West End Coffee House

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Before there was Plenty, West End Coffee House was my regular post-market breakfast place of choice. Behind the no-nonsense factual name (it is in West End and they do serve coffee) lies an innovative reasonably-priced Thai-inspired menu. And they make excellent coffee with beans from Campos, one of my favourites. Located on Vulture St, just up from the intersection with Boundary Rd, it is a quick 5 minute trip from Davies Park. Open Monday to Saturday, West End Coffee House serves all-day breakfast and lunch but I'm yet to sample their Thai-style lunch menu which only becomes available at lunchtime and is written up on the chalkboard at the back of the cafe. Like so many coffee spots these days, they serve house-made cold press coffee alongside the usual espresso standards.

WECH changes their menu seasonally but a few standards have remained through a few menu changes including breakfast standards such as Bircher Muesli, Avocado on Sourdough with chilli jam and Fruit and Nut Toast with raspberry butter as well as Cucca Sardines with Japanese mayo, rocket, lemon and sourdough and Fried Rice with marinated pulled pork, wok-fried egg and prik nim pla. The latest menu includes Sticky Pulled Beef Sliders with roasted sesame slaw, Laos Sticky Rice Fritters with wok-fried eggs and roasted green chili sauce and Brekky Burrito filled with fried eggs, chorizo, refried beans, tomato salsa, avocado, cheese and chipotle sour cream. As you can tell from that, they don't focus too heavily on one type of cuisine. They also occasionally do specials, which are often posted on their Facebook page.

On this occasion, I was particularly starving to the point of having absolutely no idea what I felt like eating and had gone far enough to not even feel hungry. I was getting close to becoming hangry and was incredibly indecisive so C did the breakfast location choosing and chose West End Coffee House. After locking up our bikes at a nearby rack, we entered the small cafe, which was still only half-full at 9am, grabbed menus from the counter and chose a seat To order at WECH, you first find a seat before ordering and paying at the front counter so we grabbed menus from the counter, helped ourselves to the self-serve water and chose a seat at the high bench at the back, next to some vases with fish swimming happily inside.

It was difficult to go past our standard Fried Rice, which is amazing, but due to indecision I was feeling a mixture of things and something different. I liked the sound of both the Tropical Bircher with macadamia, apricot and toasted coconut, dressed with passionfruit yoghurt, pinapple compote and grated apple ($9) as well as the Laab chopped mince salad with beef, ground sticky rice, fresh thai herbs, lime and chilli, served with rice and fresh cabbage ($13) so C agreed to share both with me. We also both got the cold press espresso ($3.80).

Artistic table numbers

As usual, the coffees arrived quickly and were excellent. They were poured over shaved ice and the coffee didn't taste weak or bitter, which sometimes cold press can do. The meals came relatively quickly afterwards and were large serves and good value for their price.

 Laab chopped beef mince salad

I started with the Laab and was initially concerned that I'd chosen poorly because it didn't looked particularly exciting. I'd also been debating ordering a side of the green chili (which is fantastic) but we thought we'd wait to try it first. Luckily we did because the Laab was spicy enough already and once mixed altogether was a perfect mix of salty and sour with the cabbage and carrot adding texture. I like crunchy, textured food so this is noteworthy! It was hard to stop halfway to switch meals and I suspect I had more than half my share.

Tropical Bircher

The Tropical Bircher was a good size serve and was a creamy mix of oats and the macadamias and coconut met my requirement of added crunch. The apricot, green apple and slightly tart passionfruit-flavoured yoghurt helped to offset the sweetness of the pineapple compote. After a few mouthfuls, I forgot all about the Laab and happily finished off the Bircher. I'm a big Bircher fan and make a batch for myself each week but I make an apple and berry based one which I usually prefer. I really liked the use of pineapple compote which I don't generally see and that enough thought had been put into the combination for the perfect overall mix of sweet-vs-sour. I am also a fan of the use of apple matchsticks instead of grated apple and consider it a mark of a top (although unconventional) Bircher muesli. The WECH Bircher is definitely one of the better ones I've had around Brisbane (Kitchen Sanitarium is still up the top) and well-priced too.

I left West End Coffee House completely sated and ready for the warm ride home!


Ease of Access: 9/10 (Bike paths along Bicentennial Bikeway, Go Between Bridge, then bike marked sections on Montague Road and Vulture St)
Parking: 9/10 (Nearby bike racks and several signposts)

Interesting wall art behind counter, with fancy coffee apparatus on display
It was packed by the time we left with a queue outside

West End Coffee House on Urbanspoon

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