Leading up to its opening, I was regularly teased on Instagram by hints posted by Giorgina Venzin of the Venzin Group about her new cafe in New Farm opening called Raw Pawpaw in the old Cafe Bouquiniste site on Merthyr Rd. As a huge fan of the original Pawpaw Cafe in Woolloongabba, I was super excited about the prospect of having another to visit that was more convenient to cycle to than Little Pawpaw and Picnic, the other incarnations of which being in Kedron and Camp Hill respectively has meant that I haven’t been there yet. All of the cafes are known for their relaxed attitudes, interesting menus, great coffee and just overall, good food. Raw Pawpaw isn’t entirely a ‘raw’ cafe but does have a bit more of a focus on clean eating than the other cafes and has some raw items available on their all-day menu which also includes several gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan and dairy-free options.
Raw Pawpaw opened up a few months ago but it wasn’t until this week that I managed to get there. After being destroyed in the 2011 floods, Riverwalk finally re-opened on the weekend, creating a link between the CBD and New Farm. As a cyclist, this means I have a way to get to New Farm which doesn’t involve riding (or walking…) up the very-steep Ivory Lane and navigating a relatively narrow shared path underneath the Story Bridge! So on Monday, after running late for my gym class, I decided to detour to check it out. It begins at the Howard Street Wharves and is a wide passageway with ample room for both cyclists and pedestrians with several lookouts and water fountains along the way. Even on Monday morning before 7am, the first non-official day open, there were plenty of people walking and cycling along it so I think it will be well used! The walk links up to Riverview Ct in New Farm which turns into Merthyr Rd so I thought I’d take the opportunity of ‘being in the area’ to visit Raw Pawpaw.
Raw Pawpaw is on Merthyr Rd, just past the block where the Coles and other shops are in New Farm. When I arrived a bit past 7am, it had just opened but everything was already set up and the front cabinet was being filled up with delicious looking salads, sandwiches and baked goods. Ordering is done at the counter but otherwise it is table service. I was told by the friendly waitress that the kitchen unfortunately didn’t open until 7:30 but they she could do Acai bowls. Given that it was a work day, I figured I probably shouldn’t be out for too long and although I was disappointed to not get to try their Lifestyle Board (Avocado, roast cherry tomatoes, poached eggs, beetroot relish, goats cheese, dukkah & fresh lemon on sourdough) which I’d seen many delicious-looking pictures of on Instagram, I was happy to try Raw Pawpaw’s incarnation of the Acai bowl, my recent new discovery and obsession. The Raw Pawpaw Acai Bowl is frozen Antioxidant loaded acai, blended with banana & coconut water then layered with crispy coconut, activated caramelised buckinis, banana & cranberries ($11.90). I debated getting a coffee but was atad warm from the ride and decided to stick with just the acai bowl. They do have a delicious looking Organic Almond Milk Iced Latte ($7) which comes in a cute milk bottle and is made on Luz almond milk, which I was tempted by.
|Indoor seating; Healthy goodies for sale on shelves|
Although it’s a small cafe, there is a fair amount of seating with a few tables inside and several larger ones and a tall bar outside in a shaded area on the side. A few stools and low tables are available out front which might be a bit tricky if you’re there to eat. I chose to sit outside at one of the larger tables which are covered in a gorgeous peach and green pawpaw print. Water is self-service from an old-fashioned glass dispenser near the front counter and the water was refreshingly infused with cucumber. As I waited, checking my emails, I noted that there is a bus stop right outside the cafe which is incredibly convenient and no doubt bus-catchers appreciate the convenient coffee stop! As I waited a few people dropped in for takeaway coffees and smoothies, which looked great. In fact, next time I’ll have to get one of them or a house pressed juice.
|Acai Bowl ($11.90)|
My acai bowl was brought out to me quickly, cheerfully presented in a colourful patterned bowl with an aqua umbrella poking out! It was a generously sized bowl of the acai blend with lines of sliced banana, toasted coconut, caramelised buckinis and dried cranberries attractively arranged in the bowl. The blend of acai, banana and coconut water was perfect – not overly sweet and nice and thick texture. Yup, recent fan and already critiquing things like the ‘texture’ of acai! I’m loving buckinis as an alternative to granola as I find them not as sweet and they don’t get soggy and these Loving Earth ones were no exception. The toasted shredded coconut also added some nice crunch and the banana was perfectly ripe and sweet. The cranberries were lovely but I could have done with just a few as I personally find them too sweet and as a result left most of them. Problem was, I wanted everything else so I was carefully scraping around them to get every last bit of acai which, as expected, had started to melt by the time I was finishing it! Overall I loved the bowl and thought, considering the standard price of Acai bowls, was well-priced for the serving size especially considering you can sit down in a nice setting and enjoy it. I’d easily order it again (although perhaps after I sample some of the rest of the menu!) but might ask for it without cranberries.
|Cabinet baked goods, sandwiches & salads|
Reluctantly, I got up after finishing my bowl to head to work. A few more people arrived while I was there and the cabinets had filled up even more since I had arrived. I definitely want to return to check out their salad options which include combinations such as Turmeric & chilli flake roasted cauliflower with toasted almonds, radish, spinach & cheery tomatoes and Beetroot & Israeli couscous with fresh orange segments, pistachios & goats cheese ($10.90/14.90). Daily specials are also available and written on a chalkboard behind the counter and it looked like some tasty sounding hash cakes were available over the weekend. Although it was quiet early on a Monday morning, I suspect that it gets busy on the weekends and wouldn’t be surprised if long queues form during busy periods. Takeaway is always an option though if you can’t handle the wait! My verdict is that the Venzin Group have got another winner on their hands with Raw Pawpaw! Like Pawpaw Cafe, the innovative, healthy and reasonably priced menu is sure to be popular among all Brisbanites. It was a lovely ride back to work along the river and my happy energy-boosting breakfast was a fabulous start to the working week!
|Outdoor seating area|
|Muesli slice in the ‘Naughty Corner’ 🙂|