Saturday, 8 June 2013

Breakfast Series - Campos Coffee Fortitude Valley

There was a time where a cafe like Campos Coffee would have been the centre of my universe.  Back when I was completely addicted to the oh-so-sweet nectar of the gods.  How times have changed and the only reason I have come back to Campos is as a Food Blogger and to sample their well loved and ever changing breakfast menu.  It's OK, I can actually walk into a coffee house now and not be tempted by the wonderful aroma of freshly brewed coffee or the almost irresistible smell of recently roasted coffee beans.

When and why I stopped drinking coffee is a story for another time but suffice to say that Merlo, Campos and di Bella were well known to me.  The Valley is not only a mecca for coffee enthusiasts but also has an extremely high concentration of cafes and restaurants, so to forge a reputation as a great food destination as well as (arguably) the best coffee around is no mean feat.  Campos is part of and very much separate to the James Street precinct in Valley and has had a checkered past with its well known neighbour.  I am sure everyone remembers the parking debate that led to a wall being erected to separate Campos from the rest of the James Street Market area!

Campos is possibly one of the busiest spots in the Valley to get coffee or breakfast, so SC and I got up nice and early to make sure we could score a great seat.  I can confirm that 7:15am is a great time if you don't like queuing or waiting for your breakfast at Campos.  When we first arrived down the slightly dodgy looking lane off Wandoo Street, there were a number of Campos staff waiting to greet early risers such as ourselves and lead us to comfy inside seats.  I should mention that it's only the entrance to the lane that is slightly dodgy looking, once you get past all of the delivery trucks, the rest of the lane leading to Campos is pretty cool, with some great street art.

Some might think it's sacrilegious to go to an establishment such as Campos and not order a coffee but I had worked too hard to escape that sweet nectar's grip, so when asked if we wanted coffees to start off with, only SC answered in the affirmative.  With a slightly bemused look by the waitress when I asked for a caramel milkshake (my new favourite, see why here), we soon had our drinks delivered.  As you would hope at a well known cafe, SC's coffee was delivered with a perfectly formed leaf design, which is the logo for Campos.

The breakfast menu at Campos is not what I would call extensive, in fact it was the shortest list of breakfast offerings I have seen on a menu; no surprises really, it is after all a house of coffee.  There are only nine very different options for breakfast and it's very light on with eggs, with only two of nine menu items containing any eggs.  It would be a challenge for me to break outside of my normal routine for brekky, but I was up for it.

SC deviated a little from her normal a little this morning as well and went for the eggs Benedict with bacon, baby spinach, free range poached eggs and hollandaise sauce.  Normally eggs bene comes with ham but at Campos you have the option of bacon (yay) or smoked salmon (with a $1.50 supplement).  When the breakfast that was placed in front of SC was huge, it looked like almost two breakfasts rolled up on one plate.  There were two expertly poached eggs, trimmed to look so neat, sitting atop of a pile of bacon and a large piece of toasted turkish bread.  The hollandaise sauce was wonderful and creamy and didn't have that twang that signifies a slightly out of balance sauce.  I am sure the waitress would have thought something was wrong with the breakfast when clearing up, but this could not have been further from the truth, it was delicious, but there was just too much for one small girl to eat alone.  I was not much help because my breakfast also filled me up.

I really stepped outside of my normal breakfast zone and went crazy.  I ordered the buttermilk pancakes with berry coulis, maple syrup and vanilla gelato, which totally surprised SC (and myself to be honest).  It's not my preferred option for breakfast and I rarely eat pancakes at all, so totally out of character.  When I ordered the pancakes the waitress warned me that they wouldn't come out perfectly round, which was OK by me.  The buttermilk pancakes from Campos were described as 'rustic', but when delivered they were extremely pretty looking and had a lovely symmetry to them that appealed to me.  The coulis added to the symmetry by being on exactly half of the plate and pretty much split the gelato in half.  The pancakes were quite dense, yet retained some fluffiness at the same time.  The buttermilk flavour came through in a subtle way and when combined with the berry coulis and maple syrup were really yummy.  Even though the plate didn't look too big, the three pancakes got the better of me and I only got through about two thirds before admitting defeat.

We have wandered into Campos a heap of times over the years for SC to get her coffee fix and I can honestly say that it's been extremely packed on every occasion.  This is a pretty good sign of quality in a cafe.  I was expecting the place to be full really early, which is why we arose with the sun to get over, but it was actually still fairly quiet by the time we left.  There is a lesson there for people who don't want to wait or be rushed through their meal.

There is one thing that you are left with no doubt about when at Campos and that is it's now a really big brand.  That lovely coffee leaf is everywhere, you can buy all sorts products ranging from coffee cups right the way through to rugby and riding jumpers with the instantly recognisable brand all over it.   I don't really have an issue with this mass branding but I wonder if it will ever get over exposed that way?  Probably not. 

The staff at Campos clearly wanted to be there and the service was fantastic.  I can't comment if this would be the same level of amazing service with a full house, but there were plenty of staff on hand, so I think Campos probably has enough staff to make sure it's a great experience no matter when you come.  I am really thankful to one sharp waitress who noticed that I had left my phone behind and was all over it for me.  I'm not sure the Campos breakfast ranks up with the best I have had this year, but it was still really lovely.  I think I would like to see just a little more variety in the offerings, but let's be honest, I'm not a coffee fanatic any more and while there is a good menu, it is after all a specialist coffee house.

My caramel milkshake was pretty nice and loved it in the old style container
Perfect symmetry with the pancake from the coulis and maple syrup  
Still pretty quiet, there will be queues for coffee before too long
That recognisable brand is everywhere
Plenty of options for those with a sweet tooth
Plenty of Campos branded items for sale
This is first and foremost a cafe
But it's got a few awards under its belt
I really loved this wall mural 
Still nice and early, but plenty of seats for when it gets busy later in the morning

Campos Coffee - Valley on UrbanspoonCampos Coffee

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks very much for your comment, I really love and appreciate feedback and your thoughts


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...