Take front row seats at this kitchen theatre.
It was not long ago that chefs were hidden away in kitchens that were hot, smelly and full of poisonous fumes, often in the bowels of the building or in a separate outhouse. They worked long hours under very poor conditions and were seldom seen. How times have changed!
Today, food is fashionable and visual. Kitchens are no longer hidden away but have become “restaurant theatre”, often being part of the dining experience. The style and design of the restaurant are the “props” of the stage. The staff are the cast who put on a performance every night.
The Corner Store Café is on the corner of Sylvan Road and Quinn Street in Toowong, on the site of an old corner store.
From the outside it looks quite small – but looks can be deceptive. Fully renovated, it is light, bright and airy with an extensive covered outdoor area. The kitchen is fully open and a hive of activity. The atmosphere is fun and vibrant. The staff are busy but friendly. And out the back there is a large kitchen garden which supplies the café with much of its fresh greens including herbs, lettuce and edible flowers.
The menu is both friendly and innovative. On my first visit I had the Colcannon potato cake ($17) – a traditional Irish-style Bubble & Squeak made with potato and cabbage, served with a thick slice of double-smoked speck, perfectly poached eggs and tomato relish. My friend had the Roasted Field
Mushrooms ($16) – large mushroom caps topped with spinach, haloumi and a lemon and artichoke salsa.
The coffees were excellent – strong but not too bitter. On my second visit I had the Quesadilla ($15) – a breakfast version of the Mexican tortilla sandwich filled with bacon, egg, chipotle sausage and beans with chilli jam and guacamole. For lunch there is a range of choices from a bacon cheeseburger or Shepherds Pie to a Fish Taco and Nasi Goreng. There is a good range of gluten-free items and vegetarians are well catered for. And if you just want coffee and a cake, there is a wide variety of homemade cakes, cookies and pastries available in the kitchen display cabinet.
The Corner Store Café is popular with the many cyclists that pass by along Sylvan Road, as well as families, and can be busy at peak times. They accept reservations for parties of six or more. This is kitchen theatre worth a visit.