Savour kindness in a cup and personality on a plate at Hendra’s Dandelion & Driftwood on Doncaster
Two years on from the closure of its popular Gerler Road cafe, Dandelion & Driftwood has made its triumphant return to Hendra. On Sunday February 28, Penny and Peter Wolff (of Wolff Coffee Roasters fame) officially opened the doors to the cafe’s third iteration Dandelion & Driftwood on Doncaster – a homely and welcoming locale that is greatly expanding upon the model that cemented its predecessor as a local go-to. The team is showing off a sensory-driven menu featuring a host of familiar and warming classics that have been given some memorable twists, served alongside Dandelion & Driftwood’s revered coffee offering and a sumptuous high-tea experience.
The lifespan of Penny and Peter Wolff’s cafe Dandelion & Driftwood 1.0 coincided with the advent of Brisbane’s fascination with specialty coffee. Throughout its eight years of operation, the cafe remained a highly regarded source of craft coffee (not to mention top-tier tea and salivation-worthy sweets) and attentive service right up until its closure in 2018. Although folks could still savour the same coffee-focused service at the couple’s micro-roaster and education hub Wolff Coffee Roasters (and its espresso bar Big Bad Wolff), the only way they could get a slice of Dandelion & Driftwood’s brand of hospitality was to travel internationally (the team opened a sibling location at Brisbane Airport’s international terminal in 2019). When borders closed with the onset of COVID-19, so too did the airport outpost, leaving Penny and Peter with an abundance of time on their hands. Serendipitously, the building that sat on the corner of Doncaster Street and Gerler Road in Hendra (just a few doors down from D&D’s original site) became available soon after, and the Wolff’s decided it was time for their iconic cafe to make a comeback. In November 2020 the couple announced that Dandelion & Driftood on Doncaster was in the works, kicking off a substantial refurbishment of the site, which was formerly home to The Hamptons and Chook Wings & Beer. Alongside the team at Melinda Taylor Designs, Penny and Peter have looked to harmonise familiar aspects of D&D’s original aesthetic alongside some new touches. The resulting makeover blends vintage and contemporary touches, masculine and feminine tones and elements of the Wolff’s personalities. The cafe’s burgundy, cream and white colour scheme flows throughout the space, which encompasses an informal sitting area at the entry, two coffee counters (one servicing a takeaway window and the second – a fully equipped brew bar – handles the dine-in orders), a main dining space and a private-dining area (complete with a large driftwood table) at the rear.
Helming Dandelion & Driftwood on Doncaster’s kitchen is Ighor Medeiros – a Brazilian-born chef who joined the team with some Michelin-starred experience under his belt. Ighor has taken Penny and Peter’s vision for D&D’s next-generation culinary offering and run with it – honing in on the underlying qualities of the cafe’s signature sensory elements and extrapolating them in a way that enhances the memorability of the overall dining experience. Much like the space, the menu meshes classic and modern in tasteful (and tasty) ways – a breakfast dish called the First Crack tops a savoury cheese-and-chive waffle with American streaky bacon, grilled tomatoes, Blend hickory-smoked honey, while the Second Crack revels in the majesty of the Maillard reaction, layering an old-school waffle with toasted macadamia, a drizzle of housemade creamy caramel fudge, vanilla-bean ice-cream and sugar dusting. Some familiar flavours also make a return, including The Dandy Man (corn and zucchini fritters), The Drifter Woman (potato rostis) and the Simple Pleasures (avocado on sourdough with Barambah fetta and grilled haloumi). As the day progresses, D&D’s lunch menu comes into play, which features hearty home-style eats such as the Sunday Roast (roasted chicken with creamy corn cake and tricolour carrots), the Sausage Fest (trio of pork sausages with mini asparagus and baby beetroot) and the So-fish-ticated (fish of the day with banana tartare, coconut puree and tropical curry foam). With extra space to work with, the Wolff’s are finally able to add dinner to D&D’s offering from Thursday to Saturday. Starters like housemade popcorn chicken and crumbed-mushroom sliders segue into larger plates like the vegan parmigiana and the mushroom risotto. If you can’t decide on a choice, D&D’s double-decker options (available at breakfast, lunch and dinner) give diners a selection of the best bits served on a two-tiered platter. Those that still hold a fondness for D&D’s sweet selection will be pleased to know the dessert cart is still a feature. What’s more, the high-tea service is making a return! There are a few levels to choose from (depending on how bougie you feel), each boasting a combination of ribbon sandwiches, assorted savouries, mini filled croissants, fluffy scones, tarts and cupcakes. Each high tea also comes with a pot of tea or coffee, but it can be upgraded with the addition of a glass of prosecco, sparkling rosé or French champagne.
When it comes to coffee, the Dandelion & Driftwood on Doncaster team is bringing an enhanced offering. The cafe is pouring two specialty house blends (the fruity and light Dandelion and the more robust Driftwood) as well as an array of rotating single-origin roasts for filter and espresso that you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere in Brisbane. Coffee die-hards can enjoy a selection of the aforementioned via D&D’s espresso tasting plate and piccolo tasting plate, or marvel at the brew bar’s pour-over, Delter coffee press, Bodum plunger and cold-brew methods. Tea remains a big focus, too – more than 20 varieties are available from Japanese sencha to traditional Devonshire, all sourced from Tea Drop. With a liquor licence obtained, the Wolff’s are revelling in the chance to add a booze menu to their cafe’s offering. The wine list leans towards French varieties, with a pinot blanc from Alsace, rosé from Provence and a gamay from Languedoc sharing space with a drops from New Zealand, the Barossa Valley and King Valley. Craft beers from Heaps Normal, Brouhaha Brewery and Brendale Brewing Co. also feature on the beverage list, as do a selection of D&D riffs on classic cocktails like the mojito, espresso martini, margarita and pina colada.
Dandelion & Driftwood on Doncaster is now open to the public for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Head to the Stumble Guide for contact details and operating hours.
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