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Cute Café: Cabinessence, Brisbane

I visited the most divine café when I was in Brisbane called “Cabinessence”. It wasn’t the only adorable café I happened across in Brisbane, but it was certainly one of the most adorable cafés.

Cabinessence is a pleasant amble out of Paddington CBD down a few leafy residential streets. It had a very lazy weekend vibe to it which suited my own very lazy weekend quite nicely. Apart from myself, the place seemed to be frequented by an ongoing trickle of regulars, all of whom chattered amongst themselves as well as with the friendly baristas. Some just popped in for coffee; others settled down on one of the bar stools or sofas and whiled the time away.

I chose to settle down because I am a lady of leisure and have nothing but time.


The decor is so cute and sort of has a 50s feel with certain pieces. I particularly love the tiki bamboo bar stools. It’s all very casual, but doesn’t lack any charm.


I ordered iced coffee as an antidote to the frightfully warm day (I don’t deal well with heat), and it came in this super-cute cocktail shaker. Cabinessence does the kitsch, mis-matched tableware thing very well – the souvenir spoon was an especially nice touch. Plus the coffee was spectacular.


Cabinessence doesn’t do food apart from toast, but when the toast is this great, I suppose there isn’t really a need to expand the menu. There is a choice between avocado or tomato, as well as an array of spreads and such. Seeing as avocado is my life, I obviously chose it as my topping. They put on a nice thick layer, not skimping as one might expect (the world usually doesn’t love avocado as much as I proclaim to).

I sat there for a good half hour or so enjoying the afternoon. If you need somewhere pleasant to sit, and you’re willing to walk up a somewhat steep incline to get there, Cabinessence is ideal. Brisbanites: you should visit Cabinessence, pronto.

117 Enoggera Tce,
Paddington, Brisbane

Cabinessence on Urbanspoon

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Five Eliza, Sydney Fringe Festival

“Five Eliza” is the pop up bar in Sydney for the next fortnight as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival, and it’s so sultry with its 1920s speakeasy aesthetic that I almost wish it were illegal for authenticity. Last night I sauntered into Five Eliza with some friends and was fiercely pleased by it all. It’s in Newtown, in an old ballroom belonging to Newtown School of the Arts. If you turn down the laneway beside Zanzibar, you’ll find it up a dirty little staircase illuminated by a red lamp (Roooxanne).

Enter the room, and if you can see clearly in the dim lighting, you’ll discover a room kitted out in extravagant armchairs, antique side tables and seductive lamps. The bar in the corner is staffed by volunteers, and the cocktails are divine. My favourite was “Salvatore’s Secret”, which was orange marmalade flavoured and served with two pieces of buttered toast. Other highlights were the “Pro-inhibition Juice” and kitsch bottles of Pipsqueak cider. ’twas all rather cheap as well, with cocktails only $10-15, the most expensive involving Absinthe (one such beverage was called “The Pantie Dropper”).

All the while, we were serenaded by the delightful Lily Dior, who was beautifully dressed and performed a repertoire of very mood-appropriate jazz songs. A table of particularly keen visitors to Five Eliza began to salsa dance and lindy hop rather extravagantly, to the amusement of the room. I have an inkling that they might have been into the Absinthe punch.

If you have an evening spare, eschew any other venue in favour of Five Eliza. You ought to experience it before Sydney Fringe Festival ends on October 2.

Dress – Basque, Myer (circa 2009)
Cardigan – Alannah Hill, current season
Belt – Alannah Hill, current season
Stockings – “Leg Avenue”
Shoes – “Office”, purchase in Cambridge, UK
Necklace – vintage 50s costume jewellery, purchased in Camden Passage, UK

And here are some photos from inside Five Eliza, converted into sepia because fake old-fashioned photographs are better than no old-fashioned photographs.


In addition to this, I have some photos from the morning. I suppose my point in posting these is to show off my new fringe technique (my victory rolls weren’t flawless, but seriously friends, check out that perfectly coiffed fringe), and my stockings. The stockings came into my life on Monday in a pre-swing dancing shopping expedition. Deceptively, the stockings are in fact fishnets, making them a comfortable version of seam stockings for the warmer seasons. They’re made by Leg Avenue, and though I bought them at Retrospec’d in Newtown, I daresay you could order online somewhere. I heartily recommend them!


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