Pavement Whispers: Snug, a cosy cafe and wine bar with Korean inspirations, is opening soon in Coorparoo

Pavement Whispers: Snug, a cosy cafe and wine bar with Korean inspirations, is opening soon in Coorparoo

Coorparoo’s culinary renaissance is set to continue with the arrival of Snug, a cafe and wine bar concept from two hospitality wunderkinds. Chefs Leaham Claydon and Jianne Jeoung have snagged a cosy space in the suburb’s leafy heart, which they are transforming into a go-to spot for coffee (from ST ALi), light brunch, vino and snacks. There are even plans to add a wine store into the mix further down the line! The intimate haunt is on track to open before the end of March – here’s what we know …

For chefs Leaham Claydon and Jianne Jeoung, the large kitchens of Brisbane’s big inner-city restaurants are familiar territory. For their next chapter, however, the couple have decided to exchange the bustle of the bigger operations in favour of a concept of their own design – one that’s smaller, or, well, a little bit snug.

Later this month the duo will open Snug, a cafe and wine bar hybrid that has been long imagined. Nestled in a tiny shopfront (previously a trophy store) on Chatsworth Road in Coorparoo, Snug is shaping up to be a far cry from the large-scale restaurants Leaham and Jianne are used to, with the duo opting for a slower pace and a more community-facing approach to hospitality.

“We went for a holiday for three weeks in South Korea and that was a massive turning point for both of us,” says Jianne, whose resume includes roles at GrecaClarence and NIKY. “After that we thought, let’s finally open something of our own.”

“Each place [we visited] had its own identity and there’s not a lot of big companies with four, five or six restaurants there,” adds Leaham, who recently finished a heralded stint as head chef of Yoko. “It’s just a lot of people doing their own thing.”

Inspired by South Korea’s hyper-diverse hospitality scene, the couple are looking to open a venue that is reliable, welcoming and, most importantly, unapologetically theirs. Attracted to the idea of all-day dining, Leaham and Jianne envision Snug as a venue with two distinct sides – one catering to Coorparoo’s early rising coffee and brunch crowd, and another to its laid-back wine-sipping set.

“We were jumping between the idea of doing a cafe or doing a wine bar, but it kind of made sense for us to do both in one spot,” says Leaham. “There’s been a lot of chat about what’s viable for hospitality venues. You need a really diverse concept to stay open, to make money to be sustainable – so it just makes sense to be as open as many hours as you can to maximise the space.”

While some Korean influences will be at play, expect them to shape Snug’s personality more than the menu. “The food won’t necessarily be Korean, but the more style of service – the Korean cafe and wine bar culture that we experienced over there and the things that we picked up on that just could be a good point of difference,” says Leaham.

The duo is currently hard at work on a DIY fit-out process, which so far has involved the construction of a coffee counter/bar and kitchen area along one side of the space. Snug’s seating will be divided between seats at the counter, a bench top that wraps around the interior and a few tables out front, but – in news that will excite oenophiles – once Snug is up an running, the duo plan to convert an external garage space into a wine store, offering space for functions, events and extra dining room during busy nights.

Snug will be kicking things off with its cafe service to start, which Jianne and Leaham hope to commence before Easter. The coffee machine will be dispensing cups of specialty brew from esteemed Melbourne roaster ST ALi, which will be available alongside a mix of takeaway-friendly and sit-down nosh options. “We don’t want to experiment too much with the cafe,” says Jianne. “I think giving what the locals want is very necessary – just a friendly, easy to approach kind of cafe during the day.”

Snug’s morning menu will be anchored by a number of staple options, including soft pretzels, a rotating range of pastries and a Korean-inspired egg drop sandwich (buttery scrambled eggs sandwiched in brioche). This offering will be backed by a collection of Snug specialties, which we are told could include the likes of omurice with prawns. The chefs will be sourcing produce from small suppliers and farmers capable of supplying different (and sometimes unconventional) ingredients, while also employing waste-minimising practices across both day and night services.

Once Snug’s day trade is humming smoothly, Leaham and Jianne plan to launch an evening service, which will lean into the venue’s cosy setting to create a more intimate dynamic between staff and customer. “It will be a typical wine bar, with small share plates and snacks with a Korean touch,” says Leaham. “We’d like to talk the same way about wine and the food. Snug’s not so much about reading a menu and ordering what you want, it’ll be more of a discussion. We’ll be standing right here, so have a chat with us.”

“Interaction is key for us,” adds Jianne. “We don’t want to be just limited in just serving food. We will definitely be knowledgeable with the wines so that we can always go further into it – like, ‘Oh, you’re having that wine, we then recommend this dish’.” The venue’s wine list will be small to start, but frequently changing. That said, once Snug’s wine store opens downstairs, expect the range to expand.

Snug is tentatively slated to open before the end of March – stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.

The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.

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