morman.