It had been bucketing rain during the night but Mel had been up since 3am baking the Turkish buns for our breakfast. She didn’t know the buns would be for us, but we’d decided the night before that we’d score an early brekkie at The [email protected] on the way to work.
The [email protected] is not hard to find. It’s the only funky place on Johnston Street, Southport. Since Canadian husband and wife team Chris and Linda Cosh bought the property, they’ve given it a smart makeover. Now they run the café as well as their food truck and catering company, Canadian Kitchen, providing catering for movie and television shoots as well as private events for the past twenty years.
The recent reno is a bonus to the little cafe, as half of its inside area is taken up by the prep and kitchen area. You can sit at the counter or facing the street at the timber framed dormer windows, or outside along the footpath. Only later we see another dining area under cover at one side of the shop. But the prep area’s essential, as everything in the shop is made by hand.
The Coshes are away catering for the ‘Tour de Cure’ fundraising ride, so it’s Mel, the manager, who greets us when we arrive, cheery and upbeat despite the teeming rain and her early start. The barista makes us a coffee for starters, a Roost Roast, their signature single origin, a dark roast, smooth with a good crema.
In the middle of a tradie area and well-used thoroughfare between major roads, this is workers’ territory. There are plenty of menu items aimed to ‘take and go’: Bacon and egg roll for $7, Breakfast Burrito $7, Burgers from $7.50, pizza, and House special souvlakis from $10. As the sizes are generous, and the price point for meals is keen, food from The Roost is in hot demand!
We eat outside to the sound of Kochie on the TV, with crisp service despite the brisk takeaway trade. The $15 Big Brekkie, the most expensive item on the breakfast menu is a plate full of tasty ingredients, the smoky beans a Canadian touch, the cheese kransky delicious and more than a cut above the average sausage; my Brekkie Burrito enough to keep a hungry worker going until lunch, and a bargain for $7!
If you can take the time to eat in, the food’s even more interesting, showing of lots of North American influences. Daily specials include foot-long Roast Pork and coleslaw rolls, ‘Po Boy’, Philli Cheese Steak, and Friday’s seafood of the week – Chiew Leiw Malaysian-style Spicy Calamari on a bed of tea rice. Vegetarians have options such as Falafel Souvlaki, a Vege Burger or ‘Fill your own’ sandwich.
All charcoal and wood, this funky café effectively plays with the concept of ‘takeaway’, with lots of healthy, freshly made food to stay or go. But rain, hail or shine, Mel will be up at 3am doing the baking!
53 Johnston Street, Southport Ph: 07 5591 7438
Open: Mon – Fri 5am – 4pm; Sat 6am – 1pm.