West End has long been a vibrant, vital part of Brisbane’s food scene. It offers up an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants, cafes and shops quite unlike any other in our fine city. If you’ve found yourself falling back in love with West End lately, you’re not alone—this humble suburb has really lifted its game of late, with a host of new establishments now calling West End home.
We’re here to remind you of all the greatness it has to offer, as well as a round up of a few brand spankin’ newbies ready to tantalise your tastebuds!
New West End Haunts
Lokal + Co
Newly opened cafe, Lokal + Co are bringing Nordic influenced fare to the fine streets of Brisneyland. Norwegian Chef, Helge Olsen, has joined forces with Brisbane Chef, Corey Thomas, to create the modern, open and inviting space. They’re using a seasonal palate of locally sourced produce to plate up out-of-this world bites, like ginger bread waffles or sweet potato and goats cheese croquettes. Find them open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The schmick interior and even schmicker menu at Morning After means this West End café should be the top of your list if it’s been a while since you went food-venturing in these parts. One of the best cafes in West End, expect a line up on weekends.
Big Roddy’s Rippin’ Rib Shack
If you go loco for ribs, you’re in for a real treat. Big Roddy’s is about to be your go-to for perfectly tender, sticky, juicy and gorgeously glazed ribs. With their official location in Fish Lane set to open later this year, you can temporarily get your rib-fix from Big Roddy’s at the Boundary Street Markets every Friday and Staruday night. Stay tuned for the day Roddy’s unleashes chilli fries, baked potatoes, American-style burgers and more!
Not just a West End favourite, Ben O’Donoughue’s Billykart is a Brisbane-wide favourite, too! The menu here changes with the seasons, so there’s always a valid excuse to go back. Dip in for their delectable homemade crumpets served with honeycomb butter or sample their dinner menu, with treats like spit roasted spatchcock and Japanese glazed pork belly.
Betty’s Espresso Cafe & Bar
While Betty’s ain’t exactly new, their expansion is! The beloved cottage has moved its operation vertical, which means there are not one, but two floors of Betty’s goodness to be enjoyed by you. Inside, you’ll find everything you’ve always loved about Betty’s and more. There’s great food on offer throughout the day and fantastic cocktails, boutique beers on tap and a great wine selection available in the evening. Word on the street is they make a mean espresso martini.
Catchment Brewing Co.
A little brewery with big appeal, Catchment is new to West End’s main strop, but already a firm favourite for beverages. With two laneway bars and two bars housed inside a charming Art Deco building, drop by for a brew made in-house and have this new West End bar thoroughly win you over.
When Fortitude Valley burger joint Ben’s Burgers opened a brother venue south of the river, a small army of new burger fans were born. The Bleachers has the same minimalist vibe as the original, with a very chill outdoor area to boot. The menu includes some new additions, but the burgers are the same level of perfection.
Old West End Favourites
The Gunshop Cafe
At this stage, it’s fair to call The Gunshop a West End institution. The laid-back relaxed atmosphere, cosy outdoor eatery and delightful menu make it a real crowd pleaser, every day of the year. Their staple Gunshop classics, like potato and feta has cakes, are added to with seasonal treats like lamb shank ragout and salt and pepper cuttlefish.
The Three Monkeys
You haven’t really lived unless you’ve had a cup of tea and a big piece of cake out of the cabinet at Three Monkeys. The vibe here is O.G West End! We’re talking hidden spaces, mismatched tables and chairs, a green outdoor space to chill out and, of course, great food and coffee. Stop in for one of their hearty, signature breakfasts or a slice of their decadent white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake.
Bird's Nest Yakitori
This West End restaurant isn't shouted about enough, so we're going to make some noise. Bird's Nest offers an authentic Japanese yakitori experience on the fringe of West End (OK, techincally it's South Brisbane, but who's counting?) that we can't get enough of. If you like your meats super tasty and skewered, this is your jam.
Just in case you missed it, this West End bar the stuff whisky dreams are made of. Located in Browning Street, Cobbler stocks over 400 different kinds of whisky, guaranteed to put some hairs on your chest. The place decked out with a really cool, New-York loft feel and offers a cosy space to lose a few hours with great friends, enjoying great drinks and, best of all, it’s BYO food! Amazing.
It’s really no wonder Lychee Lounge has been voted Brisbane’s best bar, they have a killer cocktail list and a great atmosphere that makes it a West End fave, for life. Let’s skip the food and go straight for the drinks: their cocktail list includes divine liquid treats like the gin and basil smash and their amazing martinis, made with the usuals, like espresso, as well as watermelon or pavlova. Take my money.
While The Burrow does serve a mean breakfast, it also serves as an even meaner bar come nightfall. Pop in of an evening for great music, a great range of beers, wine and cocktails to make everyone and anyone happy they came out for the night. Be sure to sample what’s on offer at the regularly rotating beer taps and don’t be afraid to ask for advice on what’s best in show at the moment.
West End’s beloved Tiki Bar, Jungle offers a too-cool-to-be-kitsch space perfect to get your drank on. You’ll find the place packed with bamboo furniture and boozy-rum-fuelled cocktails served in all kinds of tropical paraphernalia. Be sure to drink everything and everything you can out of pineapples.
Chop Chop Chang’s
For amazing Asian-inspired street food, head directly to Chop Chop Chang’s. For a big hunger, get stuck into their huge Market Feed, otherwise, stick to more modest bites from their delicious menu. Try their corn and coriander cakes, Korean fried chicken, crispy pork belly and gorgeous yakitori. All the yummy in your tummy!
Little Greek Taverna
The best Greek food in West End goes down at Little Greek Taverna. This beloved spot offers your favourite, fresh, Greek fare like tender lamb souvlaki, succulent chicken tiros and perfectly cooked seafood, like tender octopus, prawns and garlic scallops served with crisp salads.
West End is all about its earthly delights, which is where the team at Mondo steps in. They serve up some of Brisbane’s very best organic food, stuff that not only looks and tastes amazing, but is better for you too. Their winter menu boasts mouth-watering meals like slow cooked venison ragout, beetroot and white sweet potato gnocchi and confit free range pork belly.
Boundary Street Markets
West End is all about its incredible market scene! The Boundary Street Markets are famous for their amazing selection of food, arts and crafts, clothing and fresh produce. The focus here is on supporting locals and putting on one heck of a market each Friday and Saturday evening from 5pm to 10pm!
Davies Park Markets
If a morning market is more your vibe, then you’ll know the best place to scoop up fresh, organic produce is from the Davies Park Market. This place is packed to the hilt with fantastic local produce, arts and craft, delicious food and so much more. It’s a great spot to scoop up your shopping then grab a seat and a cup of coffee and watch the world go by.
Image Credit: Ariana Gillrie