In the fading evening light it’s easy to miss the entrance way, in a nondescript part of Cleveland Street with no signage or notable neighbours.
Trust your gps, for when you find yourself standing before a deep set wooden door frame with Thor’s hammer emblazoned on it, you have arrived at Mjølner.
A wide staircase takes you down into this Vikings lair, and it seems in true Nordic style that no stone has been left unturned.
Hefty meat lockers display aging carcasses while charred aromas flow freely from the kitchen. Bone, skins and furs adorn the walls and robust table settings fill the space around us.
The front of house manager wastes not a moment in offering us one of their 200+ whiskeys available, and promptly returns with our welcome liqueur and a cocktail menu.
I make an observation on the lush wooden furniture. She informs us that the zola chairs we’re seated on were assembled by hand just two weeks earlier, and form just part of a meticulously selected line-up of Scandinavian-style furniture selected from North Hem.
Everything feels intentional, and everything has a distinct ‘Thor-ness’ to it.
One of the men responsible for the hearty fare and rich furnishings of Mjolner is Sven Almenning. Says Sven, “We didn’t want to open a Viking themed venue as such, but were more interested in exploring the – I’ll admit far out – idea of Thor, the Norse God of Thunder, being real, and being here on earth, as he often is in the Marvel universe, and what a venue would look like if Thor was to open a restaurant and bar today.”
There’s a menu, but don’t get attached to it because your Bird, Beast, Fish and Veg options will have changed by this time next week. Be sure to order your starters and your sides; the portions are generous and your top button is going to feel it, but trust me when I say it’ll be worth it.
“Our food menu and cocktail list are all heavily inspired by Scandinavian flavours and ingredients without going too overboard (I hope), and whilst things such as bone marrow may not be strictly Scandinavian we definitely feel that modern day Vikings, not to mention a modern day Thor, would LOVE it”, shares Sven as he sips dark whiskey under the shadows of the dimly lit bar.
It’s experiential dining; it feels as though we’ve been invited by the Viking himself to dine in his exclusive mancave as we select our knives from a hand stitched leather satchel.
Our bone marrow starter is served in it’s original housing, accompanied by a generous serving of burnt butter cauliflower. Whole snapper was the fish option the week we dined, and upon it’s arrival the waitress offered to fillet it on my behalf. More out of curiosity than actual requirement I encouraged this, and the result was minimal waste, with pieces of succulent fleshy white fish virtually melting from my fork.
My dining partner selected the beast; a braised beef short rib which came touting rich, gamey flavours balanced with earthy kale.
The wine list is designed for accompanying food, and a tinder-esque voice describes each couple… rich, strong and dark red seeks hearty cut of beast; light and elegant white looking for seafood to pair with. It’s not extensive but it answers to every taste, and the abundant list of cocktails more than makes up for it.
The generous portions fare well in this underground gem, although it seems a travesty that there’s no space for dessert.
We leave with that satisfied, slightly smug feeling as if we were part of some new club nobody knows about yet. It won’t be long.
My great grandparents were Norwegian so I can only assume that somewhere inside me there’s a strong, trained huntress ready to slay a beast. Or have a snapper filleted for me.
Booking is essential.
Address: 267 Cleveland St, Redfern NSW 2016
Guest Post by Yvonne Adams, a featured writer for North Hem.
Journey’s Kitchen and Bar is located at 51 Barry Alexander Drive in Springfield and although it appears to be a big, vibrant venue on first glance there is a sense that the open space is welcoming and friendly. There were groups of families and friends engaging in animated conversation and people just chilling. A customer we chatted to summed it up nicely when he said, ‘I really like the funky yet homely space … it makes for a relaxed vibe.’
Michael, the owner, has been a chef for over 20 years and told us that the philosophy of Journeys Kitchen and Bar was built around the notion that no matter what you do in life, it’s all about the journey. ‘I like the notion of the kitchen being a place in your home where you journey through life. Trying new things, sharing experiences with friends and creating food with your family. That’s what we try to do here.’ In some respects Journeys felt a bit like a second home, with no pressure to move on or rush off. The comfy couch was a perfect symbol for that!
