Michael made a cursory search for nearby cafes that might serve us breakfast on Monday morning and up popped Vintage Espresso at Mermaid Beach. On sight, I could barely believe it: this cafe could have been airlifted and deposited directly from Melbourne's inner north. (More likely, my sense of south-east Queensland is seven years out of date and such cafes thrive all over Oz.) The interior is vintage through and through, from the furniture and wallpaper to the crockery and copious (but not cluttered) knick knacks. This much orange and brown usually strikes me as dowdy. Maybe it was the white walls, the good condition of their wares or the Gold Coast sun streaming in, but here it was positively cheerful.
I was cheered, too, to see another cafe offering iced chai ($6.50). I am too optimistic. This one was the sweetest, least spicy version I've encountered yet. Peeps've really gotta sort out a way to inject some ginger and, I dunno, actual tea into these things. Michael's flat white offered more satisfaction.
Glutton for punishment (and sugar), I backed it up with an order of banana bread ($5.50). This, I can recommend - thick and gently sweet, with a good measure of toasty walnuts.
Michael ordered the Spring Harvest ($15), a procession of well poached eggs, roast tomato, mushrooms, polenta bake, spinach and pesto - all fresh and heartily enjoyed, including the tomato (!).
Game for more, he followed up with a kale, apple, grape and cucumber juice ($6.50).
There's plenty on offer for vegetarians at Vintage - additionally fruit, muesli, French toast, more eggs and avocado mashed with feta - but vegan options are less obvious. Gluten-free dishes aren't marked either but are relatively easy to identify. I liked that the toast menu extended beyond sourdough to fancy fruit, bagels and something pumpkin-based. The service was pleasant and the kitchen didn't leave us waiting too long. Vintage Espresso have clearly put as much care and skill into their food as their fit-out.
There are positive blog posts about Vintage Espresso on your local markets, green been, Girl Who Does Lunch and Espresso Escapades, then a mixed one on Taking Care of Breakfast.
1/43 Alfred St, Mermaid Beach QLD
(07) 5527 7878
veg breakfasts $3.50-15.50
Accessibility: The cafe is split level - tables out front, up a step and counter level and up a couple more steps to an elevated dining area. Tables are somewhat crowded inside. We ordered and paid at a medium-height counter, though food was served to our table. We didn't visit the toilets.