Ginger & Green

Sunday, April 03, 2016

When I heard that the owners of The Ponycat in New Farm had opened a new cafe in South Brisbane, I was intrigued and so immediately hunted down the menu. I saw Double Chocolate Brownie Pancakes, Beef & Jalapeño Croquette and Crispy Potato Skins - mouth-watering sounding to most but not generally my thing, especially when trying to up the healthy eating to counteract the recent kilo pile on. But the glowing reviews convinced me that it was worth trying so I suggested it as a mid-week breakfast option to my friend C.

The address is listed as being on Merivale St but my geographically-challenged brain was convinced it was on the same street as Merriweather aka Cordelia St. Obviously it wasn't so after working that out, we parked in the Secure Parking lot between Merivale and Cordelia Streets. Trusty Google Maps showed number 52 as Subway so we assumed that it had replaced Subway but no, Subway was still there. Slightly perplexed, we walked around a little before finally finding it in the area between the two streets but closer to Russell St...literally in front of where we had exited the lift from the carpark.

Ginger & Green is in a green building but I'm not sure if their name is an acknowledgement of that. Inside has that minimalistic, clean Swedish look with white walls, timber tables, colourful chairs and complete glass frontage allowing plenty of natural light to shine through. It's a popular look for Brisbane cafes but I especially like G&G's take on it. It's a relatively small space, perhaps similar in size to Ponycat, but elongated and with a very different vibe to Ponycat's casual, cozy appearance with their awesome 90s themed decoupaged tables. Inside is a large communal table as well as some smaller tables jutting out of the wall and window bench seating. Several more tables of varying sizes are outside but were covered due to the recent rain.

We were greeted by the friendly staff and invited to take a seat anywhere so we opted for the large communal table inside. We were immediately handed menus and given a bottle of water and glasses. Ginger & Green primarily use 7 Seeds coffee beans but feature a rotating list of options which can include other roasters. A small chalkboard on the counter lists them along with their tasting notes - they clearly take their coffee seriously, evidenced further by the fact that they weigh the grind before each pour. The menu lists the standard coffee espresso options ($3-3.5) as well as filter pour over ($6) and batch brew ($3.5); at the moment the batch is served as cold brew which I opted for. 

The broad all-day menu has a range of breakfast and lunch options ranging from toast and condiments and free range eggs on toast to grilled salmon salad with du puy lentils and quinoa. Apart from the toast and simple egg options, the menu prices range between $15 and $20 plus there are many cheaper pre-made options in the counter cabinet. I was still feeling full from a ribs degustation the night before so looked to what was in the front counter cabinet. Filled with pre-made sandwiches, bagels & chia puddings, as well as freshly baked sweet and savoury muffins on top, there are plenty of great options for those on the run and all under $10. I was torn between a delicious looking Reuben rye bagel with corned beef, cheese, russian dressing and pickle ($8.5) and a coconut chia pudding with yoghurt, seeds & fresh fruit ($6.5). I ended up going for the healthier chia pudding, primarily swayed by the fresh fig on top. Such a sucker for figs. C, with her amazing metabolism, chose her version of a light option - salmon gravlax with wasabi creme, poached free range eggs, pickled heirloom vegetables on rye beer bread ($19).

Our coffees were quick to arrive and I loved my refreshing cold brew on ice, served in the most gorgeous matte black and white ceramic mug. I seriously love when a cafe has beautiful plates and cups and these are incredible. I'm pretty sure it was functional as well, keeping my drink chilled. There weren't too many other patrons around when we arrived but a steady stream of takeaway coffee orderers began to appear by that time. Our food was relatively quick to arrive too. Given that I ordered out of the cabinet, mine was ready immediately but C's meal didn't take long and when it did come we were impressed by the lovely plating. First, the flat plate with raised sides (which I love btw) was matte black (SO much love) which starkly contrasted with the vibrant colours of the salmon, wasabi creme, and pickled baby beetroot and carrot. Even the plain poached eggs looked pretty on it all, atop two slices of the toasted bread.