(The sofa in the photo is the pebble grey Elena Sofa 2.5 Seater)
If coffee and kicking back is your vibe, you’ll be delighted to know that Journeys Kitchen and Bar has got you covered whether you enjoy black or white. The Broadway by Toby’s Estate is the house blend which is rich and smooth, making it perfect for the white and cold press coffees on offer. Our flat white had hints of toffee and berry and was easy drinking. If black is more your style you have Espresso Rico also by Toby’s for your drinking pleasure. It is a truly sophisticated coffee which is sweet and aromatic.
(The tables in the picture are the Carlton Nest of Three Coffee Tables in black).
If you’re feeling peckish, there are lots of old favourites … with a new twist. The menu is modern Australian influenced by fresh ingredients and vibrant ideas. If you’re looking for something a little different head to Journeys, where there is something for everybody including a large array of gluten free, vegetarian and vegan selections. These selections are a natural part of an eclectic menu that Michael described as, ‘more a happy accident than a intentional process’.
If you’re not sure what to choose, the hash cakes with a sweet potato base provide you with unreal flavour as well as an unexpected colour experience. The Vietnamese chicken, as a lunch alternative, is built on eight years of history and has helped lots of diners make friends with salad! The food is good and you get a sense that staff care deeply about food preparation and presentation and ultimately your enjoyment of it.
If like to relax and drink or relax and eat, Journeys Kitchen and Bar has got you covered. You can also experience North Hem’s furniture in a real life setting. Instead of just browsing online and hoping for the best, visiting Journeys is like stepping into a Living Showroom where you can touch and explore the quality, colour, fabric and timber of the furniture firsthand.
95% of people are not comfortable buying quality furniture online, so if you’re one of those people, head to Journeys Kitchen and Bar at 6 Yoga Way, Springfield Central. You’ll get the best of both worlds – seeing and experiencing wonderful furniture as well as enjoying great food and coffee on offer in this great suburban venue.
Tucked away in the quieter stretch of West End is Duo Bar & Restaurant – the brain child of Tess Rigby, who dreamed of opening her own restaurant ever since she was a little girl! With over 15 years of experience in food and hospitality, Tess set her eyes on a quaint cafe space in Brisbane to call her own.
Teaming up with her sister, the name ‘Duo’ was a direct reference to their partnership as well as their vision for the the restaurant.
“It also comes from wanting to create a space that is a blend of opposite elements, country and city – a very relaxed setting within the hustle and bustle of the city. Rustic food with a modern twist and modern food with a rustic twist. Indoors meets outdoors.“
“We wanted the space to feel like you were visiting friends, family or neighbours and just enjoying good company with good food. Something that happens a lot when you live in a small town. We wanted to create a sense of community where our loyal regular customers are more than just customers, they become friends.“
Inheriting its black walls and timber claddings, Tess & her team sought to inject some personality into the interiors, adding hints of copper, greenery and hand-finished wooden table tops.
The space is intimate and moody, with exposed lightbulb pendants and a large mural of Brisbane’s iconic river views.
A beautifully crafted leather journal as a menu, the logo is debossed & gilded by Able Book Binding.
Featuring a scrumptious all-day breakfast menu, as well as lunch and tapas, the food at Duo is nothing short of amazing.
A feature wall of crates hand-assembled by Tess and her partner
With food and furniture design being two of Tess’ great passions, she is continually making small improvements to Duo – looking to add more plants that will thrive in the Brisbane climate, and completing the botanical ceiling that she’d put together with her dad. It is this passion that inspired our team to collaborate and provide seating solutions that can add a lightness to the ambience.
Left: Nico Chairs ; Right: succulent chicken waffles with a drizzle of maple syrup
We selected the Nico dining table and chairs for Duo; beautiful contemporary pieces that is the epitome of the sophisticated Scandi aesthetic – a refreshing pop of colour that is subtle and dignified.
Right: our Nico Dining Table and Chairs.
