It is 7:00 am on a Saturday. The brisk winter wind practically buffets me right into Cup and Coaster. Inside, greenery hangs from the ceiling, cozy lighting glows, and a fully stacked bookshelf beckons from the back of the space. But this café’s warmth goes deeper than its air conditioning and decor.
Genuine hospitality adds another layer of magic to a dining experience.
Café owner Jessica and her chef partner, Kevin, are simply the loveliest hosts. Looking around while waiting for our breakfast, I observe the connections between café staff and their clientele. Every person who walks through the door seems to be a regular. Jessica greets them like family and chats easily about what is going on in their week. In fact, Jessica tells me later, many of them do come in every day. And why wouldn’t they? It is like coming home.
If I worked near Fyshwick, I would come all the time just for Jessica’s welcome, the feeling of being part of the Cup and Coaster family. And then I would stay for the Filo dishes! More on those in a minute.
“We opened March 8,” Jessica says. “This is our first café venture. We have managed cafes before, but we are loving the freedom of running things our way. Surprisingly, our biggest customers are families who want to sit down and stay a while. But we have a range of quick-grab sandwiches and wraps available for tradies or anyone else who wants something fast.”
The vegetarian Buddha bowl is piled high. Dark red beetroot puree, tangy turmeric cauliflower that still has a bit of crunch, a large wedge of roasted pumpkin, a perfectly poached egg, quinoa salad on a thick slice of toast alongside an artistically presented dome of avocado. This is a tasty and interesting vegetarian option.
Our pretty plate of French toast is filling and yummy. Tangy slices of fruit and fresh passionfruit cut through the rich sweetness of silken vanilla ice cream and luxuriously buttery caramel sauce.
What we are especially excited to sample is one of the fusion/Pilipino menu items. And the best part is that this is an all-day menu, which means you can have bao for breakfast! At 7:00 am!
“We have just started a Filo breakfast,” Jessica explains.
“Kevin is Filipino and he is proud to feature some authentic dishes from his homeland on our menu. One has marinated beef, one has grilled BBQ pork, another is a sweet fried pork dish. They are all full of herbs and flavour, without having any spicy heat.”
The fried bao tastes like Southern pulled pork at first bite, but the exotic flavours linger on the tastebuds. The smooth, mellow coleslaw is a perfect foil for the sweet and tangy sauce of that sticky pulled pork. Coriander and onion flakes bring it all together. So good.
We have ordered a Liemsilog- succulent morsels of Pilipino-marinated pork. We savour the tender meat and its delicious crunchy edges of fat. The sides of garlic rice and fried egg bring lots of flavour with no spicy heat.
Too full to eat it now, but too intrigued to not get some, we order a helping of bright purple Philipino dessert to go. Tiramisu-style layers of taro cream and layered with cinnamon-y graham biscuit. I highly recommend it! Next time, we will get some Calimansi tea – tea infused with Calimansi, a Filipino lime.
“Our menu changes every two months to keep things interesting for our regulars,” Jessica says.
That seems like another great reason to come back again.
Cup and Coaster is located at Unit 2/64 Wollongong St, Fyshwick. Look for their flag billowing out on the street. They are open seven days a week from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm on weekdays, and 8:00 am to 3:00 pm on weekends. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.