I have a strong (and possibly irrational) fear of going to the Northside. I'm sure I've mentioned this on the blog before but it's what keeps me from venturing to certain food places that I would otherwise be all over. Vanilla Pod is a perfect example. When I first saw mention of this, I knew it was exactly my type of cafe. A focus on cute cakes and simple and fresh lunches sounded like the best combination. Even their website looks cute and appealing.
All the same, I stalled, unable to garner the courage to drive North just in case like all the other times I've tried, I got lost and have a panic attack. Luckily for me, one of the major perks of wedding planning is cake planning. To me, cake planning is the perfect opportunity to trial a large number of bakeries, taste different flavours, and be annoyingly indecisive until I've eaten my fair share. My first destination within project Death-From-Cake was Vanilla Pod Cafe. And I dragged dad along as driver.
The plan was to first visit Vanilla Pod for lunch and taste a couple of cakes while we were there. If all was good and I was interested to know more, we'd book back for a wedding cake consult.
Even though Ascot isn't too far from where I live, the unfamiliarity of the Inner City Bypass and all those layered lanes and ramps that form the start of the drive to North Brisbane just made it feel like a tedious journey. I was glad I wasn't on my own.
As we neared our destination, we realised we were in rich Brisbane. The houses, the cars, even the trees and lawns looked upper class. I daydreamed a different life and had a brief "ah, if only" moment.
Vanilla Pod is located around the corner from tiny Ascot post office. It's a split level design with the counter, cake and produce cabinets near the front entrance. Up a half set of steps around the side is an extended dining space and gourmet grocer.
Dad and I decided to order a toasted sandwich and dessert each to share. For our sandwiches, I selected the wagyu brisket and dad chose the ham salad. These were cut into halves so we traded and got to sample both. As simple as these were, they were delicious! My favourite types of sandwiches are those with simple but high quality ingredients. Both these were served on toasted Turkish bread.
Close-up of ham toastie
I tried the ham toastie first and loved the combination with sweet relish and sharp cheese. Like I said, simple but so good. The beef toastie was also nice but of the two I preferred the ham.
Caramel popcorn cupcake
My dessert pick was the caramel popcorn cupcake. It was just too cute to pass up. The cupcake itself was dense and moist with evidence of proper vanilla beans used for flavouring. The icing was a tad sweet for my liking and I couldn't detect popcorn flavour anywhere besides the actual kernels on the top.
I was skeptical about the pecan slice because dad chose it and it's not my usual style of dessert. It was actually really delicious. It wasn't as sweet as I thought it would be and the toasty nut flavour made it perfect as a coffee accompaniment.
Vanilla Pod Cafe was a great spot for casual lunch. The food was satisfying and tasty and the service was top notch. I loved the styling of the cafe too and wish I had room to try more of their cakes. They all looked delicious.