What do an elephant and a piglet have in common – read on to find out…!

As you all know I love café culture and it does not matter where I go I am always on the look-out for a new café experience.  Although I have visited Pearl Café in Woolloongabba before I have not written it up on liberal eclectic.  So last week when in Brisbane I was determined to go back and see if it was still as good as it had been when last there!

Problems for the piglet start at 7am!

Hopping in the car with the elephant for a two hour drive to Brisbane is always problematic for a piglet.  Typically, the piglet has to apply steely diligence to manage the mental machinations in the car but soon learns she is wasting her energy because as usual the elephant is on “autopilot” and has no intention of listening to the piglet’s helpful suggestions of better ways to prune the frangipani, how he can save time doing his ironing or in fact better ways of getting to where we are going?

The piglet is so organised; has coffee for the journey, Vogue Living and InsideOut, plus a little chocolate croissant and the crossword. Sometimes the elephant is helpful with the crossword, which kind of annoys the piglet, but all good it is only occasionally she has to succumb and ask. The elephant (as mentioned on autopilot) has to endure the occasional scream in between times as the piglet looks up expecting a pile-up of the worst kind while he imagines himself to be Sebastian Vettel in the Formula 1!

Don’t reveal everything at once!

“So where are we going?” says the elephant a little tersely (although two hours away, he has already arrived at the Charming Squire in Southbank for lunch with his best mate Joe and has the first of many coldies lined up).

great brisbane cafes
Image courtesy Weekend Edition

“We are going to Pearl Café in Woolloongabba” says the piglet excitedly.

“What? You’ve got to be kidding!”


“Why do we have to go all the way to Woolloongabba for a coffee?”  In spite of their great memory, elephants are not good with intellectual nuancing.

“Because I want to write it up on liberal eclectic – duh: café culture is one of my things!”

“What’s liberal eclectic?”

Just about to sever the elephant’s head with her recently-filed-to-a-very-sharp-point trotters, the piglet remembers that she needs him to hover at the art gallery.

“Last time it was sensational; remember you had to queue while the little piglet and I went shopping!”  Shouldn’t have said that.

“Oh great! A queue?  We won’t get to the lunch until bloody two o’clock at this rate!”

“It will be totally worth it, don’t worry darling”

“Why don’t we just go to James Street?  We can get a coffee there?”

Once again the piglet’s trotters raise themselves as if by supernatural means, patting herself on the back for having thought to put razor sharp blades on them in readiness for a fight she knew would eventuate sooner or later.

“We are not having “a coffee”, we are having a coffee!”

“What’s the difference?”

 Keep calm piglets. “We are going to Pearl in Woolloongabba, OK?”

“Probably end up at the bloody Gold Coast!  So many off shoots!  Get Suri going then!”  Tap tap tap…

“Take the second exit at the lights off Stanley St” says Suri sweetly.

“Bloody one way streets all over Woolloongabba!”

(Chick-a-boom chick-a-boom don’t ya jes’ love it…) 

Historic authenticity! 

We finally arrive, I get the elephant to go ahead and get a table.  I walk around outside to capture images of the beautiful old Queensland style building Pearl is situated in.  This section of  Woolloongabba is an area ‘recently’ revitalised, now brimming with cafe culture and hip establishments located in the historic buildings which line this part of Logan Road: a story that many inner city suburbs in large cities around the world have experienced similarly.

Stunning Queensland weatherboards (or Queenslanders, as we locals call them) abound in Woolloongabba and as such house prices have thus skyrocketed in the last five years because the Gabba is just across the river from Brisbane’s CBD.

Pearl Café is rich with ambiance courtesy of the historic building which  the owners have taken advantage of to create the cosy atmosphere it radiates. The original wooden floors and the fenestration, the old doorway and original brick walls remain extant.  Inside and out it is packed with a mix of Bohemians and professional types as well as a few elephants (they gather in packs).

Due to the fact that we have a lunch date with the elephant’s best mate Joe, sadly we only have time for muffins and coffee.  What strikes the piglet immediately is that although it is exceptionally busy the staff appear friendly and confident and within no time we have the treats and they are definitely worth waiting for!

Best coffee and muffin ever!

The white chocolate and raspberry muffin is super crunchy on top, full of flavour and a perfect colour and size.  The accompanying coffee is a deep caramel colour as well as moussey and creamy.  A sign of very fresh beans and the ideal grind setting. It was also perfectly made – super shiny on top!

Plenty of stacked plates waft past with eggs and avo and bacon – so envious – they looked and smelled amazing!

I would love to have stayed and repeated the process, but it was already 11am and we had a steep schedule the elephant still had no idea about – ?

I know…!

Dangerous right?

Now we’ll go to the gallery around the corner and then to the Pineapple Hotel” said the piglet as if saying, “I’ve cleaned your sunnies for you darling”, or “I’ve already paid the bill!”

“Are you “adjectival” serious?  We’ve got to get to the Charming Squire for lunch?”  The elephant says incredulously; he can see the lined up XXXX’s disappearing rapidly from his line of sight.

(Chick-a-boom chick-a-boom…)

“Yes, I know but it’s hours away” says the piglet blithely, “Just around the corner, I’ll whip in and out in no time!”

As we drive off, “Well, hurry up a man will die of thirst!  A man’s not a camel!”

“You’ll be able to have a beer at the Pineapple…?”  That did it – such a thoughtful piglet, removing one wrinkle of impatience…!

Once inside the art gallery the piglet realised it was a bad idea because self-evidently viewing art while having an elephant waiting in the car are not activities one can synchronise without stress.

Woolloongabba shown in olive green bottom and left of centre.

The Pineapple Hotel is a historic hotel in typical Queensland style in Kangaroo Point, just across the river from the CBD, so beautiful with many of the original features extant.

The elephant began to relax as soon as he spied the Pineapple the smell of beer imagined settled him down as we parked. I left him in a charming old bar, now in a trance of happiness looking at a TV screen with football playing and a pot of XXXX (tooot-ta-tooot!!). I know other piglets will understand the immediately; this situation is one elephants are most happy in.

When next in Brisbane head over to The Pearl it is an extra experience not to be missed!

Address: 28 Logan Road, Woolloongabba; Ph: 07 3392 3300

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