My chia pudding was exactly what I felt like - light and fresh but still substantial with the fresh fruit adding sweetness and seeds a crunchy factor. An interesting addition was a sprinkling of nigella seeds on top too, which just added something a little different. It was so generous in size that I couldn't finish it and took away the rest for later. C loved her meal and also couldn't quite finish. The eggs were perfectly poached and I sampled some and loved the intensity of the wasabi with the salty salmon, but I am a crazy wasabi fiend. If I had to nitpick, the toast was slightly burnt on the edges but that was the only thing.

So impressed by my breakfast there, I returned with my other favourite breakfast friend, I, that Saturday. Happily I was hungry this time so went straight for the menu...although had the Reuben bagel been available I would have been tempted. Instead I decided on the gluten-free sweet potato & leek pancakes with eggplant kasundi, baby spinach and a choice of streaky bacon ($16) or salmon gravlax ($19). I used to often get the savoury pancakes at Ponycat but I don't remember them being gluten-free so not sure if they are also or if they've altered the recipe. I'm not a streaky bacon fan and wasn't feeling the salmon so asked if I could have something else and was generously told I could easily swap for any of the extras. Unfortunately I was bordering on hungry which makes my ability to make decisions SO MUCH HARDER and I'm bad at the best of times when it comes to choosing food...or anything really. After much deliberation I chose the mushrooms and to her credit, the amazing waitress (who I think is actually the owner) was incredibly patient with me. C went for the popular crispy potato skins with shredded beef, bacon jam, Gorgonzola, crispy prosciutto and fried egg ($18). We also both ordered long blacks on the Seven Seeds Single Origin bean upon recommendation.

Our coffees came first and I enjoyed my coffee but it was a fruitier than I prefer but C loved his as he likes his coffee more acidic. Our meals then arrived on matching plates - the same as the other morning but mine on a white version. Yin and yang. Again attractively plated - I really believe it eating is a full sensory experience so having a visually appealing meal helps!

My plate had two thick pancakes layered with large, juicy flat mushrooms, a generous amount of the eggplant kasundi relish and spinach and micro herbs with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar around it. C's potato skins wasn't what I expected but was so much better! I'd envisioned fried-to-a-crisp skins but instead it was a whole potato hollowed out and crisped then re-filled with a mixture of the potato and shredded beef topped with a massive mound of bacon jam and shards of crisped prosciutto. Two fried eggs with gooey yolks lay beside them and a few scattered micro herbs for a finishing touch.

I loved my pancakes -  slightly doughy with chunks of sweet potato throughout and more flavoursome than I anticipated. I'd been concerned that they'd need a salty accompaniment (like the suggested bacon or gravlax) but they were actually well seasoned alone. I had also thought they might need a sauce but they were moist enough and the juicy mushrooms worked well with them. I absolutely loved the spicy eggplant kasundi with chunks of spiced chewy eggplant. C loved his meal and after sampling some I could understand why. Filled with so much flavour, the potato and tender beef was enhanced by the intense bacon jam and the soft fried eggs brought it all together. We both felt some chilli or spice would be an excellent addition but we chilli-fy everything and just added a good dose of ground pepper. There was so much bacon jam and so I stole some and a bit of egg for my dish and seriously recommend them as add-ons to the pancakes if you don't get bacon or just want to amp it up even more! Warning: the bacon jam is pretty rich though and so you can imagine that the potato skins is one seriously filling meal.

We left very, very satisfied and I imagine it won't be long before I return. It's a fantastic new option for any of the many workers in the office buildings in the complex for either breakfast or lunch. Apart from the all-day menu there are the cabinet options and I spied a blackboard advertising reasonably priced lunch specials. I imagine it can get quite busy during the week but it was fairly quiet on the weekend, perhaps due to it being new and also being hidden from the street. That may not last long though! And if you can't find street parking on Russell St or nearby and don't want to pay the high prices of the neighbouring carparks, the IGA carpark isn't far (direct path from the exterior carpark to G&G) and if you purchase something you get 2 hours free parking underneath...


Shop 7 52 Merivale Street
South Brisbane

DF | V | GF


Food | 9
Coffee | 9
Service | 9
Menu Options | 9
Value | 8

See ratings for details.

Ginger + Green Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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