The Northshore Riverside Cafe is a bit of a hidden destination at the moment. You’d think the words ‘North, Shore & Cafe’ would be enough to provide a clue about its location but you’d really have to be looking. Situated near Portside at Hamilton, it’s a little further along the river bank, towards the Gateway Bridge. With a new ferry terminal that’s at the end of the City Cat run, it’s a natural stopping point for people to break the return journey to town. Though it’s really the only building on this brand new estate, parking is often at a premium in the empty streets that surround it. A signifier of its popularity.
I’ve visited a couple of times for breakfast and brunch and it’s always busy. Families have taken to it with a vengeance. They can can enjoy a meal or coffee whilst they watch their kids tool around on their scooters and bikes on the surrounding plaza or let the paddle on the little sandy beach alongside the complex. The decor’s simple wood, laminex and steel so the noise levels can get very high when it’s a full house. During summer the windows and doors are open to allow the crowd to spill outside but be warned – this is not a place for a romantic brunch.
After being seated, the drink orders are taken straight away and your left with the menu. There are twenty items on the breakfast menu as well as a couple of kids options. Most are a twist of the typical bacon and egg combos and breakfast style sandwiches. There’s enough to keep the vegetarians happy though vegans will find slim pickings. Gluten Free diners have an option in the crab bubble & squeak bacon avocado salsa rocket tomato chutney ($19.50) which is what I ordered. Crab is a delicate meat and it was totally overwhelmed by the other flavours in the ‘bubble & squeak’ which had been cooked in a frittata style. There was nothing essentially wrong with the dish and there was certainly plenty of it. I just think if you’re going to serve crab with a dish like this, it needs to be the star, sitting atop the meal, not hiding in amongst the other ingredients. Others enjoyed their bacon and egg combos and the spicy beans w chargrilled chorizo roast capsicum avocado poached egg ciabatta ($17.90) was a welcome change with plenty of slow cooked beans in a smoky sauce. Getting a second coffee order posed somewhat of a problem as the person serving food is not the person who takes the drinks order but we eventually flagged someone down and the large and complicated coffee order arrived soon enough and with everything as requested.
Another breakfast saw me ordering a doorstep sized croque monsieur w smoked ham gruyere cheese creme fraiche and bechamel sauce ($18.50). It seemed pricey for what is essentially a ham and cheese toasted sandwich and as it turned out, it was a lot to pay. There was absolutely nothing special about this dish of browned cheesy sauce on a slab of toasted Turkish. The scrambled eggs bacon toasted turkish tomato chutney ($15.50) was basic and nothing special.
There’s nothing really wrong with Northshore Cafe. It does what it says on the packet – provides a cafe space on the north shore of the Brisbane River. Small meals start at around $8 but most breakfast size dishes range between $15 – $20 so it’s competing against a whole raft of venues that offer much more innovative breakfasts for a similar price. On a sunny day though, the families comes in droves bringing their prams, dogs and jumble of kids. It would suit many then, who want some space for the nippers, to enjoy a coffee and linger over the view. From that perspective, it’s a relaxed and far superior option to the white elephant development further along the river that is Portside.
Northshore Riverside Cafe
297 MacArthur Avenue
Hamilton Qld 4007
Visited: Various weekends