Roma Street Parklands welcomes lush brunch hub The Garden Room
The lush and manicured lawns of Roma Street’s parkland precinct is often the site of barbecues, sun-soaked picnics and family outings – a veritable hub for wholesome activity throughout the week. For many years, the Roma Street Parklands Cafe has stood in the heart of it all, but as time has progressed, the venue has gradually became an outdated eatery in need of some TLC. Earlier this year a council tender process yielded a new operator and vision for the hotspot, which has been transformed and reopened as The Garden Room. With a brand-new design saturated in lush greenery, The Garden Room is an eye-catching addition to the parkland’s array of amenities, with something on offer for park wanderers of all kinds.
It takes a skilled group of hospitality operators to rebuild a cafe concept from scratch, especially one with years of history to its name. When Brisbane City Council put out a tender for Roma Street’s long-standing cafe space on Parkland Boulevard, it carried the unspoken pressure of the venue’s incredible amount of passing foot traffic. Sitting at the nexus of many paths and lawns, the cafe space is perfectly positioned to capture the eyes of park guests, residents of the nearby apartment buildings, tourists flocking to and from The City and the local corporate crowd. In the end, the opportunity was snagged by a trio of seasoned hospo veterans – Nick Abbink, Josie Garbutt and Simon Garbutt. If these names ring a bell, you may have been familiar with the group’s previous work as the brains behind Zen Catering, Kangaroo Point’s Cliffs Cafe and The Pantry at Old Government House. Although it has been a few years since the three operated these ventures, Roma Street’s cafe tender proved to be the perfect opportunity to reunite and jump back into the local scene. It was the trio’s impressive resume of work that lent weight to the crew’s tender proposal, which was predicated on their desire to transform the venue into a welcoming eatery space with an aesthetic based on bringing the gardens inside. Once they secured the win, Nick, Josie and Simon got to work transforming the cafe into The Garden Room.
Architects were engaged to help design a layout that would further facilitate customer flow and interaction, with a major first step involving the complete gutting and de-cluttering of the building’s interior. The venue’s original bar at the rear of the space has been removed in favour of one closer to the entrance, while bi-fold doors now open up to the leafy courtyard that runs along the venue’s northeastern side. Speaking of leafy, the green thumbs at Roma Street Parkland have draped greenery throughout The Garden Room’s interior, ranging from the Devil’s Ivy in the rafters to the potted herbs near the bar. As for the food offering, head chef Simon has tailored the menu to boast a broad appeal, foregrounding freshness and locality across its produce selection. Start the day with hot-smoked Atlantic salmon with eggs or cinnamon-dusted doughnuts with ice-cream, grilled bacon and caffeinated maple syrup for brunch, or saunter in later for lunch bites including Young Henry’s beer-battered fish, buttermilk fried-chicken bun or zucchini blossom with preserved-lemon risotto. Toby’s Estate is the coffee supplier of choice, but the full beverage component includes teas, smoothies, juices, a curated wine list (pinot grigio is available on tap) and a revolving selection of craft and mainstream beers. The Garden Room will look to cater to functions with a variety of packages, and in the future will assist and support Roma Street Parkland’s various multicultural festivals.
For more details on The Garden Room, head to the Stumble Guide.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.