Hoo Ha Bar

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Let me preface this review with the note that this is an old review from October 2014 that I apparently forgot to publish...

It was a Tuesday morning and I rose early as usual with the intention of going to my Sculpt class at the gym but I left about five minutes too late and by the time I'd made it to the Go Between Bridge, the class was about to start. Sure, I could have turned up late, but I decided it was a sign that it just wasn't a Sculpt kind of day (I'm easily convinced...by myself) and figured I'd do a longer ride and turned off to take the Go Between Bridge. My longer route involves going via Southbank (which is a much nicer ride than across the river underneath the Riverside Expressway) and then back over the Goodwill Bridge, through the Botanical Gardens and then coming out around Riverside. As I was riding through Southbank I decided I'd treat myself and have breakfast out. It had been a while since I'd visited Hoo Ha Bar and had been meaning to get back there for ages so Hoo Ha Bar it was.

Hoo Ha Bar is located on Tribune St and if you are exiting the Little Stanley St area on the Goodwill Bridge end, you just go straight ahead and Hoo Ha Bar is about 100m up on the corner of Tribune St and Colchester St. I may have taken a disallowed route through Southbank to get up there but it was quiet and easier than going through River Quay, which would have meant going over the dreaded speed bumps. Hoo Ha Bar opened a few years ago but still seems to be relatively unknown. It's a great space in a relatively unobtrusive grey building with high ceilings and a really comfortable, chilled out vibe. It could basically just be your home, albeit a really sweet looking home with exposed brick walls, large tables, leather couches, and one well stocked bar. They were one of the first smaller bars in Brisbane to get into the craft beer scene and offer a forever changing range on tap. Local favourites Green Beacon and Fortitude Brewing Co are just a few which feature on their list. They also support the local art and music scene with artwork displayed for sale and local music acts playing during their Sunday Sessions. Sometime after opening, they began to serve nibbles with their beer and eventually this expanded to simple breakfast and lunch menus and then later, a more substantial dinner menu. They promote themselves as selling good food at 1972 prices. I'm not exactly sure what prices were in 1972 but Hoo Ha Bar's breakfast menu would probably qualify as cheap eats. Originally when I first visited when they had just begun their breakfast menu, the meals were all $8 and while on the smaller side, were substantial and different from the norm. Think meatballs and sourdough or sobrasada on a bagel. These days the menu is still small but continues to offer twists on the standard avocado toast, Bircher muesli, and bacon and egg roll.

October 2014 Breakfast Menu...1972 prices...

The place was mostly empty when I arrived just after 7 so I had the pick of tables. The leather couches looked appealing but I chose one of the smaller bar tables with high stools. The inside of the bar is a really lovely place that you feel like you could just spend hours relaxing in. The large windows ensure that natural sunlight streams in and I can just imagine going in there with a book and drinking countless cups of coffee as I read. There is plenty of seating and has larger tables if you are with a group too. Mini clipboards with the menus were conveniently placed on the tables and after perusing the menu and being tempted by the Truffle scrambled eggs, crispy pancetta, and chipotle ailoi on a warmed pugliese roll, I went with the slightly healthier sounding House made bircher muesli w/ leatherwood honey infused yoghurt, fresh fruit, and toasted coconut ($10). I went up to the counter to order, along with a long black, and was greeted by a friendly guy who after taking my order proceeded to tell me all about what was going on at Hoo Ha Bar including a movie screening that was occurring that night and their Sunday afternoon music sessions. So yeah, lots happening there :) My long black arrived quickly, not surprising given the number of people there, but was well made and not bitter.

Long Black with milk on the side

Bircher Muesli with leatherwood honey infused yoghurt, fresh fruit & toasted coconut

My muesli took a while longer to arrive but when it did, was presented in a large wide bowl on a wooden board. A single purple flower had been placed on top which was a nice touch and brought a smile to my face. The muesli itself was not a creamy Bircher and looked as though it had been soaked in just apple or orange juice. Quick oats were used and plenty of shredded coconut and large chunks of dried figs, apricots and sultanas were visibly mixed through. Topped with runny yoghurt and additional toasted coconut and a pink swirl indicated some raspberries may have been in there too. I expected from the description for there to be some fresh fruit but when I asked the waiter, he said something about there being apple in there. I personally prefer fresh fruit over dried fruit so was disappointed by the apparent lack of it. However my request for additional yoghurt was easily met, so I appreciated that! The muesli itself was not overly sweet (so I think it was soaked in orange juice as apple tends to be sweeter) and neither was the yoghurt but the large amount of coconut and dried fruit made it sweet. I prefer a less sweet muesli so just ate around some of the dried fruit, mostly the apricots as I don't really like them - entirely personal preference and should have no bearing on the muesli! The muesli was quite mushy and as there were no nuts or seeds, the only other texture came from the fruit and coconut. While it was a well made Bircher muesli, it just wasn't my preferred type and really the opposite of what I like in mine unfortunately.

Don't mix them up.

I still love the atmostphere at Hoo Ha Bar so would go back but I'd try something else for breakfast. I asked about catering for dietary requirements and they don't believe in charging extra for gluten-free bread or soy milk, which I think is fantastic! I've also been for drinks there and they have a great selection of both drinks and food, so I'd be happy to back anytime really. If you haven't been to this slightly-off-the-track spot already, I suggest you give it a go. It's definitely a bit of a hidden gem in the Southbank area.


Hoo Ha Bar on Urbanspoon

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