189 Elizabeth St, Brisbane QLD
open 6.30am - 3pm | Monday - Friday 07 3236 5232.
It's a trap for young players, breakfast in the city. Especially this city in winter. Hobart, Melbourne, even Sydney, they know it's going to be unpleasantly cold sometime in the year. Brisbane, not so much. Oh, it gets cold enough. But nobody likes to acknowledge that, especially not in the way we live. Because of this there are some lovely places to have breakfast in the city, but you can't go there in winter because all of the seating is outside, often in the middle of a wind tunnel.
Strauss does not seem well located. Tucked away at the end of a long, lonely alleyway, which seems more of an afterthought than a design tweak in a city which is desperately trying to reclaim its backstreets, Strauss has plenty of outdoor seating, but you can bustle on past that and grab yourself a warm and cosy spot inside. Indoors, the cafe is all exposed brick, brushed steel, and hardwood. It's very Manhattan loft space. The clientele are city workers, of course, but they seem to be the sort who assiduously seek after the secrets of the city that most punters, happy with an egg McMuffin and a Styrofoam cup of Ronald McDonald's finest Java, never find.
The coffee at Strauss is of a kind that coffee nerds will seek out, travelling an extra three or four blocks if necessary. They will make all the classics, naturally, but you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't allow them to make you a filtered brew.
Whoa! Back off. Put down those pitchforks right now.
By filtered coffee I don't mean the astringent liquid tar beloved of America's roadside diners. I mean fresh, individually made glasses of superfine premium Arabica. The only place I drink black coffee is at Strauss, and I drink it every time I go there. Served in large, delicate stemless wine glasses (well fuck off, that's what they look like) the filter coffees are a revelation. I don't know whether it's the glass, but the flavour profile is so gently complex it always reminds me of drinking wine. And who doesn't want to drink hot wine on a cold morning?
That's not enough of course. We must eat too, and the thing I like about Strauss is the minimal, stripped back menu. Nothing complicated, but everything made from fresh, top shelf ingredients. It was crowded when I had breakfast yesterday, and I took a seat at the bench running the length of the open kitchen area, allowing me to watch the young woman preparing the meals work her magic. The crowds kept coming, the meal dockets rolled in, and she never stopped moving; sawing through great thick logs of freshly baked sourdough, juggling dozens of perfectly poached eggs, sprinkling fresh raspberries on steaming hot bowls of porridge. It was inspiring and not a little intimidating to watch her work.
I had a simple ham-n-eggs combo, that arrived as two pink slices of prosciutto on thick slabs of buttery toast topped by a couple of golden googs. I rarely get past this menu item, but if I did it would probably be to sample the sweet treats which look devastating.
I meant to take Professor Boylan to breakfast here while he was out, but I failed him in that regard. I let the Prof down, I let myself down, I let Australia down.