Shop 1102, Level LG, Westfield Carindale Shopping Centre, Carindale
This is a post that I should have written up a long, long time ago but with all the eating I've been doing, it got lost at the bottom of my unfinished blog post list. Westfield Carindale has undergone a phenomenal make-over. It's now HUGE. It's not quite Chermside huge but it's almost unrecognizable from what I remember as a child or teenager loitering around there after school. There are entire new wings and what isn't brand new has been renovated.
One such renovation was done on The Coffee Boutique, which is a cafe that mum and I sometimes go to when we're at the shops. I don't know how I feel about shopping centre cafes anymore. I used to be fine with them but now they make me anxious. What's changed between then and now is that I used to catch public transport and frequented shopping centres just for fun, whereas nowadays not only do I drive everywhere but I never have time to do physical shopping (my shoes, clothes and even groceries are purchased online and delivered to work/home). The driving part is relevant because I'm terrified of parking, especialy at unfamiliar shopping centres, ESPECIALLY at Carindale because it's so bloody competitive and ESPECIALLY now because they have this annoying new ticket system.
My brain seems to have associated shopping centres with stress so it's hard for me to feel relaxed even when I'm just there having coffee and lunch.
All that aside, I'll get back to describing the cafe. I like the renovations done on it. It used to be more closed off and dark. Now, it's lighter and brighter but has maintained the closed off layout, which semi-succeeds in making you forget that you're in a busy shopping centre.
The menu is fairly stock standard. There are sandwiches, burgers, chips, soups and pasta and things. The cake cabinet has a selection of sweets along with some savory items of the day.
When we went, mum had already eaten lunch but I hadn't so I ordered a sandwich and apple crumble slice and forced her to eat some with me. I didn't really want to be the only person eating at the table!
Our coffees arrived first, a latte for me and flat white for mum. The coffees were pretty good but I think the best word to describe them would be unimpressionable. I drink coffee so much that most fall under that category and occasionally, I'll have a cup that tastes amazing or one that tastes like burnt water. This fell into the main category of 'it's ok'.
Toasted gourmet smoked salmon sandwich - with alfalfa, Spanish onion, capers, coral lettuce and cream cheese
I chose the salmon sandwich and it did everything that I wanted it to. It was filling and satisfying without being guilt-inducing. I know that in the photos, it looks like there is almost no salmon and mostly lettuce but the photos are misleading. There was a reasonable amount of smoked salmon inside.
The rest of the sandwich was comprised of lots of my favorite bread fillers including avocado and cream cheese (both of which I think work great with salmon). OK, so it was just a sandwich but I think they did a good job.
Apple crumble slice
The apple crumble slice was served with a big mound of whipped cream. It wasn't too sweet and had a biscuit base, sticky apple middle and crumble top.
Bite shot of the apple crumble slice
Mum liked this but I thought it was fairly average. The base could have been shorter (as in, more melty, not dimentionally shorter) and the crumble, crunchier.
The Coffee Boutique is a stock standard chain-style shopping centre cafe. It doesn't pretend to be hip or trendy and there isn't anything over-ambitious on the menu. Sometimes, that's a good thing. For something predictable, unpretentious and (if you're shopping) convenient, it's a decent lunch spot and good alternative to hitting the food court.