The Nico series provide an uncomplicated comfort – the cushioned upholstery is perfect for a long, relaxing lounge!
Duo bar and restaurant is currently promoting beautiful Siddhartha Mandala Throws, yay to supporting local creatives!
Right: Cauliflower popcorn – cauliflower florets seasoned with paprika & served with a cheesy béarnaise dipping sauce
There’s Tess, rocking the coffee station!
Serving creamy Bare Bones Espresso coffees
Right: “Hey Sweetie” – fluffy waffles topped with berry compote, chocolate sauce, ice cream and maple – almost too pretty to eat!
Currently BYO, Duo is in process of becoming a fully stocked bar – stay tuned!
Duo bar and restaurant
2/27 Browning Street, West End, Brisbane
As part of our Living Showrooms movement, we strive to curate unique interiors that will enhance any bar, cafe, residential or restaurant spaces, as well as allow customers to physically experience our design pieces in situ. If you are a restaurant owner looking to spice up your interiors – do get in touch!
With years of experience in hospitality under his belt, Brodie Shaw and business partner Ben Evans embarked on an impressive journey to bring about Shawty’s Espresso – a hop, s(k)ip and a jump away from the Park Road train station in Woolloongabba.
Chancing upon a fixer-upper with great bones, the brave boys worked tirelessly to transform the space into a bright and inviting coffee haven. Partnering with local creatives, Shawty’s Espresso features a vibrant facade by graffiti legend Treazy, and a svelte fit-out designed by Carly Coghill of Design Tailor.
A contemporary, open-plan kitchen with subtle white pressed metal counter
Proudly brewing Coffee Supreme as their house staple, Shawty’s Espresso also carries various artisanal beans, allowing you to sample the the crèma de la crèma (pun intended) of coffees from the best roasters across Australia.
A mouth-watering line up of Normcore Coffee Roasters, Parallel Roasters, Square One Roasters, The Reformatory Caffeine Lab … just to name a few!
A little trade secret – Shawty’s Espresso uses a reverse osmosis filtration system, removing any debris, microbes, natural and synthetic toxins. Their water is then re-mineralised with beneficial minerals, producing the high-quality, delicious base for their teas and coffees!
Inspired by the clean lines and modern aesthetics of the cafe, our team provided elegant seating options without obstructing the flow of light to the layout, whilst complimenting the timber and metal finishings. See the range here!
Our Alana Bar Chairs resting against the gorgeous two toned wall
The Alana Bar chairs in black and walnut offers casual and comfortable seats with a handy footrest – the simple silhouette of design highlights the natural beauty of the wood grain.
Happy customers enjoying their coffees on our Mika stools
Our industrial Mika stools in black and white/natural oak perfectly accompanies the hairpin table legs, with sleek geometric forms to add points of interest to the minimalistic space. The combination of galvanised metal and wood speaks to floating steel shelves in the kitchen area, uniting the space together as a whole.
Nosh on their simple and wholesome menu of granola, home made treats and toasties – the smashed avo, fetta on toast is an all-time fav amongst customers. Tea drinkers fret not! Shawty’s Espresso has a range of exquisite teas from The Steepery Tea Co – currently not available in any other cafes in Brisbane.
Combat this epic summer heat with a cold brew – Shawty’s got your back!
The partners in crime
26 Elliott St, Woolloongabba, Brisbane, QLD 4102
Driving past this bright little nook in Tarragindi you may mistaken the crowd for a dog’s birthday party – but the pooches are just out getting their coffee fix!
A much-loved spot for local coffee and dog aficionados alike, Black Lab Coffee was established by Luke Nuske in efforts to bring great coffee into their local neighbourhood, and to revitalised the empty strip that once housed numerous independent shops. An active member of the community, Black Lab Coffee has organised multiple fundraising events for animal welfare groups, and continues to raise awareness of animal rights and adoption.
The cafe features a roller window for takeaways, as well as dog-parking hooks and water stations for your furry companions.
The branding is a tribute to Luke’s adorable black labrador Audrey, who frequents the cafe for a friendly mingle. An effective use of flat design paired with solid black and white tones, the crisp aesthetics reflect the adaptability and openness of the space.
