People assume that living in West End must be such a great thing for me because I'm immersed in a huge selection of Brisbane's best food and drink venues. Actually, it is pretty great. But if I was to go all #firstworldproblem about it, one negative is that it's easy to exhaust all the local vendors and suddenly, there's nothing new to try. I was over the moon when I discovered that Merriweather Cafe was just a hop, skip and jump away in South Brisbane. It was a cafe I hadn't tried! It's also just far enough from the main stretch of restaurants in West End to not be a gigantic pain to find parking at. Since I made this discovery, I've been twice for brunch and tasted enough food to put up a review.
Merriweather Cafe is located on the corner of Russel and Cordelia Streets. It's a smallish venue with some tables on the inside and more scattered around the corner. Both times I've been were mid-morning and I had no trouble getting a table. Something that confuses me ever so slightly is the sign that says "Please wait to be seated" and yet both times I've waited there, a waiter has passed and gestured "just sit anywhere". Aside from that, it's full table service.
I ordered a soy latte and found this to be well made with a decadent foaminess and comforting aroma. I liked that it arrived quite quickly. When I'm at a cafe I don't mind if food takes a bit longer to be served, so long as I have a coffee in my hand.
Cornbread, apple wood smoked bacon, pesto rouge, eggs and tomato salsa
My first visit to Merriweather was actually on my birthday. This was a Monday so everyone else was at work and I decided to treat myself to solo brunch like a lonely nigel. I went for the cornbread with smoked bacon. It was a huge serve, very filling. The cornbread was nice but maybe a tad dry.
Thick bacon steak ;)
I was really amused by the bacon, which was thick cut like spam. I never tried bacon like that before and it was great! Pesto added flavour and the cherry tomato salsa kept things light. My poached eggs were cooked perfectly too.
Pumpkin, pickled local mushrooms with kale and almond picada
The second time I tried Merriweather, I asked for the smoked fish but it wasn't yet available so I went for the vegan dish on the menu: pumpkin and pickled mushrooms. This was served with an almond pesto and looked pretty as a picture on the plate (very Autumny I thought). I was concerned that a vegan dish wouldn't be filling enough but I left the cafe very content. The pumpkin was sweet and tender and the picada had a nice flavour that was more mild than conventional basil/pinenut pesto. The mushrooms added some meatiness and substance to the dish and I know they are supposed to be pickled but they were too sour for my liking. They were impossible to eat on their own but tolerable when paired with large mouthfuls of pumpkin. I think this dish has potential but the acidity factor needs some balancing.
Merriweather cafe is great both in concept and taste. It has a strong focus on locally sourced produce, which means ingredients are fresh and delicious. I found the food to be wholesome, healthy, tasty and filling on both occasions that I visited. The environment is light and casual and service was quite speedy too.