If you asked us what our favourite meal of the day is, brunch would come a close second to dessert. But who says you can’t have dessert for breakfast? Only the party poopers and we won’t invite them to brunch anymore.
Combine specialty coffee with Sunday brunch in Brisbane and you’re off to a cracking start to the day. Our weekend ramblings have taken us across the river and back to discover the eateries serving the best brunch in Brisbane CBD and beyond. For those who rise with the sun, early breakfast in Brisbane is no trouble at all and for those in Brisbane on a short and sweet visit, we’ll tell you where to find the best breakfast in Fortitude Valley.
Chefs and cafe owners have crafted seasonal menus from locally grown and sustainable sources and developed menu items with international flavours and infusions. The hardest part will be deciding between savoury and sweet. Who are we kidding? Just order both. Are you hungry yet? Good. Let’s go then.
lip-smacking goodness: best brunch brisbane cbd & beyond
1. Felix For Goodness
This centrally located eatery makes it super convenient for Brisbane visitors and CBD workers to swing by for a scrumptious brunch in Brisbane City. Tucked down Burnett Lane, ascend the short flight of stairs into a loft-like area. Felix For Goodness’ menu changes seasonally and offers a considerable number of vegetarian and gluten-free options.
During winter, we enjoyed Pumpkin Apple Fritters and Cauliflower Winter Rosti. Whilst in the springtime, you can choose from delicious options such as Poppyseed Pikelets and Sweet Potato Falafel. Coffee beans are supplied by local favourites Parallel Coffee Roasters and if you swing by for lunch, you may consider a drink from the curated menu of Australian natural wines, craft beers and spirits.
2. Pawpaw Cafe
An institution in Brisbane’s inner CBD, prepare to queue for your brunch if you don’t arrive at Pawpaw Cafe early on the weekend. Housed in a corner block Queenslander, the restaurant is divided into three dining rooms to accommodate voracious diners. Pawpaw whips up colourful stacks of deliciousness and do not skimp on portion sizes. I can vouch for Pawpaw’s Signature Hash and Corn Fritter Benedict; I’ve definitely got my eye on their Chocolate Cheesecake Pancakes next!
Delectable fruit smoothies and espresso coffee blends help wash down every last crumb. Ceiling fans keep patrons cool seated on cushioned bench seats and circular tables in the middle space. Thai elements start filtering through in the lunch and dinner menus so you can always swing by again. The cafe has a one bill per table policy.
3. The Smug Fig Cafe
Nestled in the lush surrounds of the Cottage Garden Nursery, the Smug Fig Cafe happily tickles all the brunch taste receptors and is a firm favourite amongst garden aficionados. Open 7 days a week with an all-day brunch menu, the spacious venue offers a relaxed setting for morning meal favourites. The fried chicken options will please anyone with a crushing hangover while the cafe offers a solid array of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes too.
Make sure to take a peek at the specials on the chalkboard; when we visited, Bevan couldn’t help but indulge in the Kit Kat French Toast. If you visit on Saturdays around lunch time, you’ll be treated to some live music performed by local artists. No bookings before midday on weekends. Public holiday surcharge applies.
Smack bang between The Story Bridge and the Gabba, Bluntys is a welcome addition to the cafe scene in Brisbane’s inner CBD. Located at the base of the Marc Apartments on busy Main Street, Bluntys monochromatic decor is clean and sharp with minimal fuss.
Open daily, the cafe’s menu features a solid mix of the good stuff (e.g. crispy kale, red sorghum) and the naughty stuff (i.e. bacon and pulled brisket). We can vouch for the Bacon Burger and the Brunch Bowl (each with an added hash brown!). Happily, we thought the menu items to be reasonably priced. Coffee is brewed up with beans from lauded coffee roaster, Five Senses, or tea and flavoured lattes are also available.
5. Little Smirk
Located only two dropkicks from Brisbane sports ground, The Gabba, Little Smirk is a corner cafe set on a leafy suburban street in Kangaroo Point. Place your order at the counter and take a seat at a high table top in the shade or a fold out wooden seat on the sunny pavement. From here, you can spy Brisbane CBD over the roofs of old Queenslander homes.
