The Gift Shop Food and Drink is a little cafe in the southside suburb of Wishart. Tucked away in a complex of shops along Newnham Road, it was a bit of an unexpected find. It has been around for a while (since 2018?), and the many patrons there on a weekday afternoon indicated that the locals certainly knew about it.
While there isn’t signage that jumps out at you if you’re driving past (a teal coloured sign over the front of the cafe just says “Coffee”), the people standing outside will give you an indication that that is the place you are after. It has a cosy, almost beachy feel, with the white painted brick walls, pale wood tables, and pops of greenery reminding us of a number of Gold Coast cafes.
We approached the service window at the front of the cafe, and were immediately attended to. We were asked if we wanted takeaways (it must be quite a common thing, both because they are a coffee stop, and in the setting of COVID). When we said we would like to eat there, we were given the option of inside or outside tables. We chose a table outside, where it was pleasantly breezy. We didn’t venture inside, so can’t establish if they also are indeed a gift shop where you can buy delightful presents.
We were soon brought menus and water. The menus were laminated sheets, with food listed one side, most available from when they open, and a smaller section of additional items available from 10am, then drinks on the other side. Of the drinks, their Peanut Butter Jelly Time, with peanut butter, strawberry jam, almonds, dates, almond milk and meal, sounded quite the treat. However, feeling like caffeine was more the order of the day, we didn’t end up ordering that. Perhaps next time..
The food items were mostly made up of a good range of modern brunchy dishes, with the usual things one would look for, but a bit more jazzed up, like their avocado on toast dish, with house made cashew cream, basil pesto, dukkah, pumpkin seeds, and lemon myrtle oil on sourdough. We ordered the Golden Eggs (you’ll see why later), and from the after 10am section, Porcini and Truffle Arancini Balls and the Bacon and Mushroom Gnocchi.
Coffees were brought out first. The large flat white had fruity notes and a nice microfoam texture. It could have been a touch stronger, but was quite good despite that.
The soy iced latte was well chilled, and had rounded flavours. From what we could see, they use Rosso coffee, which is from a specialty coffee roaster in Melbourne. The iced latte had quite a pretty presentation, served in a glass shaped like a can, and with a metal straw.
We were drawn to the Porcini and Truffle Arancini Balls when we saw them on the menu. The dish was possibly the most dainty presentation of arancini balls we have been served. They were little spheres instead of large rounds, placed around a dipping bowl of aioli, and garnished with a vibrant purple flower that was almost as large as each of the arancini balls. They had a thin, crunchy crumb on the outside, and a mix of the arancini rice and cheesy mushrooms on the inside. It was a good balance of not soggy and not dry. The smaller spheres meant that there was a greater surface area of crisp outside to the soft interior, compared to what you would get with a larger arancini ball. There was more earthy porcini flavour than any really discernible truffle note, but they were definitely moreish morsels.
The Golden Eggs dish was listed in the menu as having crispy poached eggs, avocado, huevos rancheros, enoki mushrooms, swiss cheese, a potato gem waffle, chipotle mayo, and sumac. We couldn’t go past the potato gem waffle, and wanted to find out how the crispy poached eggs would turn out. They were plated in a modern style, the chipotle mayo a large swoosh on one side of the plate, other components stacked on the potato gem waffle, with the enoki mushrooms forming a fan trail outwards (the other egg wouldn’t also fit on the waffle, so was next to it). The crispy poached eggs were cleverly done. They had gooey rather than runny yolks. The crunchy coating that surrounded them was a bit reminiscent of curry puff pastry, but was a thin layer that still captured that flakiness. The potato gem waffle was indeed like a large potato gem, in the form of a waffle. It was crunchy on the outside, as a proper potato gem should be, and not too oily. The beany huevos rancheros added a tomatoey flavour, and the chopped avocado had a filling, creamy texture. The chipotle mayo was slightly spicy and tangy, for another dimension of flavour. Overall, we felt that the dish could have used more sauce though, as while the components were good, they needed something to help them meld.
The Bacon and Mushroom Gnocchi was described in the menu as having a creamy onion garlic sauce, parmesan, and parsley. We felt like a comfort food dish, and this fit the bill. The gnocchi were soft and pillowy. There was plenty of the cheesy sauce to have with them, and it had a touch of sweetness from the onion. There was more parmesan sprinkled over the top, and a little garnishing of herbs. The one flaw we found was that it was a bit over-seasoned, so while it was good at the start, by the time you were about halfway through the dish, you were well aware of the saltiness.
The staff were friendly and cheerful, and definitely made us feel welcome. Despite it being quite busy, with many other tables of customers, service was prompt.
The Gift Shop Food and Drink is a lovely little neighbourhood gem. We can see from the menu items that they have made the effort to make their food more than just the standard offerings. While there were a few little wobbles in some of the dishes, they were tasty overall. They clearly know what it takes to keep locals coming back.
Price point: $13 to $17 for more than eggs on toast. Arancini balls $9.
Value: Not bad.
Address: Shop 19/280 Newnham Rd, Upper Mount Gravatt
Phone: 0422 152 422
Website: The Gift Shop Food and Drink