Saturday, 11 May 2013

Leaf Espresso Bar Tarragindi

We recently moved into the inner city and we have been enjoying the plethora of cafes our location has to offer.  Before we moved, however, our options were far more limited.

If only we'd known about Leaf Espresso Bar back then.  Leaf is a boutique cafe/espresso bar located in suburban Tarragindi and is the brainchild of Malcolm and Danielle Watts and rugby union player Scott Higginbotham.  As stated on their Facebook page "Leaf [combines] a fantastic position with high quality coffee/beverages, gourmet food, mouth watering deserts, inviting atmosphere [...] topped off by a friendly and professional team".

We were fortunate enough to be invited to come and check it out for ourselves.

Inviting atmosphere is right - look at those gorgeous lights!  Mal loves timber and the decorative branch actually comes from his backyard.

In addition to doing a roaring trade as an espresso bar, Leaf also offers themed live music nights fortnightly on a Thursday.  On our visit there were gourmet burgers ( by chef Craig Benton, formerly of Customs House) and live music from Kate Jacobson from local country/folk due, Texas Tea.  

We were lucky enough to meet a (very tired) Mal, who had popped in during preparation for their new venture now open in Woolloongabba, Moose and Gibson.  Mal said that it was important to them to provide good quality coffee.  Leaf uses Two Seasons coffee, a boutique single origin coffee line from the Piazza D'Oro group.  Consistency is key for good coffee - you need good beans, good baristas and a good machine.  The coffee machine at Leaf is serviced regularly and they take care to ensure all staff are well-trained.

This care has paid off for them.  According to Mal, when they opened Leaf, they were hoping do 12kg of coffee each week.  Thanks to lots of support from the locals, Leaf is now doing more than 60kg each week.

The live music nights are popular too, with Leaf aiming for more than 100 covers each night.  We were one of the first to arrive this particular Thursday but it did not take long for the small space to fill.

There were four burgers on offer on Gourmet Burger Night.  A Cajun chicken burger, a tempura whiting burger, a steak burger and a harissa lamb burger.  All four burgers were matched with boutique beers.

D had to try the steak burger with its recommended beer, Matilda Bay Minimum Chips Golden Lager.

The smell coming from the kitchen was mouthwatering.  The smell coming from the burger when it got to our table was even better.  The chips were well-cooked and crispy and the steak was delicious, albeit a little messy.  D said the burger had a real home made feel to it, it was honest and tasty.  He liked the beer too.

I went for the Cajun chicken burger, which was served with a side of sweet potato chips.

The sweet potato chips looked hand cut and were also beautifully cooked.  The chicken, however, was on another level.  The spices tasted amazing and paired perfectly with the pineapple.  D said that his burger was great but the chicken was something else.  D is reading over my shoulder as I type this post and he said "your burger was so good that day".  It was.  It really was.

We really enjoyed our visit to Leaf Espresso.  We really wanted to try the Two Seasons coffee, but as it was late when we finished our meals we thought we would leave it for another visit.  We can't wait to go back and try the cafe menu.

Note: The Empty Stomach team (well, D and I) dined as guests of Leaf Espresso Bar, but all opinions are our own.

Dietary issues disclaimer:  I ordered the burger, did not eat the bun and was prepared to suffer the consequences (if any).  I did not ask, nor do I know, if gluten/dairy/soy free options were available.

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