Meet the real boss of Black Lab!
With Luke’s background in architecture, Black Lab is a well-considered living space that is uncomplicated and accommodates all – the long communal tables is paired with our Zola chairs, providing quieter corners for couples or individuals.
A clean and minimal fit-out with exposed bricks and sweeps of warm timber accents
Working closely with the Black Lab team, our Zola chairs were chosen to complement the simple colour palette.
Built with beautiful Malaysian Oak and wood veneer in a cocoa stain, the Zola is sleek and ergonomic; adding a quiet sophistication to the humble nature of the space.
Serving deliciously creamy Di Bella coffee, as well as scrumptious snacks and baked goodies, Black Lab Coffee is the perfect hang to recharge and do some hound watching.
Recently they have expanded into the space next door, gearing up for more serious food offerings!
Black Lab Coffee
6/11 Kuring Gai Avenue, 4121 Tarragindi, Australia
As the broad Brisbane sky changes from time to time, so too Blue Sky Coffee has morphed and changed appearance since its beginnings in 2009. One thing that’s never changed is the chillaxing vibe of one of Newstead’s favourites … Oh … and the tasty coffees!
Blue Sky was conceived out of a passion for coffee, and led to the birth of one of Brisbane’s early cafes with coffee roaster on site. In a sense, you still feel this passion. Just as blue sky smiled on the very first shipment of green beans, so too do the faces of the people that serve you.
The stand out feature of Blue Sky Coffee has always been the space, both in look and feel. Manuela, Business Manager, described it beautifully as, ‘funky inner-city warehouse with a lay-back vibe.’ So true … this is definitely a place to chill and stay a while. I noticed lots of people tapping into the wifi and tapping away on their laptops whilst enjoying the sights, sounds, smells and tastes.
(The sofa in lower part of photo is the pebble grey Ceni Sofa 3 seater)
Apart from the epic mural on the wall, featuring the Story Bridge, stunning art pieces from Fireworks Art Gallery also provide a great optical experience. If you like what you see, you can contact the gallery directly or take a short walk around the corner after your visit to see what other pieces are available.
Another standout feature is the influence of girl power. Blue Sky has one of Brisbane’s few female coffee roasters who lovingly watches over the Has Garanti roaster as it rolls the specialty beans around and around til they are ready to drop. The smell of roasting coffee made me want to dive into a tasty brew. The Ebony Ivory blend has distinctive chocolatey tones that work well with milk and is a real crowd-pleaser with the customers. The cappuccino certainly highlighted the chocolate notes of the easy drinking blend.
(Coffee table in the photo is the Myron square coffee table)
Blue Sky also have rotating single origins. A delightfully aromatic Brazilian Cerrado was featured during my visit. But the pure delight was the cold drip. The Ethiopian Yirgacheffe felt like a soft satin sheet had wrapped around my tongue … although milk and lemon come along for the ride it was too easy to enjoy on its own. One of the first cold drips in Brisbane and still one of the best! If you’re a tea drinker, don’t fret. Blue Sky understand that tea drinkers are important too and offer a wide array of Harney & Sons fine teas.
(Small side table in lower part of photo is the Myron side table)
There is plenty of food on offer too. Chef Lee Booker described menu offerings as, ‘good wholesome food that is fresh, high quality and great value for money.’ With over 40 years experience in some of Brisbane’s iconic restaurants such as Baguette and Oxley Wharf, Lee prides himself on presentation and efficient service.
Lee told me you will soon be able to enjoy your coffee with divine French pastries, like a chocolate croissant, that have been beautifully created by Jean-Paul of French Tart. You can even take home a baguette for dinner. All bakery and patisserie products are delivered to Blue Sky fresh every day for your eating pleasure.
If you enjoy a relaxed, cafe-style atmosphere with fresh roasted coffee, then head to 32 Commercial Rd Newstead and join locals, gym goers and business people alike who frequent Blue Sky. Whether the sky is blue or grey, Blue Sky Coffee is a great place to spend the day!