Saturday, 15 March 2014

Casual Dining - Emjay's on Creek

I'm always on the hunt for breakfast spots in the CBD and recently there have been a few openings that have largely gone unnoticed.  One of my favourite at the moment is Pop Coffee, next door to me at 444 Queen Street (see post here) and there are a couple of others that I have yet to check out, such as Pourboy. I'm particularly interested in CBD breaky spots because I quite often have early morning meetings and sometimes catching up over a nice breakfast is a good way to start the day.

For those of you who didn't know, I'm on the committee for the upcoming Eat Drink Blog 2014, which is a food bloggers conference, run by food bloggers for food bloggers.  It's pretty exciting but taking up a bit of my spare time.  I had to catch up with a couple of committee members recently to have a discussion around sponsorships and venues and the only time we could meet was at 7:30am.  Luckily, we were able to meet in the CBD and I suggested we meet at a brand new cafe and as a bonus, it was right across the street from my office.

The cafe was called Emjay's and to add a little confusion, there was already an Emjay's in the CBD, just around the corner in Adelaide Street.  I thought it was a bit weird that there would be a second cafe with the same name only 150 meters from each other, that was until I found out it was a franchise with a slightly different focal point.  Anyway, after we nutted out that there was in fact two Emjay's in the city, we arranged to gather for a breakfast meeting. 

I'd actually walked past the site of Emjay's hundreds of times since its predecessor La Platz had closed down last year and not noticed that something new had moved in.  It's pretty weird really, I'm sure you've experienced it too...  You don't notice something until you notice it and then once you have, you wonder how you could have possibly missed it!

Being the closest to Emjay's, I arrived first and instead of waiting for Jessalyn (FeedMeNowBrisbane) and Aga (A Matter of Taste) to arrive, I jumped straight into ordering.  The Emjay's breakfast menu is interesting, they actually call it the Eggsellent Plated Breakfast and as you would guess, is an egg menu.  What I loved about the menu was that it also had chorizo as a key component, sweet!  Shortly after I ordered my breakfast, Jessalyn arrived and also went ahead and placed an order for an eggy breakfast.  Last to arrive was Aga, who only ordered a coffee.

Just before my breakfast arrived, my vanilla milkshake was delivered and as is the trend at the moment, it came in a glass jar.  I know everyone is jumping on the jar-as-a-glass bandwagon, but I quite like it.  I've been off coffee for a few years, so generally substitute a milkshake for a coffee...  You'd actually be surprised with how many other people are doing this instead of drinking coffee!  It's pretty hard to stuff up a milkshake and the Emjay's version was just fine, nice and frothy and just a little thicker than normal.

One of the standard offerings from the Emjay's menu is the chorizo poached eggs, which comes with a couple of poached free range eggs served with chorizo, field fresh cherry tomatoes, shaved parmesan and lightly toasted bread.  I normally go for scrambled eggs, but thought I would try them poached for once. Unfortunately, the eggs were a little over done, just enough that the yolk wasn't rock solid, but there was no ooze of runny yolk once you cut into the egg.  The cherry tomatoes were nice, each one a little packed of flavour that exploded in your mouth with each bite.  I'm in two minds about the chorizo, it wasn't the best quality chorizo and it was OK to begin with, but by the time I'd finished the big pile, had become too spicy.

I'm not going to comment too much about Jessalyn's eggs benedict, I didn't taste them at all, but I will comment about the look of them.  The hollandaise sauce that normally comes with eggs benedict is a viscous and bright yellow sauce that thickly coats the eggs and is delicious.  The hollandaise with the Emjay's version was really runny and a very pale yellow and looked really wrong.

I wasn't completely sold on my breakfast at Emjay's but I did really love the look and feel of the space, which has been completely transformed through the renovation.  The whole cafe has a great feel about it, with a large share tables and high seats closer to the cafe and a more traditional sit down area off to the side.  The tables are all reclaimed wood and a little bit eclectic and they have really used the space well.

I've been back to Emjay's a couple of times for breakfast since and each time the breakfast has been getting a little better and I am noticing more about the cafe.  On my last visit, I noticed that they have a coffee roaster on site and you can watch the in-house coffee get roasted, pretty cool and definitely ensures they have the freshest coffee.  I've also noticed that when you order a green tea, it comes out in a science beaker with a wooden handle, which is also really cool.

There is a lot to like about the Creek Street Emjay's, but there is still a lot of work to do in my mind.  It's great that they have a cool space and roast their own coffee but it's all about the food and at the moment, it's not quite there.  I think if they keep improving and taking on feedback, then this could end up being one of the best little breakfast spots in the CBD - it time to turn potential into reality.  I'll be keeping a close eye on this one.

The coffee is roasted on premises - so that should mean it's good, right?
The spot at 140 Creek Street has been completely transformed
Emjay's does lunch and sandwiches too, but I've not checked those out 
Lots of eclectic stuff around - the bicycle wheels hide the cables for the lights  
Emjay's Coffee on Urbanspoon


  1. I've been assured by a coffee-drinker that the coffee is good. I love the bicycle wheels and the plants on the doors - are they herbs?

  2. Good to hear - I'm not sure if they are, but I do wonder how they get the upside down pot plants to grow!!

  3. Good to see something open up there, la plaz had woeful customer service. Not sure on the drink in a jar trend, I think it's a tacky trend that will pass. Too many edges on the threads on top of the jar make cleaning it properly difficult imho....

    1. haha, Mark, where is your sense of adventure? Industrial dishwashers will scrub those things to within an inch of their lives!! Still some room for improvement, but good to see another spot in


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