Gramercy Espresso & Eats

Thursday, July 24, 2014

There are a lot of fantastic places in Brisbane CBD to get your morning caffeine hit but to be honest, I generally prefer other areas for breakfast location options. I just tend to find more interesting and better prices in West End, Woolloongabba and New Farm, just to name a few. However, given that I'm in the CBD five days a week along with the majority of my regular breakfast companions, I'm slightly restricted to the location when choosing a place. In saying that, they are some really great options and one of my favourites is Gramercy in the Wintergarden. When mentioning its location to others who don't know of it, the immediate assumption is that it's in the food court but Gramercy is actually just inside the small corridor entrance off Edward Street.  

It's literally a hole in the wall cafe, with the service and kitchen areas occupying less than 10m2 with several small tables lining the wall up the corridor. Initially, there were only about five tables but over the last year they've expanded and apart from several more tables, there's a large counter bench with some specialty coffee apparatus displayed on it...and probably used but I haven't seen them in use! The fitout of the service and kitchen area is clever and makes use of the high walls which are tiled with bevelled white subway tiles and lined with open shelving, housing jars of dry goods, coffee beans, house-made preserves and chutneys, cookbooks and baking trays. An old-fashioned scale hangs from a shelf and is usually holding some fresh produce which will no doubt be used in the meals. Cabinetry is painted a vibrant green and the front counter is glass and doubles as a display for the freshly made baked goods, several of which are amazingly made in the tiny store!

 The regularly rotating all-day menu is brief but innovative. A few standards like the Bircher Muesli with seasonal fresh fruit, honey and yoghurt ($8.80) and the Smashed Avocado with parley labne on sourdough ($9.20) have remained - luckily or I think there'd be outcry from regulars - and other breakfasty options include a Brekkie Burger ($10) and Green Eggs creamed spinach, cress, eggs and sourdough ($12). Currently the menu has lunchier options of soup and a range of sandwiches/bagels ranging between $10-14 plus a salad option.

Espresso & House Blend coffee
I met up with C for his birthday this week at the top of the mall with our bikes and as he's been sick, he requested somewhere with something simple, not too far from the top of the mall and inside so I suggested Gramercy. I walked my bike down the Queen St Mall and parked in near a bench in the middle outside of the Wintergarden. We walked through the centre from the mall to get there and had our pick of seats when we arrived around 7:30am so chose one closer to the shops after picking up a menu from the front counter. A waitress was quickly over to take coffee orders and C got an espresso ($3.50) and I decided to try the House Blend ($3) which is filter coffee made through a Moccamaster. Coffees didn't take long to arrive and I was very happy with my choice which appeared in a large mug. Gramercy Espresso use Reuben Hills beans for their espresso but I'm not sure if they use the same for the filter coffee. I usually get long blacks which I find can be a bit sour for me sometimes so I preferred the smoother filter coffee. C decided to have the Brekkie Burger, which is bacon and a fried egg on a ciabatta roll with spinach, mustard mayo and tomato relish. I usually swing between the Bircher and the Smashed Avocado on a gluten-free bagel ($1.50), which I love is a Bagel Boys bagel. Lately my daily breakfast has been avocado on toast and so I decided to go with the Bircher for something different.

Bircher Muesli with fresh berries, apple, yoghurt & honey ($8.80)

Brekkie Burger - bacon, fried egg, mustard mayo, tomato relish, spinach ($10)

I didn't really take note of how long it took for our meals to arrive but it didn't seem long. C's Brekkie Burger looked fresh and tasty with the yolk of the fried egg oozing out and plenty of crisp spinach. My bowl of Bircher was bigger than I remembered previous serves being and I was delighted to see several bright strawberries, fresh blueberries and plenty of green apple batons on top. Gramercy's use of apples batons inspired me to change the way I serve my Bircher muesli to use  julienned apples instead of grated - the texture is so much better! I dug in eagerly and was instantly reminded how much I love the food at Gramercy. The muesli was creamy and thick with soft dates and macadamias mixed throughout. The vanilla yoghurt still had a lovely tart flavour and the drizzle of honey added just enough sweetness. The fruit was all fresh and sweet and pepitas added some good crunch along with the macadamias. I think I'm calling this my current favourite Bircher muesli! C was equally happy with his burger and said that the creamy mayo and relish made it especially delicious.

When paying at the counter (they split bills BTW), a freshly made large lemon and crystallised ginger bundt cake was just being placed on the counter and it was hard to not choose something to take away. However I was full from the muesli and there was no way I could eat one of them by myself....although I must get back for morning/afternoon tea one day! They also sometimes sell house-made preserves (the apricot jam is yummy) and at Christmas they had a pop-up shop in the Wintergarden. In total the bill came to just under $30 for two meals and three coffees, which I'd call very reasonable for great food. My visit to Gramercy just cemented it as a favourite breakfast option for me and a reminder that there are good options in the CBD.


Ease of access: 6/10 (CBD streets are not great to ride but if you don't like roads it's not a far walk from any of the bike path exits and is about a 5-10 minute walk from the top of the mall )                   
Parking: 4/10 (No nearby bike racks or much to lock to easily)

Gramercy Coffee on Urbanspoon

Slightly hidden in Wintergarden corridor entry off Edward St

Shop interior

The current menu

Coffee making apparatus on bar

And some previous meals I've had...

The Smashed Avocado with labne

Grazing Plate (no longer available)

Roast Chicken sandwich on GF bagel

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