Imagine someone has visited Melbourne, cunningly stolen both a warehouse and a graffiti laneway. They’ve thrown it into a magical blender, mixed it with 1970s décor (which they had collected in a recent time-travelling journey), added a dash of bodacious food and creamy coffee, and then dumped it in Brisbane’s Newstead. Here you’ll find the humble, nana-chic café, Shucked Coffee House.
Melbourne is known to be Australia’s cultural capital. It’s an unbelievably diverse city with an astounding range of restaurants, bars and cafes that are hidden in the little nooks of the city is what makes Melbourne special, and Brisbane café owner, Naomi Mawson, says this is where her inspiration of Shucked came from. “We wanted to bring good coffee, good food and good service in a great atmosphere to Brisbane.”
As soon as you walk into the warm niche on Creswell St, you are immediately propelled into a 70’s time warp. You are smacked in the face by wallpapers, and they grip every piece of attention span you have. The wallpapers jump from floral to geometrical, from mustard to olive. Mawson revealed these old wallpapers actually travelled all the way from New York. “It arrived in its original packaging. The florals from 1973 and geometrics from 1978,” she said. “We loved the 70’s feel of ply, so this was used extensively”.
Once you’ve finished paying attention to the wallpapers, you move through the café, zigzagging your way past low coffee tables, dark green velvet lounge suites, a four metre long workbench and several smaller tables with mismatched chairs and stools. Mawson says the workbench was found underneath her house while they were renovating. “We had it restored, and the same person who restored the workbench built the four metre communal table out of 200-year-old French oak flooring.” She explained that they worked on a tight budget when designing the café. The chairs, she says, were collected from op shops, antique stores and even pulled from the side of the road.
The high-ceiling, renovated warehouse was filled with sunlight and chatter. It quickly became clear that over the weekend Shucked becomes a meeting point for large groups who fill the four-metre communal workbench, and couples or friends who sit at the smaller tables or large lounge suites. If you’re after a café that provides an energetic, vibrant and youthful feel – this is the place to be. You definitely immediately get the idea that this is more of a dine-in, than take-out and most particularly a gathering point. They were here to socialise.
When you visit, expect it to be quite busy. Although regardless, on the Saturday morning at 9:30am when my girl friend and I visited for breakfast, we were immediately seated.
I decided to order The Three Monks – eggs benedict with hollandaise and wilted spinach on a toasted baguette with ham. When it arrived, boy was I impressed. It was presented beautifully. There were two baguette diamonds stacked diagonally across each other, with the ham as the next layer, followed by the poached eggs sitting neatly on top — with a blanket of hollandaise sauce poured over them, and lightly sprinkled with dill.
Eggs benedict is standard on any breakfast menu, but this dish by Shucked is in a world of its own.The eggs were perfectly poached. As soon as the knife severed through, they burst over the entire dish — soaking the baguettes ambrosially. The hollandaise sauce was rich, creamy and perfectly buttery – it was simply a delicious blend. The Three Monks was brilliantly and flawlessly cooked, and for $18, it’s worth every penny.
Shucked offers an enormous range and variety in it’s catering. It’s earthy, organic, wholesome and nutritious — with a collection of vegetarian and gluten free dishes too. Most breakfast meals will cost between $15 and $20. Shucked also only recently transformed itself into a tapas and cocktail bar, by extending its opening hours on Friday evenings and weekend afternoons. If you’re after an array of inviting cocktails, martinis and tapas, Shucked has it on offer.
When I finished my meal, I was eager to take a look at Shucked’s laneway design. Although I ate inside, you are also given the option to dine outside to admire and soak in the graffiti artworks all whilst eating.
“The graffiti in the laneway was created by renowned street artist, Fintan Magee,” she said. “I came across his work and fell in love with it immediately. I was taken by his balance of delicate things mixed with something more sinister.” Mawson explained it took a while before they approached him, knowing that he often worked with world famous artists. “But we respected them as artists, and asked them to create whatever they liked,” she said. In the end, street artists, Magee and Guido, spent three days creating the artworks. Each abstract design used the entire brick wall — approximately four metres in height. With it’s size, and vibrant colours the laneway leaves a dramatic and intoxicating feeling over customers, influencing conversations and simply leaving them to admire the work.
The moment I walked outside, I felt a strong transition from the typical snug café I left behind me, into the generously spacious, vibrant, high-ceilinged setting. The walls were lined with corrugated iron, and customers sat on stools, close to the ground. I noticed everyone was in groups, and their laughter and chatter echoed deeply throughout the warehouse’s laneway.
Shucked Coffee House is a beautifully eclectic café. With great customer service, a fantastic arrangement of furniture and décor, and deliciously tasting food, you leave feeling fulfilled and appreciative of how café owner, Naomi Mawson, has so simply brought a little bit of Melbourne into Brisbane’s industrial precinct of Newstead.