I love Paddington, it’s a quaint little suburb next door to us that we visit regularly. One of the things we love about it is the quality of food options available. One of our favourite places in town, set in an old workers’ cottage, with a spacious, leafy courtyard out the back, is Sassafras of Paddington. As we’re regulars, I’m here to tell you why Sassafras is a breakfast Brisbane city experience well worth seeking out.
As we’ve been coming pretty much since we moved to Brisbane, for about the last seven years, it feels a little strange to write about my experience here. It’s a bit like its neighbour Remy’s in that it’s a Brisbane institution that’s frequented by locals. Opening in 1997, Sassafras has withstood the test of time, survived the tumult of Covid and when we went just last Saturday, it remains a vibrant place to dine in Brisbane.
The food and coffee – our breakfast Brisbane City local
I’ll just state that Sassafras is also open for lunch, and for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights, but as we’re breakfast regulars, I’m focusing on that. Virtually the entire menu is gluten-free friendly, which my partner loves. I’ve written about our fussy eating habits (my son pretty much only eats potatoes) here and here, and Sassafras is one of the best in catering for diverse dietary requirements.
Importantly, the food comes out timely, hot and it’s uber-delicious. The coffee is also the kind that gives you that morning sparkle we all search for. I hate morning coffee regrets and I’ve never had any here. As far as the food goes, I’m pretty sure the corn fritters are a favourite with a lot of locals and they’re a regular go-to for my gang. They’re crispy, contain jalapeno aioli, sassy relish, avocado, rocket and we get them with poached eggs. Bloody bonza!
My son had chips for breakfast (oh lord I can’t wait until he’s past this phase) and my mother-in-law ordered the ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb butter and organic maple syrup. I ordered the smoked local mushrooms with polenta, whipped rosemary goat’s cheese, pea tendrils, pangrattato and poached eggs. I’ve never had that before and I’ll just say it was light, adventurous and particularly pleasant.
You can see in my video (at the end of this post) that Sassafras is homely and feels like you’re in a big, welcoming Queenslander. It’s spacious inside, informal and the star is probably the big leafy courtyard out back. We typically sit on the large wooden table at the back of Sassafras, which I’ll discuss shortly.
Despite being the farthest from the counter, we’re always served promptly. Much of the courtyard is also in the shade and the dappled light below and fairly lights above make for a novel breakfast Brisbane city adventure.
This back bench is definitely good for us, as I have a completely mental cocker spaniel, who calms down after a bit. Additionally, here we’re amongst the greenery and my dog can sit in relative calm and suppress his food envy without annoying others. There’s even a ‘café for dogs’ section on the menu, although we don’t indulge as Cookie has a sensitive stomach. If you think your dog’s up for it, you can order ‘doggy biscuits’, a ‘puppuccino’, a ‘café chewie’ and packets of ‘bow wow dog treats’.
What makes a Sassafras experience even more fulfilling is that they’re thoughtful, as they try to minimise their environmental impact and give back to the community. The Sassafras house blend coffee is ethically sourced, fairtrade coffee and the takeaway cups are plastic-free. They also serve vegan wine and beer – if that’s your thing – and use local food suppliers and recycle their packaging. There’s even a free bag of coffee grounds (pictured below) for your garden. At Sassafras, dogs are welcome and the worms get free coffee.
I’ve mentioned this briefly, but I’ll just say the service at Sassafras is consistently good. Prompt, friendly and helpful. The front counter also has an extensive selection of cookies and cakes that look super-duper delish. I bet they’re gluten-free but you’ll have to go in and check for yourself. Lastly, during the height of Covid in 2020, Sassafras also managed to donate over $3,000 to local schools and charity organisations.
Go for – the food, service and atmosphere (it’s another whole shebang!)
The vibe – informal, Queenslander
Check out Sassafras’s website for more info.