Don’t be too hasty to judge the cafe on its small breakfast menu; Little Smirk delivers on quality portion sizes and caters best for the early risers. We were suitably satisfied with our Shakshuka and Smirk Bowl choices. The calibre of our coffees brewed with Espresso di Manfredi coffee beans is also highly commendable, however, we deduct one point for the plastic straw served with our Banana Chai Smoothie.
6. Lady Marmalade Cafe
This fine lady has a history but Christina Aguilera and Co have nothing to do with it. Formerly occupied by the National Bank (“NAB”) and later on by Rays Canary House and Bird Hospital, you’ll no longer find bank tellers or injured feathered friends on the premises (unless they’re dining next to you). Instead, you’ll find owners Howard and Sonja Searle lovingly serving hungry locals and keen brunchers.
The menu changes seasonally using locally sourced produce with most items made in-house. The Sunday morning we visited, we waited 10 minutes before being swiftly ushered to a table. Talking soon subsided as we devoured the LM Gringo Waffle and Garden Pea, Spinach and Ricotta Fritters. Coffees are brewed with Elixir Coffee Roasters coffee beans and made for a solid compliment to the morning meal. Head out to Brisbane’s southside for high quality taste and service.
7. Reverend's Fine Coffee
If you’re visiting Brisbane, staying in the CBD area and find yourself sans car, don’t be lazy and head to the nearest Coffee Club. Instead, consider eating breakfast one morning at Reverend’s Fine Coffee. Conveniently open 7 days a week in Fortitude Valley, the cafe serves light bites, bagels and all day breakfast, with most items being gluten-free and/or vegetarian. Seating is available inside or out the back which leads out to funky California Lane.
We opted for the Halloumi bagel and the Reuben toastie, both which appeared small on our plates but were surprisingly satisfying once we gobbled every last crumb down. Coffee beans are supplied by Coffee Supreme and guest coffee roasters are on regular rotation. Check the chalkboard out front for details.
8. Industry Beans Newstead
Specialty coffee accompanies a seriously impressive brunch menu at the Brisbane branch of Industry Beans. Coffee is this cafe’s forte and you’ll find it infused in several menu options. Meat lovers will be salivating over the Ginger Beer Pork Belly or Espresso Glazed Beef Rib while vegetarian friends can choose from Fruit Sashimi, Evergreen Omelette and Beetroot Brioche Bowl.
Stark white interiors and birch table tops perfectly filter in the sunlight which allow for the perfect #brunchgoals IG shot. Believe us when we say that the Porcini Egg and Roasted Coconut Panna Cotta taste as good as they look, putting this stylish eatery high on the list for best sunday brunch in Brisbane. Sister branches are located in Sydney and Melbourne.
9. Plenty Cafe
A popular spot for morning cyclists and parents with young tots, the tables are always full at Plenty. This West End favourite has a small, hardworking team committed to serving meals with locally sourced ingredients and organic, responsible origins. Grab a table upon the hardwood floors and peruse the all-day breakfast menu up on the large chalkboard.
We can vouch for the homemade crumpets with honeycomb butter. If you peek in a wee bit later, make sure to check out the ever-changing lunch specials. The cafe also makes and sells its own pickles, marmalades and jams. Pick up a jar of Tomato Kasundi, Stonefruit & Vanilla Marmalade or Orange, Strawberry and Rosemary jam to take home to your own kitchen.
For our vegetarian and vegan friends, this spot will now be your favourite and best breakfast Brisbane will happily provide for you. Grown is a plant-based eatery which offers seasonal menus from produce that is locally grown and sourced. No meat or animal products are featured with a particular focus on sustainable and fair food systems. We chose the Tempeh Toastie and Brioche French Toast, the latter served with homemade matcha ice-cream and a delightful toffee surprise underneath the delectable caramel sauce.
Located a street back from the Brisbane River, take a seat outside at one of the polished chipboard tables. For the curious, culinary folk, sitting inside will allow you to watch the chef-on-duty prepare your delicious meal in the open-plan kitchen. After breakfast, take a stroll along the riverside or if visiting on a Saturday morning, head on down to the West End Markets at Davies Park.