It’s in Ipswich. There. We’ll get that out-of-the-way first. I actually grew up in Ipswich, a town built on the coal industry. (`Coal’ incidentally rhymes with ‘hole’ which is what I and my bored- to- braindead friends who grew up there called it.)
Since my parents left some years ago, breaking the last thread I had to Ipswich, I’ve rarely been back. Today however, I went to help a girlfriend who has bought a house there with some DIY stuff. (No, okay actually I’ll come clean, I just lent her my ‘boys’ while I watched a bad movie on her tv).
Anyway, fuel was required to kick off the process and she took us to Fourthchild. At first glance, not much had changed in the old ‘Swich. Uptown wasn’t exactly pumping on a Sunday morning. In fact there could have been a few tumbleweeds blowing down the street. But what’s this? A busy cafe that could have been lifted in its entirety from Paddington or some other salubrious Brisbane ‘burb.
The owners have done a great job with the small space. They tell me they removed no less than THREE fake ceilings to get back to the high ceilinged original. They also sandblasted an entire wall to expose the lovely rough brick beneath. Bamboo floorboards have been painted black. Communal tables, seating six took a while for Ipswichians to get their heads around, the owner says but they were all full when we were there. Each table is decorated with a small wooden barrel filled with fresh produce. In our case it was swedes while the next table had oranges. Very cute.
Everything is made in-house and from scratch with a blackboard menu that changes daily depending on what’s in season and available. They even make their own ‘softdrink’- nary a Coke or Fanta to be found. Coffee is Blackstar. Staff are well-trained and polite. Then our brunch arrived and I had to pinch myself. Was I really in Ipswich or some kind of parallel universe based on what I thought Ipswich was missing when I lived here?
Needless to say I hadn’t thought to bring my camera because I hadn’t expected there was anything to photograph but the baked eggs, which came in a dinky little red Le Creuset type lidded pan, with thyme, pancetta and ricotta as well as a serve of very good sourdough toast was definitely worth a pic. I also ordered a juice, pear, apple and strawberry, which was served in a jar with an old fashioned thick paper straw.
BF had eggs Benedict with bacon and spinach served on their own generously proprtioned home made muffin while my friend had the corn fritters. All were excellent.
There’s a nice range of home made cakes too but we were all too full.
It was one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in a while. There’s a definite bias towards free-range and organic, with the owner telling met the kitchen was ‘green’ which means it was chemical-free apparently and they have to buy in bread because they don’t have an extraction fan. (cos it’s not eco-friendly is my understanding)
And if you need an added excuse to visit ‘the ‘Switch’ (which is less than 30mins from the CBD) there is a fantastic cool indie craft/art space next door called Cultiver, a quirky designer Aladin’s Cave called ES Traders (with some very stylish and unusual antique homewares) in a short but gritty laneway (where there’s another good-looking cafe called ‘Bon Laneway’) as well as stuffed- to -the- ceiling- with- treasures antique shop and a fragrant designer homewares store.. The beautiful old pub a couple of doors up is closed undergoing a re-furb too. Seriously, this is the ‘Swich? Things are looking up.
My friend tells me things are a bit more lively on a Saturday than Sunday (there’s also some good markets) and I reckon it’s definitely worth the drive. I never, ever thought I’d say that, but I reckon Ipswich, after many false starts is finally getting it’s groove on.