Brown Dog is a stone’s throw from the antiques and boutique bars of the Fiveways, but you may as well be in the Gabba’s industrial heart, what with that front-row view of the purple-and-grey ventilation stack for the Clem Jones Tunnel. (Dear Council: Just ’cos it looks like Lego doesn’t make it pretty.) Never mind: Brown Dog has a sunny outlook, with a bright interior and world-watching windows. Red high-school lockers share the floor with big, square tables. Outside, colourful stools have recently replaced the milk crates.
Staff have their work cut out for them accommodating a motley pack of patrons – twenty-somethings in skinny jeans, families, builders and white-collar workers in the mutual need of an all-day breakfast. A waitress flashes a smile and says she’ll be with us in “more than a second – but less than a minute.”
A pop-art portrait of Spider-man-as-a-dog brightens the rear wall, and the canine theme carries on to the menu. The Lazy Dog Roll (ham, egg, cheese and HP sauce) tops the list of sandwiches made in-house on sourdough, Turkish, or wholemeal.
Despite the name, the state of the Dog’s Breakfast tells you that looks matter here: a vibrantly red grilled tomato sits at on a bed of haloumi, avocado, spinach, and crisp Turkish toast. The moreish honey spice muesli (hand-roasted by Sonoma in Sydney) is served with yoghurt, honey, and a tiny glass bottle of milk on the side. In today’s special, dill crème fraîche balances smoked salmon slices, curled like anemones, with fluffy free-range scrambled eggs.
In addition to long blacks and flat whites (beans are Di Bella) there are loose-leaf black, green and organic white teas from the Tea Centre, glass-bottled Dr Pepper, Erdinger alcohol-free German beer, and Charlie’s Honest Juices and Smoothies. Not-too-sweet cakes and slices – today, cheesecake tarts and blondies – come to the café via Pastry Perfections, just down the road on Vulture Street.
They’re open Monday to Sunday, so every day can be a dog day.