Merlo coffee – bang! Friendly service – bang! Eggs with jiggly, sunshine yellow yolks – bang-bang! We’re at the Gunshop, where they hit all the café targets like the sharp-shooters they are.
Built in 1923, the heritage-listed building sold firearms from 1954 until 1997. Out the back the original solid metal security door opens onto a beer-garden-like courtyard softened with a wall of potted herbs. Inside is as comfortable as an old shoe: fingers of light stream in the vast windows, rescuing the room from dreariness; craggy exposed-brick walls descend to meet a worn, red-leather banquette; and the timber floor shows off a well trod patina courtesy of those who come to reload for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Jason Coolen and Karen Crawford are husband and wife, owner and chef, and Gunshop’s crack team. Known for his dedication to local produce, Jason visits the markets every day to source ingredients and changes the menu accordingly. Today’s bread is from Brisbane bakers Leavain. Four sugar-dusted triangles of fruit toast are loaded with walnuts, seedy wads of soft fig and crescent moons of dried apricot. Arriving swathed in cold butter with a dollop of Karen’s rind-loaded lemon curd, it’s a glorious start to the day.
On the heartier side there’s breakfast of Spanish baked beans (with Stanthorpe spinach, onion and tomato) with a side of cheesy toast. Hidden chunks of Bangalow pork belly and a crown of soft-yolked egg with pan-frizzled edges make this a dish worth getting out of bed for. We’re glad we did.
Tucked around a quiet corner away from the frenetic hubbub of Boundary Street, Gunshop remains one of Brisbane’s high-calibre café destinations, offering barrel-loads of great food with service to match.