We’re always on a tight schedule on weekends, packing in as much as possible. This year we’ve been trying to see more movies and have made a good stab of it, with 5 visits racked up. On Sunday we had decided to see Lincoln and for once, had enough time up our sleeves to grab a bite to eat before the session. On the spur of the moment we decided to stop at Pawpaw Cafe, at the back of the Green Papaya Restaurant in Woolloongabba. We had been before, several months ago but it had been a busy, rainy Saturday morning that time so we only stayed for coffee. We had more luck on this visit.
Pawpaw is an unpretentious and practical dining space that shares it’s kitchen with the restaurant out the front. When it’s busy, you wait to be seated and both times we have shared a bench with others, perched precariously on high stools. Thankfully there was a lull in proceeding when we arrived so we were able to move a table and chairs and leave the stools to the bright young things.
As well as a menu that’s packed with ‘I want that one, no that one’ moments, there’s also a specials board with meals that would serve equally well for breakfast or lunch. The specials do well here and on both occasions, I’ve seen items being rubbed off the board as they’ve sold out. If you want a full choice, better get in early. Having said that, we went for the menu with the California Breakfast Burrito from ‘all day breakfast’ and the Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich from ‘lunch’.
There’s a pleasant buzz of efficiency in the cafe as we read the Sunday papers with tables being cleared and re-set, water bottles being replenished and meals being delivered. In a short time ours arrive, to the admiring glances of others who are looking at the menus and trying to decide. I myself admired the vegetarian Quinoa Potato Hash Cakes w Haloumi as they wandered past. The Californian Breakfast Burrito is often talked and tweeted about and the last time I visited, I watched as someone tackled it with their hands. Brave move. Not only it is huge, it’s topped with salsa. I went the more traditional route of a knife and fork and found it filled with scrambled eggs, cheese and Mexican style black beans in a soft wheat tortilla. A squeeze of lime and I was good to go. Simple, fresh and filling, at around $15, it was a very satisfying and reasonably priced menu item.
The Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich also showed promise when it arrived at the table. Served on a soft brioche with a swirl of chipotle mayonnaise, the chicken was hot and fresh with an amazingly crunchy coating but lacked flavour. The meat was moist but could have done with some more seasoning in the coating, a zingy dressing or in the very least, a big dollop of the mayo. The accompanying shoestring fries were suitably salty but a shame again that they were served with a dish of run of the mill ‘ketchup’. Again, some of the chipotle mayo would have been more appropriate or perhaps some chutney.
Overall, our dining experience was fine but it confused me. Was I in a cafe that served quirky and unusual items such as Breakfast Cassoulet or had I wandered into Mel’s Diner? Still, I bet those sandwiches walk out the door as they look so good when they are carried past. Pawpaw Cafe has plenty to recommend it with glimpses of innovation in amongst the standard fare.
Out of interest – the Green Papaya is no longer Vietnamese but Thai and Balinese.
Cnr Potts St & 698 Stanley St
Visited: Sunday 24th March 2013 – Lunch Service